January 6, 2004
Tifton-- People often start a new year making big plans to improve their lives, but a man with a world-class resolution thinks much bigger.
Not many people know of his big plans because we often never know very much about the people who take care of us.
“Hello young lady,” says Dr. Buddy Cawley to a patient with a toothache, as he walks into one of his dental examining rooms. He uses a small mirror to look at the hurting tooth. Then, he looks at an X-ray. The tooth needs pulling, after he gets the swelling down with antibiotics.
Dr. Buddy Cawley asks her to comeback after taking the medication, as he makes a comeback, too. “Seventeen years, that’s unreal. I know,” says Dr. Cawley, also known as a strong man, a weight lifter, more accurately called a power lifter.
Completing dental school and establishing a practice weighed heavily on his priorities for those 17 lost years, until a little voice got his attention. “My 10 year old daughter Kaitlyn saw some pictures of me and asked if I could start lifting again,” remembers Dr. Cawley with a chuckle.
In October 2001, Dr. Buddy Cawley started lifting weights again, pushing himself again, to reach a personal goal of lifting 500 pounds. “Never dreamed I’d do it,” says the dentist/weightlifter.
The dreams got bigger, the weight heavier. He set four world records in his 275 pound, 43-year-old class with the World Natural Power Lifting Federation, but four world records are not enough for him.
He wants more. “There’s another goal out there for me,” says Dr. Cawley as he works out in a Tifton fitness center. Another goal? He wants two more world records in 2004, and then he would have all six-world power lifting records he’s eligible to have— all of them in his name.
“You can go out and be mediocre at anything,” says Dr. Cawley, after lifting 500 pounds early in his workout. He has three helpers, technically called spotters.
His dad, Pat Cawley, Tony Barnes and Brian McKinney who sound like cheerleaders. The world record holder frequently consults with them before each lift. “There is no way I could train by myself.”
They hand him the bar the same way every time, shout encouragement, watch his every move. “All right, Buddy, get your mind right,” says Tony Barnes as the strongman lays down on the bench and grabs the steel bar. “Watch your form,” shouts Pat Cawley before Buddy lift the weight.
They hand him the barbell loaded with so much weight that it droops. Buddy takes control. They watch to make sure he pushes up evenly, not favoring one arm or the other. Brian shouts the number of times the weight gets lifted. “Drive it,” shouts Tony, encouraging the weightlifter to push just a little harder, and he does. They set the heavy bar back into position for the next lift. For Dr. Cawley, lifting hundreds of pounds requires more mental control than muscle control.
“You just know you got it in your mind that you are going to do it,” says Dr. Cawley. He must push the barbell up 24 inches, and it can feel like pushing it all the way to the moon sometimes. How does it feel to have hundreds of pounds of weight over head? “It doesn’t feel that bad,” says Dr. Cawley.
One bad thing he sees in weight lifting involves performance-enhancing drugs, “I think they are awful,” says Dr. Cawley. Something he has never taken. “I think they have messed up a lot of kids,” says Dr. Cawley. The strongman works up to lifting 600 pounds late in his workout.
What does 600 pounds feel like? It’s like lifting 120 five-pound bags of sugar all at the same time. After taking 17 years off, the dentist/weightlifter pushed himself, made a statement to the world based on his natural ability, hard work and a firm belief.
“Not totally satisfied ‘till I get it done,” says Dr. Cawley, showing that a strongman can set his own world records naturally.
The power lifter has already qualified to participate in another world competition to try and claim those last two records he wants so badly. His opportunity comes in October, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
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