Put Me In

Every Tuesday night is 'Opening Night' around these parts. You have a role; you just don't know your lines yet.

Hovering over the F5 key, you scroll between facebook, the Games site, and CrossFit.com, racing to see which will pop up first. Already competing. Desiring that one-second edge…or just wanting the waiting to end, because if you've learned anything from CrossFit, it's that anticipation is worse than the event. "10,9,8…." is the end of the world. "1,2,3…": that's much better, because now you're feeling the bar instead of your lunch.

The Games WOD, each week, doesn't require perfection. No matter how much you train, prepare, and visualize, nothing ever works like the checklist in your brain. What it DOES demand is full engagement. Commitment, right down to your toes. That, friends, is the scary part.

When you go onstage, you're being watched. People will bear witness. They'll want you to succeed – their hands will hover in mid-clap, and they'll lean forward, straining their neck to catch your last burpee – but they'll know if you fail. Most people can't handle that. The vast majority of your friends won't ever take that risk.

You will.

'Comfortable with uncomfortable' is what we're all about. Just like a nineteen-year-old with red hair and pale Ontario skin, forced onto a Karaoke stage as part of a job initiation in another country. I wasn't prodded up there with the rest of the Interns to be embarrassed; I was ordered to "get over myself." I did.

Some see the WOD and tap out. They're not scared that they may drop the bar on their head, or bang their shins on the burpee rig. They're terrified that someone will know. They worry that maybe, tomorrow, they'll read a headline that says, "Amber:Not Good Enough?" with the byline: "Tries hard, can't do 30 burpees…" They dread the interview on Dr. Phil: "Tell us, Jasmine, how we can all learn to trust you again, after you dropped the bar on your sixth rep…."

They get halfway through the tunnel and despair. "I'll pace myself this week, and hope for a max deadlift next Tuesday."  "This is good enough, right here.  I'll just set up camp and wait for next week." Or next year. 

Not me. Me, I'm going to go down on fire. Flags waving. Bells ringing. Arms swinging wildly. False grip. I'm going to channel Ray on the burpees; Josh on the overhead squats; and Mitch on the muscle-ups.

I may not get 10 muscle-ups today. But I'm going to beat 11.4 like a rented mule, and see just how far I can push that sucker. Not because I'm brave, but because it scares the hell out of me. My ego will be satisfied not at the finish, but at the start. If I can make it to the starting line, I've won the race.

Now get out there and sing.