Tuesday, March 9, 2010


This last weekend, I went to Columbus, Ohio to compete in the CrossFit Games Sectionals. If you’re not sure what CrossFit is, look it up. It’s intense. And hard. And takes a lot of work and sweat and sometimes, blood. It is the single greatest fitness program I have ever been involved with. I wish that I had discovered this seven years ago before the injuries starting piling up. I can only imagine where I’d be had I learned proper technique. But I digress.

So, I went to compete this last weekend. Now, I’m a competitive guy. I mean, really competitive. I hate losing, loathe it with a passion. Once upon a time, I was not a good loser either. I wasn’t gracious in the least in defeat. Nor was I very gracious in winning at times either. I tended to run my mouth entirely too much. However, this is one of the things I love about CrossFit. Just as you are feeling good about yourself, you get humbled by a soul-crushing workout and the girl in the gym with you just smokes your time. And you’re humbled.

It’s funny to me as I look back over my life and how God has begun to teach me humility. He’s not always gentle about it and uses some very strange ways to do it. For example, my knees. To tell you how bad my knees hurt sometimes is sorta laughable. I mean, hurt. But, if my knees didn’t hurt and my shoulders weren’t a little jacked up, I might not have a lot of physical limits and then I really would be full of myself, cause I’d be able to do things that I could point at. Make sense?

Anyways, back to the weekend. I got to go into that event, knowing I wasn’t going to win it but craving the competition. To test myself. See if I still had something at almost 37 years of age. And it turned out to be really, really physically challenging. Not to mention a mental exercise and emotional struggle. See, when you get that tired physically, it becomes a mental exercise. You have to push yourself to limits that you’re not really very comfortable with.

And then go beyond it.

That’s where it becomes mental. You have to be willing to push yourself beyond that physical barrier. You have to be able to keep going when your body says, ‘Dude, you’re done’. You gotta strap up mentally and refuse to surrender. If you’ve never been there, you think I’m crazy right about now and shame on you. You will never know your limits if you are unwilling to drive right through them. If you have, good for you! And this is where it begins to become emotional as well. You will be so drained, your emotions become cracked. Seriously.

I have to be honest, I don’t trust people who aren’t sold out to something. I don’t trust people who don’t live with utter abandon about something. There has to be something that fuels you, something that drives you to be more, something you are willing to go all the way for, sell out for. Maybe even die for.

Have you never been there? Have you found that thing, that cause, that person? If not, you don’t know what you’re missing. I’m very serious about this and I know some of you will think I’m a little (or a lot) nuts.

Anyway, back to the weekend. It was a blast! It was very hard. Three hard and fast workouts. I was in there competing with dudes that were, on average, ten years younger than me. And it was a riot! Several of them began to talk to me, asking me how old I was. When they found out, several of them started calling me Pops. It was great! We laughed and hung out together, sweated and screamed together doing those workouts. What a great weekend! What community!

It was wonderful to be in a group of people, a community of people who were just as dedicated as I am to something. We have all drank the kool-aid, as the saying goes. A lot of other people think enjoying that kind of pain is nuts. And maybe it is but what’s the point of being alive and healthy if we’re not going to challenge ourselves a little?

I reflect back on that and I’m kinda sad in a way. I already miss my new friends. I miss those young guys calling me Pops and laughing with me.

What I’m really sad about is that we who call ourselves Christ followers don’t share that sense of community with each other. When did we lose that? Where did we lose it? How do we get it back?

Through shared experience, life together. We have to go there with each other, be willing to take it to the limit with and for each other. I think that’s what Christ modeled with his disciples. Think about it seriously. Christ modeled community for us. He and His disciples lived, laughed, cried and, in some cases, died together. Why?

Because they all believed in something, in Someone. They all drank the kool-aid, right? They were the real crazies, willing to take it to the limit every day, even if they failed. And I dig that!

Because they believed in Someone greater than themselves. Because they took it seriously when Jesus said that you will never have greater love than to lay down your life for another.

So, why aren’t we pouring ourselves out for something, Someone? Get up off the couch and stop coasting through life and invest yourself in something greater than you!


  1. Another great story!
    I am not sure if our family competitive spirit is just by chance or genetic. I don't really see my dad that way, (or my mom) but Derrick and I (and clearly, you) hate to lose. Zion has the gene as well. Recently he competed in a county wide church sports event called AWANA games. Except for Zion, most of the kids were picking their noses and waving at their parents in the stands. There are 10 events, and his team came in last on almost every event. They were not ready for the event. Afterwards, Zion was really upset. I tried to pretend like I didn't know what was bugging him as I said, "What's wrong buddy?"
    "We came in LAST!" he said, clearly ticked.
    I tried the, "you did your best" speech
    and he looks at me with eyes that could kill and said, "That's STUPID!"
    I almost laughed, but was shocked as well, and then thought about it on the way home. It really doesn't make me feel better to think that I did my very best, and my best was inferior. In fact, I would rather someone say, "You know what, you had a bad day, and next time - you'll kick it"

    Had I taught him poor sportmanship?

    Had I thrown my glove in the back of the van after a crushing church softball game?

    Maybe I need to work on being more humble.

    er.......more like Jesus.

  2. I tell you what, Jesus has been teaching me alot about humility. I still hate to lose but He is teaching me to at least be humble about it.

  3. Great post. I'm not incredibly competitive, but I do like to win. My problem is I don't even try thinking I'm not good enough anyway. Yeah, i have issues. Don't we all? But please don't go keeping the nickname Pops. I'm only a year younger than you and have no desire to be called grams. :)

  4. Thought provoking! Makes me think about my passions, or what I would die for...not sure that I know that, but reading this makes me want to figure it out.