Please Don’t Hurt Me

Lakers Security's Mark Groce Getting Fierce

I’m glad that the 6-4, 260 pound Mark Groce is real cool with me … Because the man who’s charged with protecting the Lakers traveling staff* and Kobe Bryant in particular is freaking enormous.
*Actually, a security company employs Mark and other rotating protectors.

Just to make sure you understand, here are a few words I’d use to describe Mark: behemothic, bulky, colossal, cyclopean, elephantine, enormous, gargantuan, giant, gigantic, humongous, immeasurable, immense, jumbo, mammoth, massive, mighty, mondo, monster, monstrous, monumental, mountainous, outsized, oversized, planetary, prodigious, stupendous, titanic, towering, vast, walloping and whopping (thanks to for the help).

Isn’t it funny that huge security guys are often among the world’s nicest guys? Groce certainly fits that bill, as I learned while I took him through* a beastly bicep and tricep workout Thursday afternoon at the health club attached to our hotel in D.C.
*That could have been the other way around … I forgot.

Not surprisingly, it was pretty easy for me to out-lift Groce in every single exercise, although it was kind of annoying as I had to add a ton of weight to whatever apparatus we were working on. I mean, I got almost as much of a workout just adding the 45-pound discs to my bicep curling bar. Seriously Mark, you need to put more time in.

By the way, here are a few words I’d never use when describing Mark: bitsy, bitty, diminutive, itsy-bitsy, itty-bitty, Lilliputian, little, microscopic, mini, miniature, minuscule, minute, pee-wee, petite, pint-sized, pocket-sized, puny, slight, teensy, teensy-weensy, teeny, wee.

So, after getting through our arm workout, Mark asked if I were interested in some Muay Thai kickboxing, at which he’s quite formidable. He explained that Muay Thai involves very powerful kicking where you’re trying to use your whole body to inflict maximum force on an opponent, head butting, kneeing, elbowing and what have you.

Since I could barely lift my arms above my waist at that point, and feared death or serious injury if one of Groce’s kicks missed the padding and cracked through my fibula, I was thankful that I had a good excuse. My buddy was coming down from Baltimore for some food (mercifully).

Too bad I couldn’t lift my fork off the table … Thanks a lot Mark!