Austin Johnson


There’s a difference between eager to please, and a deep seeded drive for fulfillment.

It’s hard to distinguish between the two at times, as those of us in the game solely from the approval of others often demonstrate the same habits as those playing for more noble reasons. But if you’re paying attention, you can spot the difference. It shows up in an unquestionable commitment to detail. Those looking for the approval of others inevitably burn out like a campfire at dawn. Those who can find a reason for discipline within themselves, burn hot for eternity.

Austin is like that. Coaches enjoy training him, not because he’s in it to make them happy, because he cares about the little things. Because he communicates. He doesn’t randomly act, he intentionally performs. He pleases his coaches, no doubt, but not because he sets out to do so, but because his goal isn’t just to do things, but to do them well.

While most athletes his age crave too much weight and recognition, Austin hangs back, a thinker amidst imposters. He doesn’t react, he weighs every option and calculates the outcome, unprovoked and unafraid, and most importantly, in control of his emotions. Rare for any age.

So unique, in fact, are these qualities, that we should all try a bit harder to learn them. To watch Austin with a barbell, or alone getting stronger for the upcoming season, or celebrating the achievements of his teammates. A young athlete who can teach his adult counterparts just as much as they can ever teach him.

Congratulations, Austin; June’s Practitioner of the Month.