Here's what has changed, and what has been learned.Read article
A thunderous collision of hard-formed plastic helmets echoes off the stadium bleachers and is immediately absorbed by the crowd’s collective inhale. Henry County’s tailback hits the earth with a thud. Barely visible through the tangled mess between the 20- and 25-yard lines is his jersey No. 9 is on the turf. The football tumbles away, seemingly in slow motion, before being smothered by members of both teams in a scrum of grunts and shouts. Spectators await the signal.
The referees peel players off the pile until they reach the man with the ball. This is the guy who started this maelstrom, the one who initiated the pain this is Brandon Curry, both the cause and collector of the fumble. He gets to his feet, tosses the ball to the ref and heads not to the sideline but into the offensive huddle. Brandon’s job isn’t over: He’s an ironman, playing both sides of the ball. He takes his place in the backfield, ready to run headlong into the storm once more.
ONCE MORE INTO THE BREACH
This is how Brandon takes on life: head-on, as hard as he can. A competitive athlete in football, track and wrestling at Hunters Lane Comprehensive High School in Nashville, Tennessee, Brandon grew accustomed to success early. His football teams twice won state championships and his track relay team won its own in 2001.
Brandon went on to attend Middle Tennessee State University (Mur-freesboro), where he majored in exercise science unwittingly stumbling onto his understanding of human form. He continued to play football in college but soon directed his focus to his studies and the gym. The genetically gifted workhorse spent countless hours throwing around iron plates. Strong-willed and strong physically, progress came easily for Brandon.
But despite his natural tendency toward growth, he never envisioned himself as a bodybuilder, at least not one who would someday stand against competitors flexing for first place. Michael, Brandon’s gym friend, constantly begged him to compete: You have to enter this contest! You have to do something! You have the gift to compete! Brandon took it as idle and misplaced encouragement, but five weeks from the 2003 Supernatural Bodybuilding & Fitness show in Tennessee, Michael persuaded Brandon to enter.
A timid first-time competitor, Brandon emerged as the overall and novice champ. Was this his calling? What if he channeled the same knock-you-on-your-back football mentality into bodybuilding? Where could this lead? The once-reluctant bodybuilder was now eager to find out.
FANNING THE FIRE
With a more focused outlook on his physical endeavors, Brandon took first at the MuscleMania Superbody Junior show in 2004. He followed that by finishing as the light-heavyweight and overall winner at the 2005 NPC Collegiate Nationals. Then in 2006, Brandon saw his first Mr. Olympia contest, turning his small fire of enthusiasm for the sport into a raging five-alarm blaze. Immersed in the magnitude of bodybuilding’s biggest spectacle, he hoped to someday stand on that stage as an IFBB competitor.
Exceptional yet humble, Brandon knows the road ahead of him is long and arduous. Last year, he took a very close second place at the NPC USAs in July and then again at the NPC Nationals in November, his pro card just out of reach. “I came in confident; I knew I did what I had to do to get there, to compete and give myself an opportunity to win,” he recalls.
“I had no regrets and I know what I have to do for next year. There’s a great deal I’ll have to improve upon to compete as a pro, so I might as well take this year to work on those things and come into next year with a stronger package.”
Drive is something not all men have hard-wired into their mainframes. Brandon Curry, however, has it, and plans to use it to create his own path. When asked who he looks to within the sport for inspiration, he replies, “I’ve never been someone to follow in another man’s footsteps; I look to find my own way.”
Though that could easily be mistaken for arrogance, he’s quick to point out that there are bodybuilders he admires. He offers one name in particular, as much for his independence of thought as his physique. “Ronnie Coleman dominated the sport and he set his own standards,” Brandon says. “Winning is one thing; domination is a whole other class.” So now Brandon stands at his career line of scrimmage, again looking to barrel his way through what lies ahead with his eye on the ball. “Men strive to be great,” he says. “I strive to be the greatest.” M&F
Birthdate: Oct. 19, 1982
Birthplace: Nashville, Tennessee
Current Residence: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Weight: 225240 pounds off-season, 215 contest
Career Highlights: 2007: NPC USAs, 2nd heavyweight; NPC Nationals, 2nd heavyweight. 2006: NPC Junior Nationals, 2nd light-heavyweight. 2005: NPC Collegiate Nationals, 1st light-heavyweight and overall
David Paterson is a Los Angeles-based freelance sportswriter.