Iowa fans should count on at least one Hawkeye player looking noticeably different during the upcoming season. Senior forward Aaron White had added "fifteen pounds of muscle" to his lean 218 pound frame, concentrated in a small area on his left shoulder.
The added muscle, which White first noticed in July, grew gradually over the summer and has, according to White and team doctors, stabilized at 15.2 pounds and a circumference of 8.4 inches.
"It's pretty freaky, right?" said White. "It just developed over time. At first I thought it was just some sports acne or something, but once it got over one pound, I knew something was up." White brought his added girth to the attention of team doctors, and a battery of tests revealed it to be a rare form of sarcoplasmic hypertrophy in the biceps and triceps resulting from "excessive unilateral arm curls."
"I guess I didn't monitor my routines in the gym as carefully as I should have, and sort of overdid it on the left side. But the good thing is that the doctors say it's not any kind of health threat," said White. "It has affected my game, though. It throws off my whole shooting motion, makes it hard to dribble, and sometimes it will spasm uncontrollably and make my arm flail in unpredictable directions. So fouling has been a problem for me this offseason."
Unfortunately for White, removal of the new muscle is not an option. "The doctors say that if they removed it, they'd have to remove most of my triceps, and that would really mess up my shot I'm afraid. So right now my goal is to disguise it as much as possible."
White has experimented with a variety of elastic sports sleeves, but says "they don't leave much to the imagination" and instead has opted for the classic late '80s look of an extra-extra-extra large white t-shirt. "I kind of look like Acie Earl back in the day, which is cool, and it hides most of it."
An unanticipated result of overwork
"My goal this offseason was definitely to get stronger and leaner," said White. "Playing in those pre-NBA draft camps with all the other great players convinced me that I need to be stronger if I want to make it at the next level. So I really lived in the weight room this summer. I guess that's where all the problems began."
White continued: "You see, one night I was just finishing up another routine in there, and I had gotten really absorbed in this X-Files marathon that was playing on the TV. The next thing you know, I looked up, and everyone else in the weight room had gone. I went to try the door, and wouldn't you know it, the door was locked. It just so happened that that episode 'Home' was starting, and I just must have gotten so locked in that I sat down with the barbell in my hand and did curls for a solid hour."
Subsequent absorbing episodes such as "that Jersey Devil one" and "the one where the Cigarette Smoking Man iced JFK" kept White working throughout the night.
"I guess that's where it started. I really shouldn't watch TV while I lift, because I really get into the shows, and there's so much good stuff out there." Subsequent marathon runs of Battlestar Galactica, Law and Order, and Designing Women forced White to spend many nights alone in the weight room, obliviously doing left-handed curls while absorbed in gripping serial narratives.
"I've definitely added a lot of strength on that side, but it's come at a cost. My right arm has lost a lot of its definition, and I seem to frighten children now."
Iowa team doctors have placed a security lock on the weight room television and limited available channels to CNBC and QVC, which they believe will have White's muscular situation back to normal by December.
Broadcasters are welcomed to use this amusing anecdote as "color" during any Iowa basketball game this year, but should be aware that most or all facts described in this article are not, per se, as facts, true. That Jersey Devil episode of the X-Files is pretty good, though.