ZAC MCINTOSH REFUSED TO LET BEING BULLIED DEFINE HIM, BECAME NO. 1 RANKED CENTER IN SOUTH CAROLINA
Zac McIntosh’s story begins when he was just 11-years-old.
“I started at a new school away from all my friends,” Zac said. “I wasn’t the most athletic person or the most popular. I was one of the heavier kids in school and that was hard for me because of how that made me stand out for years.”
Zac was consistently picked on and bullied because of his weight.
Eventually he reached a point where he needed to do something about it.
“I went and tried out for the football team,” he said. “That’s what the ‘cool’ kids did, so I figured I’d give it a shot. To put it lightly, I was destroyed. I was weak. I was soft. I didn’t know how to play.”
After his first few weeks, the older teammates began to pick on him. Unfortunately, it’s a reality in sports, and happens as a way to “break in” the new kid.
But it doesn’t mean going through that is easy.
Far from it.
“I hadn’t taken it too hard or too personal until one day I was going to practice, and the older guys just kept going after me,” Zac said. “The name calling and beating me down were as bad as ever.”
After practice was over, Zac was oddly invited by the older kids to walk to the store with them. It wasn’t very far from school, so he obliged.
“As a kid, you don’t really comprehend what evil is in the world,” said Zac. “But after this day, I learned how cruel the world can be.”
As he met up with the kids, they began walking away. Suddenly, Zac is pushed to the ground from behind. The biggest kid of the group placed his knee in Zac’s back and started screaming.
“Give me all your money and you won’t get hurt!” the kid screamed.
Without thinking, Zac gave the kid what little money he had.
“The kid began to bend my arm back as far as it could possibly go until he heard a popping noise,” Zac said. “I began to yell, and the boys took off running.”
A family friend was passing by and saw the event happen, but it was too late to intervene. He took Zac home and told his parents what happened.
“He and my dad looked at me straight in the eye,” Zac said. “They asked, ‘Why didn’t you fight back?’ I told them I wasn’t strong enough. As those words left my mouth I began thinking, what could I do to become stronger? My dad told me, ‘You just gotta find that angry switch and turn it on when you need it most.’ After that day, I dedicated my life to become the strongest most relentless person in the room so that when I do need to turn that switch on, I can with ease.”
Zac started to train.
Results were quick, and he was becoming a beast.
“In a sense, I became untouchable,” he said. “My confidence grew and all those kids who picked on me were just faint memories.”
Zac went on to shine in football during high school – to the point where a dream of reaching the next level at a D1 school was starting to become a reality.
He ended his career as the No. 1 center in South Carolina and was a four-time All-Division player, three-time All-County and powerlifting state champion in the 260-pound class.
“I’ve had to mentally overcome so many obstacles,” he said. “Whether it was because I was too weak or overweight. I had to learn to channel those emotions from my childhood of aggression and rage into something that could benefit me.”
Zac has a special place in his heart for people who aren’t able to fight their own battles or are viewed as the “little” guy.
“APEMAN gave me a simple phrase that helps me share my thoughts and emotions in two simple words: LIFT ANGRY,” he said. “I channel all my aggression into my lifts. Every time I step into the gym or get under the bar, I have the mentality of letting it all out so that it doesn’t define me. For people out there that are getting bullied or are going through something that may not make sense, I encourage you to find a way to channel that energy and harness those emotions as a way to make you a better person than you are today.
And maybe that will inspire someone else going through something tough.”