Jeff Miller Originally nicknamed "The Future" Jeff came to us via New Hampshire. When he first contacted me he said that he made the cross country move in part to join Diablo as he had been familiar with the gym since the days of the Rugged Forum. Several years prior to Jeff's arrival, Mike Headley had started a thread documenting his Diablo experience and it chronicled other upcoming members at the time such as Ken Kim, Ericka Mahler and Jesse Burdick. The thread got something like 250k views and until now was really about the only external marketing Diablo has done (even though it was unintentional). If you are willing to move across country to join us then you at least have my attention. However, always the stickler, Master Ken Kim quickly re-named Jeff "The Possibility" as he felt I may have been putting too much on an unproven rookie. Jeff set out to show us what he was about.
From the very beginning Jeff was all Diablo. He took to the culture and wanted to learn everything about Westside and the Conjugate Method. I couldn't really teach him anything about Westside, as we are Diablo, but I gave him everything on the amazing system that Louie Simmons has made accessible to all of us.
I'd say more than any of our other lifters Jeff has come to define the modern era at Diablo. I doubt any member, past or present, would differ in their opinion on this. He has been our best lifter and my greatest confidant and helper on the floor for several years now. When someone has carved that type of a niche it can be hard to remember the starting point and the early stages of the journey. I will do my best. If memory serves I want to say Jeff was somewhere around a 315 squat, I remember when he was shooting for a 225 bench and he had made a 445 deadlift. 7+ years at Diablo have created quite a contrast to his start, turning those numbers into 1003 squat, 540 bench and an 800lb deadlift.
It wasn't a completely meteoric rise as Jeff had his struggles and has had to fix problems along the way. To me I am always more impressed with the lifters that had to find ways to get to the next level as opposed to the guys who are squatting 1000 in their first few meets or first few years of training. I remember at one meet he wasn't able to even unrack 584 in the squat! Pressing forward he was soon in the 600s. Then by the next meet 700+. He had a decent stretch where he was fighting to get his first 700 deadlift. Somewhere in the gigantic Diablo video repository there is a video where Jeff gets about an inch from locking out 700, then projectile vomits. We went about fixing that problem by doing tons of zerchers and GHRs. For a bit his training numbers in the squat were way ahead of what was happening in competition. A little bodyweight fixed that and soon he was finally making squats in the 900s. Then came the 1000. I have felt for years if Jeff got his focus and bodyweight on point he would be challenging for a spot in the All Time Top 10 (and his bench wouldn't be 50lbs over his unequipped number).
As a sport, Powerlifting is as extreme as it gets when you are gunning for a top spot. It requires all of you. The window of greatness doesn't stay open forever. I feel in a way this era in the sport is a bit tricky. 10 years ago we were always training for APF Nationals and gunning for the WPO. You knew where you stood based on your total. Now it's not as clear. There is less cohesion than ever in the sport. Who needs to do all that work now when you can just post a pic on Instagram and get tons of attention and instant gratification? Will Jeff reset his focus and fulfill the promise of "The Future?" Is the future indeed Now? Or will he be satisfied forever fulfilling Master Ken's warning of "The Possibility?" Inevitably time is going to answer that question, and it will likely be sooner rather than later. From a coaching standpoint I would love to be able to reflect on this in a few years and talk about how Jeff took it to the next level. But even if he doesn't, I will always be able to reflect on these years with fond memories of our friendship, his impact on the club and the outstanding lifts he was able to accomplish.