Why Compete?

So it’s no big secret that I’ve registered for this year’s CrossFit Open. Thirty days from now I’ll be competing alongside 80,000 athletes around the globe for a shot at glory. Do I think I can win? No, I don’t; I don’t even think I’ll qualify for regionals this year. Does that matter: not really. It’s not about winning this year. I’ve been training and training other people for a long time now. I know what it takes to compete at a professional level and this year I don’t have it. I waited too long to start training seriously and let myself get sidetracked too often these past six months. If this were a fairy-tale we’d say that didn’t matter; that all I needed was heart and determination. This isn’t a fairy-tale  It’s life and it’s a lesson. Even if you can’t win you should still compete, and the real question is why aren’t you signing up?

If you ask most people doing CrossFit why they won’t be competing in the Open this year I’ll bet you‘ll hear something like this; “there’s no way I can win so why should I do it?” I guess the easiest reply is Why Not? I mean why shouldn’t you want to enter into a contest to push yourself harder than you ever have before? Why wouldn’t you want to stand toe-to-toe with the best in the world to see where you stack up? Honestly and if it were up to me every single person doing CrossFit today would have to compete regardless of how ready they thought they were.

Unfortunately it’s not up to me. Unfortunately we live in a nation where many of us only compete if we know we can win; how sad I say and how tragic for us and our children. We’re teaching the next generation to be cowards. We’re showing them through example and inaction that life is about staying in the comfort zone and living in fear. We’d rather live afraid of failure then reach for the chance for something great. Our forefathers would be ashamed of the pussies we’ve become in this nation; hiding behind our walls and technology, hoarding guns and ammo for the catastrophe that may come, when the real disaster is staring us in the face every morning when we look in the mirror.

So you might lose, so you may not be strong enough, so you may not be fast enough, or young enough. Does it really mean anything in the end? I think there’s a valuable lesson to be had in competition I mean after all; the way I learned to fight hand-to-hand was by getting my ass kicked for years on end by one instructor after another. Every beating was instruction and revelation in what not to do and how to overcome.

Rich Froning nearly won his first trip to the CrossFit Games until he fell off a rope in front of everyone. Most people would have never showed their face again, He didn’t quit though he learned how to hold onto a freaking rope and came back the next year. George Washington got his ass kicked by the British for two years straight when our nation was still just an idea in the minds of a few but he didn’t quit he certainly didn’t walk away and say “this is a fight I can’t win so I won’t compete.” He did the best he could, learned his lessons, and defeated the most powerful empire in the world with a bunch of farm boys who knew only that it was better to stand up for what they wanted than to live as slaves to tyrants. Wow and you’re afraid you can’t do muscle-ups.

Maybe CrossFit isn’t your thing, I get that. But I also get that it’s just an analogy for life. We all have the opportunity to compete in our own games; to overcome and be better to do more and push what we think we can and find out what we could do. But too many of us are sitting this one out because of fear. We’re doing nothing but hanging on and hoping for something better when the truth is it’s on us to make something better happen now. Nothing is going to change in this world until all of us, you and me, start doing something solid and real to change it. We can’t keep blaming governments and criminals, greed and corporations, the devil or God. It’s us, all of us that are making life hell for ourselves.

So I’m doing the CrossFit Open this year and the next and I’m going to push myself until my muscles scream and my guts twist into knots. I’m going to fight for every ounce of strength and push myself until I think I’ll collapse because this is me fighting for my future, for the life that I want, and what may be. I might lose, in fact for the first few rounds I’m counting on it, but I won’t be beaten and I’ll keep getting up. This is my life and I’m making it better one push-up at a time what are you doing to change yours?

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