When I started this journey to the CrossFit Open, I knew two things. First, it was going to be something that I would work very hard training for knowing full well that I would not advance.
Second, I would share the journey with my students.
For me, it was important to combine the two so I could model the importance of determination in the face of adversity. I wanted them to know that a person could work really hard and do her best, but that did not mean that the person would win, or even excel, compared to others.
Kids live in the world of participation ribbons and no one losing. And, quite frankly, no one really wins in that situation either. My students had to know that sometimes the greatest victory is doing your best and accomplishing something you never thought you would be able to do. Your moment of personal triumph can be greater than all of the participation ribbons in the world.
Each day, I updated my board with the countdown of how many days until the Open started and how much weight I lifted the day before. And they have started to ask questions – which lift was that, what is a wall ball, and how did you lift that much weight. We have had push-up contests between classes, they have bemoaned burpee workouts with me, and we have talked more about goal setting and facing challenges than ever before. We have talked about what it takes to break things into steps, and about how you have to put in the work to make progress. They’ve seen first-hand that nothing comes easily.
Friday morning, they came to me asking what I had to do this weekend as my first workout. I was honest – 14.1 was not looking good because I had struggled with double unders. I assured them that I was going directly to the box after school to work, and that I was going to get some double unders or die trying. They were amazingly supportive.
And today, I get to go in and talk to them about completing 14.1 this weekend – about the work, the bruised knuckes, the whip marks on my arms and shins, and nailing 60 double unders. They get to hear about the results of putting in the work.
Even though I can’t walk in and tell them that I won first place overall, I want them to see that I accomplished something that when I left school on Friday I did not think was possible.
And I want them also to see that their work, their improvement, their pride, their independence, their growth, and their power…is their victory.