Roach to Coach: Talk is Cheap

Sal Marinello is an accredited NJ Personal Trainer and High School Football Coach. Just don’t talk to him about bodybuilders.

“Bodybuilders are not athletes,” Sal writes. “They know nothing about athletics or athletes, and should be kept as far away as possible from legitimate athletes.

Sal Marinello

Bodybuilding has nothing to do with health, fitness, performance or any other of the legitimate concerns of true sport and competition. Bodybuilding is an activity that is based on looking a certain way and has nothing to do with performance in any meaningful athletic sense.

Bodybuilders are the cockroaches of the athletic world. Just like the Periplaneta Americana, bodybuilders operate under the cover of darkness and usually go scurrying when light is shined upon them. Where the American Cockroach gains entry by accessing cracks in a building’s foundation, the drug-using American Bodybuilder – Gymrattius Americana – insinuate themselves into the athletic world by preying on the ignorance and insecurities of the unsuspecting, or by exploiting those who will do anything to succeed.

Every major steroid/performance enhancing drug scandal involves bodybuilders.”

Any comments?

Marinello vindicates his opinions using the March 13 bust of one Anthony Cuppari on 15 counts of conspiracy to possess, manufacture or distribute steroids, GHB, and other controlled substances in the affluent suburb of East Hanover NJ. Cuppari, 25, is the volunteer football coach at Hanover Park High School, of which he is an alumni. Cuppari is also a personal trainer at the local Planet Gym. The investigation uncovered a suburban drug ring that made, labeled and distributed the stuff to gyms as well as the high school from both Cuppari’s parent’s home and the home of at least one other teenage boy, a sophomore at HPHS. There are more than a dozen other likely lads involved, many of whom are teenage students under Coach Cuppari’s care.

Cuppari's Den

Cuppari’s Den of Iniquity

Anthony Cuppari’s drug ring allegedly included the bodybuilder Jason Arntz, who finished 8th in the 2002 Ironman Pro invitational. Prior to infiltrating themselves into the local high school, the drug ring’s clients included bodybuilders at local gyms.

Ipso facto, Marinello writes, ” Remember folks, body builders have no business hanging around with real athletes, and anytime body builders are hanging around real athletes, trouble is sure to follow.”’s answer to Coach Marinello is this:

What’s your beef with bodybuilders?

Most recent steroid scandals have not involved bodybuilders. Pro-ballers, especially baseballers, of every stripe are on the sauce. Every sport—except tennis?— is tainted with users and cheaters and gangsters.

Mr Marinello’s real beef seems not to be the abuse of drugs in itself, but his opinion that bodybuilders, like cockroaches, don’t have any place in human, or at least sporting, society.

We concede that at a the performance level, bodybuilding hasn’t come such a long way since Mr Ziegfield yoinked strong-man Eugen Sandow from the Prussian circus tent into the global arena. Yes, it still has its carnivalesque moments, and no, it does often segue into a sad or silly form of performance art.

Bodybuilding’s early proponents used to add “muscle display performances” —strongman stunts and weightlifting—to their routine. Sadly, many of today’s flexathons do not actually involve feats of strength. If they did, or if they displayed some skills—aside from tanning, dieting and sequin-stitching— that the greater public could respond to, the sport might gain some much needed respect.

Yet, we remind Mr Marinello, who is a coach and personal trainer himself, that without these early showmen, he wouldn’t have a job. Eugen Sandow, the father of modern bodybuilding, founded the first Physical Culture Studio—a health club by any other name, and the exercise business became a lucrative one to be in. in fact Sandow, Treloar and others began to spread the word of health through bodybuilding, and Treloar, like many others, was an accomplished sportsman—rowing, football— coach, and trainer as well as a formidable strongman.

So the early traditions of bodybuilding are more in sync with Mr Marinallo’s own stated goals of common-sense fitness though strength-training, diet and lifestyle, than he is willing to acknowledge. Weight training as a culture, continues to uphold these as its goals, and the degree to which it has deviated from them through the widespread use of steroids is a matter of public knowledge.


Eugen Sandow shows us how it’s done

Still, bodybuilding cannot claim to be the source of the anabolic Nile. Modern doping goes back at the 19th century, when swimmers enhanced their performance through drugs, and in this century, as Marinello may well know, covert steroid use came to the US from the 1954 Olympics, when the American weight-lifting coach wanted whatever the Russian champions were using. Back home, Ciba Pharmaceuticals was happy to oblige, and Dianabol was born. Bodybuilders were slow on the uptake, not imbibing on a widespread basis until the 1970s, mainly because bodybuilding, unlike the Olympics at that time, was not where the money was. So the steroid gurus took their message to the weight-lifters, discuss-throwers and shot-putters—all real sports—where it was gratefully received.

The biggest dopers these days, at least outside the US, are not your average bodybuilders, most of whom are lucky if they can get their hands on some creatine or glutamine, but the professionals—ball-players, bodybuilders, weight-lifters, wrestlers… Coach Cuppari is none of these. In fact, the most you could say about him was that he was a personal trainer and high school football coach… just like you, Sal! couldn’t agree more with Marinello that bodalicious bods do not qualify anyone to operate as a personal trainer, and we’ve all had our fair share of laughs at those smirking cell-phone jockeys working the gym floor like they own it. And au contraire, Mr Marinello: many of these DO carry the same mouthful of official credentials that you honour, if you want to talk about scandalous.

Bodybuilding: Lost the Plot

Bodybuilding: Lost the plot?

Mr Marinello coaches the Chatham HS Football team, Hanover Park’s rivals, and is a personal trainer in the New Jersey area—Coach Cuppari’s turf. Perhaps he should take a step back and lay the abuse of steroids firmly where it belongs: at the feet of a spectacle-hungry media, unscrupulous High School pencil-pushers, a corrupt sports officialdom, and multinational drug corporations. Lets leave the straining caps of your average weekend warrior to shoulder other burdens, such as supporting a family or dealing with their bosses, or impressing the opposite sex.

Nothing wrong with that, is there?

It is important to remember what separates Mr Cuppari from your enthusiastic Ironman or woman. Mr Cuppari was an alumni of Hanover Park HS, where he was allegedly already involved in drugs—cocaine and steroids. So, Mr Cuppari was an alleged criminal before he was a bodybuilder or personal trainer and before he volunteered to coach the football team, where his drug ring was already under investigation. The point is that from selling steroids to kids, to earning popularity points from his under-age charges by offering them date-rape drugs (GHB also works to help the post ‘roid crash), and who knows what else, Cuppari is despicable first, a drug dealer second, a High School football coach third, living at home at 25 forth, operating a lab out of his parent’s house fifth, and a bodybuilder/personal trainer somewhere way down the line after scumbag, according to his fans.

Why he was given the position of volunteer coach of the ailing football team is anyone’s guess, but one can imagine it had something to do with the management’s desperation to turn it around. How? The only man who seems to know or care is Chatham Coach Sal Marinello, who admits that he suspected his rival team were geared:
A year ago we started to hear the rumors that the Hanover Park squad was on the sauce. Chatham kids [the school Marinello coaches] are friends with HP kids and see them both in and out of school. We heard some rumblings from other coaches, and the local newspaper’s high school football preview emphasized that the 2006 HP Hornets had changed their offense to a run-oriented, power football style of play that was designed to take advantage of the fact that HP thought they were bigger and stronger than everyone else.

And during the 2006 season HP followed through on their promise to jam the ball down the throats of their opponents. They were very big and strong, and even though they struggled, they won with the simple formula of running the ball and bodying up with their opponents. Every article about Hanover Park mentioned how big and strong and powerful they were.

I’m not saying the HP coaches knew that their kids were using steroids, but they did notice the physical difference to the point where they changed their offense to take advantage of their players’ newfound physical stature.”

And yet, Mr Marinello himself said and did nothing, although by his own claims, “Being around high school guys all the time, you just know the difference between a big kid and a kid that’s just too big.”
Sorry, Sal, hindsight is 20/20. Instead of swatting roaches, you could have waved that wad of credentials, opened your mouth a year ago, and saved a lot of kids a lot of trouble.

Similar Posts