Monster Blog: Heroes
When I was growing up in the suburbs of Chicago as a kid, if you loved baseball you were either a Cubs fan or a White Sox fan. My best friend and I were both fans of the perpetual underdog Cubs, and for us there was no greater player than second baseman Ryne Sandberg. We idolized him, collected all of his baseball cards, and played baseball every day to try and be just like him; he was our hero.
The early 90’s was a great time to be a sports fan in Chicago. There were plenty of sports icons to idolize, especially with Michael Jordan and the Bulls pulling their three consecutive Championships. For a city that had years of losses in many sports, they were heroes to many. My guess is that since the day the word hero was invented it has been misused plenty of times. What that word means to each person is different and the way we define it can vary greatly.
In classical mythology, a hero was defined as a being of godlike prowess that often came to be honored as a divinity. In the Homeric period, a hero was a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability. The modern definition is a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
Another origin of the word hero comes from a Greek word that stands for (The) Quest. It was said that the man was strengthened by his quest, thus making him a hero. That’s a good way to look at your CrossFit training; your quest. We’ll face adversity at many times while trying to master an Olympic lift, gymnastic movement, or double unders. How we handle ourselves in the face of those challenges will define us as athletes and ultimately determine our success. It’s easy to give up or avoid coming in on the days that we know we will face things that challenge us, but that will not temper our mental and physical steel into a strong sword.
Another definition of a hero I read was “anyone who overcomes a major obstacle and sacrifices his or herself for the betterment or safety of another.” We see this oftentimes at CrossFit competitions involving teams or partners. Many of you weren’t yet members of our gym, but the first time we competed at Regionals in 2011, our very own Nick Gutierrez tore his hands to shreds early on in team WOD during 100 pull-ups. He still finished them out, and then went on to swing a kettle bell as part of the team for another 100 reps.
The definition of a hero doesn’t really matter to me as much as how it motivates us to behave. I can guarantee that everyone in our community has another person at our gym that they idolize or wish they could be more like, and maybe not just for athletic reasons. As much as you may look around and be intimidated by all the awesome athletes, you may be surprised to know that there is probably someone looking up to you. No matter our ability level, I believe as much as every person is looking up to the personification of their goals, so too is someone looking up to them.
The path to become the person we most idolize and also become a role model to others is in ‘the quest’. I’ve recently decided for myself that if there is a movement that I struggle with or I see as a weakness, I will turn into one of my greatest strengths. Two excellent examples for me are muscle-ups and pistols. Sure I can do them when I need to, but it is a constant battle and I definitely struggle with them. As much as they challenge me to become efficient at, I look forward to every time they appear in a WOD as another opportunity to test myself at something I need to really work on.
If you specifically concentrate on movements that challenge you rather than ignoring them, in time they could become your greatest strengths instead of something to dread. Think of how great it would be for people to know you as an expert in a movement that at one time was something you never thought you’d be able to do even once! Who better to share their experience and pass their knowledge of a movement than someone who struggled against every obstacle in their way to overcome it?
With Regionals headed our way this weekend and Memorial Day Murph just around the corner, it’s time to assess ourselves, rally around each other, strengthen our community, and set our sights on the next level. Let’s all take the following weeks to build each other up, take on a new challenge, and set on a path to conquer something we currently struggle with.
Who do you look up to at the gym? What movements or goals are you going to go on record to our community as ones you are committed to conquering? Post to comments and I’ll see you all at Regionals!