An Excerpt from the Diary of Regret

Every Minute on the minute for 10 minutes:

Perform 2 Good Mornings, adjust weight as needed

Rest, then perform

For time:

200 Box Jumps, 24″/20″

If you take a break of any kind, please enjoy 25 sit ups

 

A few Sundays ago one of our members, overcome with frustration, blind with grief, left in the middle of the workout. I mean no good bye, not finishing, not logging the time, no putting his bar and plates away, never to be seen in several hundred workouts, out right, straight up quit. I didn’t realize until too late that Eddie Perez Teran, who had come from hundreds of face to face battles in Judo, Wrestling, and Kung fu, and recently graduated On Ramp, had succumbed to inner demons he didn’t know he had.

Understanding that people who at first survive, and then thrive in CrossFit are a unique group, and that our gym further self selects for even cooler character traits, I was intrigued by this phenomena. Eddie later apologized to me for his behavior, as I didn’t actually know what happened to him. In his apology I sensed a level of shame and regret that I haven’t felt in years, a level only Warriors can know, and it (but not he) beseeched me to make it right. And so I told him his redemption would lie in chronicling what happened in his head, if not for himself (it really was), then to prevent or succor others from doing the same.  His answer was as poignant as any I’ve heard on the subject . . .

“I am not a quitter.” I found myself looking in the rear view mirror of my car and repeating those words over and over, trying to convince myself that what had just happened was strange and completely out of character. But I did, quit that is, plain and simple.

It was a Sunday morning, in the second month of my CrossFit experience. I woke up feeling great and ready to tackle the WOD. It was “Touch And Go” – 5 rounds of 3 Cleans, followed by 20 Burpees. After falling on my ass, I don’t know, let’s say for the eighth time, something very strange started happening in my mind. I had a complete mental break. Luckily long sleeves weren’t required but a break it was indeed.

Everyone around seemed to be getting through the rounds with much greater facility. To my right, a well fit guy, half my size, blazing through the cleans, twice my weight. Right in front of me, a gal snaps cleans like a well trained ranch hand cracking her whip at ponies attempting to stray. After abandoning all form on my Cleans, mind you it was still my first round, I hit the floor for Burpees but by then it was too late. My mind was finished. I know my gas tank was no where near empty but the control center in my head had thrown up it’s hands, shredded the tickets and headed for the gates.

Down I went for Burpee number 5. As I lay there, something reared it’s head. Something so unfamiliar but intuitively recognizable; like meeting the half brother you never knew you had. Up I go, for number 6 and everyone around me now is moving like well oiled pistons; up, down, up, down. To say that I’ve never felt out of place would be dishonest and to say that I’ve never given up would be even a greater stretch but at that moment, I never felt more alone, more irregular. I was the loose bolt in the engine causing all the clanging. So enough with the boohooing, let’s cut to the chase and the chase was for the door. I ran for my car leaving all the weights thrown about the floor. A grown man running for the car, doing his best to not punch out his windows, staring into a rear view mirror, pacifying himself with words of reassurance – “I am not a quitter”.

So is quitting worth writing about? Why glorify or justify a bad day at the gym? Those questions lay across my shoulders as I write this. I don’t have an answer, except that I was asked to. But I could have rejected the proposition. I didn’t and I think it’s because there was something I’ve been covertly avoiding. Shame. Indirectly, I have been running from it for as long as I can remember. And I guess this is the heart of my discourse.

For the team. Always for the team. For those of you that have ever participated in organized sports, this is something that is instilled in you from the baptismal. I have belonged to many a great family in the days of my athletic youth. Those families were my refuge; the thing for which I lived, sweated and bled for. Perhaps as you read this, if you belonged to such a family, you will take a moment to recall those bonds.

What becomes of the warrior that has no master? I’m sure there’s not an actual Ronin among us but I’d wager that if we lived in a different era, there indeed would be many in the box that would bear such an appellation. I see you all around. Strength for me, was something that was found in a collective need or expectation. When I would find myself being dominated by an opponent, I drew from the pressure to not let down my brethren. And rarely did I fall short, let alone on my ass. So what of us? What of the guy that knows not how to do for himself? What of this shame? For me, the answer was, to avoid the question. Anything but look in the mirror. Anything but admit that I was lost without someone to depend on me. Anything but admit that I do not know how to fight, if it is me that I am fighting for. Once, I recall telling my wife, the love of my life, that I would be the best sled dog – ever. That statement, as true as it still feels, no longer has the same meaning. The new definition? I don’t know.

For the first time in my life, I am being asked to form a relationship with myself. The only person that I have to answer to, I mean wholeheartedly honest answer to, is myself. What are the limits of my beliefs? What are my greatest wishes? What are wishes that are non-communal? How do I reach into the depths of my reservoirs strictly for the purpose of personal achievement? These are the questions that are being asked of me now.

I find myself, once again, part of a team but this team holds me responsible in ways that are unfamiliar. When I pass through the CrossFit doors, I know that I am surrounded by people that choose to push past their own limitations on daily basis. I see faces that strain with the words “I will be better today”. Why? I don’t know the answer – yet. I’m still shedding off gi’s, uniforms and jerseys from yesteryear. I know that I want to know. I believe that this is the reason I came to this box and will continue to return. And I know, and there’s no other way to put it, during that Sunday WOD on September 4th – I quit. I quit. Plain and simple –

and not simple.

I am not a quitter.

Post thoughts to comments.

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Meditate on this, I will.

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