Everyone has a sense of drive in their life. Whether that is to get up early and run a mile, or to stay late at work that day. However, there will always be weaknesses that you will have to overcome. In the book Gym Candy, Mike Johnson has faced both strengths and weaknesses in his life. Mike, on the football field, physically has both speed and strength. He has the drive to grind through exhaustion during a tough game which event involves mental strength.
Having physical weakness and mental fragility, are liabilities to a football player. In the book Gym Candy, although both are present, weakness manifests in more ways than strength does. Mike's father lies to him about his NFL past because he is embarrassed, and he doesn't want his son to grow up and play football that way. Mick also gives into the temptation of using steroids. Throughout the book, Gym Candy, the theme of overcoming strengths and weaknesses is extremely prevalent.
First off, Mick has a lot of strengths that help to contribute to the theme. Mike has been playing football since he was two years old. He started in a Pop Warner league. Mike was always been the best player; however, when a new kid, Drew, shows up and takes his shine he said, “I pushed myself to outperform everyone, especially Drew Carney. Running drills, agility drills, strength drills--I took him on.” This shows the determination and mental strength that he had. Mick had drive then, and had even more in highschool. Mike was determined that he was going to be on the varsity team.
Mick said, “I wouldn't let myself believe it. I know I am better I out hustle him, out play him, and out hit him.” Mike made a vow to himself after that season. He vowed, “Come next season there will be nobody stronger, faster, or bigger than me.” This shows one of his biggest strengths; never being satisfied. Mick’s drive and determination are his two biggest strengths that add to the theme.
Next, Mick’s weaknesses also help build on the theme. Mick vows to never use steroids. He said, “I will never use steroids like number 50 to get stronger.” However, Mick comes face to face with the option to use this performance enhancing drug. Mick makes a choice that he is going to regret for the rest of his life. Mike goes against his conscience and takes the steroids. Mick said, “I know I cheated, but i will stop when the season starts.” The only problem with that is, once you use steroids you will feel like you need them even more and more.
This shows that when faced with a tough or tempting decision, Mick tends to go down the wrong path. Then, when a young running back challenges Micks starting spot, he has another chance to show his strengths, but his weaknesses get the best of him. Mick said, “I know I am better than him, but what I need the XTR to boost my game a little more.” This shows his that he can’t stay away from steroids which is ultimately his biggest weakness. Once again Mick had a choice and he picked the weakness over strength. Mick’s poor decision making is his biggest weakness and is also what helps develop the theme.
In conclusion, the biggest theme in the book Gym Candy is strengths and weaknesses. Examples of this are shown primarily by the main character, Mick. He has determination, which drives him to continue and do better, but he also has a hard time saying no to tempting things, like steroids. Mick is a great athlete, but he tends to forget that sometimes. That is the reason why he has both strengths and weaknesses when it comes to football. In life, everybody has obstacles that they have to overcome, and it is our strengths and weaknesses that lead us down different paths.
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