A friend of mine recently wrote about me, “Brach is a fantastic ultimate player, and he has a knack of rising to big occasions. He doesn’t have any overwhelming physical advantages, but he is one of the smartest defenders I have ever played with, and he has very little regard for his own health while he plays.” That’s both complimentary and fair. I’m not tall, and I don’t have good reach, but I always got defensive blocks by being fearless and willing to sacrifice my body. By the time I came to CrossFit in the fall of 2011, I’d just come back from representing USA at the world championships of beach ultimate. We’d won gold, and I was on an athletic high and in the best shape of my life, or so I thought. I was trim, but I had serious and recurring back and knee issues, and I had already had to sit out parts of multiple seasons due to injuries those injuries.
By that point, the few people I knew who’d blended CrossFit into their ultimate training regimens were older than I was — well into their 30’s — but still faster than just about everyone else on the field and very, very dangerous. I decided to give CrossFit a shot, and over time, I was able to strengthen and heal myself. That, more than anything, was one of the biggest and best changes in my body that I’ve seen since I started doing CrossFit. Now I’m well into my thirties too, but I’m able to play the way I want to, the way I have since I was a teenager: with total investment and total willingness to take pain to get blocks. But to my pleasure and surprise, my body can take the pounding way better than it ever could in the past, and I’ve not had a single recurrence of the back or knee problems that almost forced me to stop playing.
Attached is a picture taken at the southwestern U.S. regional championships earlier this year. That’s me on defense. If not for CrossFit, I’m not sure this kind of thing would have still been possible for me. I’m glad it is.
BTW, We won that game and got invited to play in the national championships.