When I was in the 4th grade I tried out for basketball. I’d never played before. I don’t remember the drills we had to do but I do remember a vertical jump test because I remember my feet feeling like they barely left the ground. Long story short: I was told that I wouldn’t make the team. I couldn’t jump high enough.
I was always kind of uncoordinated growing up, mostly because my scrawny legs were at least 2/3s of my height. Maybe I could have played basketball and volleyball but it would have taken a lot of work. I didn’t have a passion around any of that so it’s just as well that I didn’t make the team. Having doors closed so quickly to sports sent me through other open doors that I still have with me today like drawing, painting, and a love of books.
But even with the new open doors the other side of the story is that for almost 25 years I’ve told myself over and over: I can’t jump. When I joined CrossFit a few months back I quickly found out about box jumps. Translation: jumping onto a box. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that and so every single time we have had box jumps in the workout I’ve said: I don’t have a box jump. And I would just do step-ups instead. Sometimes I would just stack a few plates and do small jumps. It felt like I was only jumping six inches in the air which only reiterated the story I’ve been telling myself: I can’t jump.
A few days ago I ventured through the snowy morning to the 8:30 class and there were only two of us that were able to show up, plus our coach Jama. When I used the “I don’t have a box jump” excuse again Jama stacked up a few plates that I could easily jump onto and I used those in the workout. Then slowly he kept adding just a little more height. It was easy to tackle. Then Jama pulled the wood box up to the plates…to show me that I had been jumping onto plates that were HIGHER than the box. The brain has way too much power to hold me back sometimes.
This is the video my 2nd jump…ever: (direct link here if it doesn’t show up)
I think I’ve watched that clip a total of 6,000 times because I still can’t believe it. And I’ve watched it a total of 6,000 times because I can’t believe that’s me. I even paused it to see how high my feet actually got and I more than clear the box, instead of jumping only 6 inches: I’m 6 inches above the box. Flashback just a few years to 2012 and Cisplatin chemotherapy…I never thought my bones and joints would ever recover from any of that. Now I’m jumping onto boxes.
I was excited when Boo asked if she could start CrossFit Kids this past summer. She was the only girl at first and I wasn’t sure how long it would last because she hasn’t found much enjoyment in other co-ed sports:
Another long story short: her bulletin board now includes puppies, ribbons, coloring pages of horses, and a picture of athlete Lauren Fisher:
My doctor asked me last winter if I was exercising. I told her: no, should I be? Of course the answer was yes, if I wanted to keep my heart strong. My friend Jodi asked if I wanted to join her one day to see what CrossFit was all about. I’d always been scared to, intimidated of what might lie beyond the door. But that first day was awesome, and everything was scaled right to where I needed it to. And everyone was so friendly and encouraging. I was hooked.
I think things happen to you in your life when you most need them. Sometimes I wish I had discovered CrossFit earlier but then maybe I wouldn’t have had the right coaches or found such an inclusive community to make me stick with it. And maybe Boo would have never had the opportunity to discover CrossFit for herself. It’s a cool feeling to be learning along side your kid. She gets to see the progression of her mother sticking it out and becoming braver and stronger by the day, and I get to see her grow up strong, confident and brave:
Boo loves this “Growing Up Strong” video:
Yesterday everyone had left our morning workout except for our two coaches Amy and Jama. I asked Amy if she’d spot me while I tried to do a handstand against the wall. I’d been afraid to try one up until then but the box jump gave me a little more courage. Amy showed me where to put my hands down and I took a deep breath before stepping back and flipping myself over. I did it on the first try and Amy said I could easily do it again on my own. And so I did…flipping myself up again and again onto the wall.
Today sitting around the house I’ve had the urge to just put my hands down and flip up onto the wall. And it’s funny to think that just yesterday morning I thought I couldn’t do it.
Fear can be paralyzing. Sometimes putting fear in its place requires a little boldness here and there because when you are bold: mighty forces will come to your aid.
I picked up a 5 cent book the other day…I’ve had a lot of luck with those recently:
Be Bold – that was no exhortation to be reckless or foolhardy. Boldness meant a deliberate decision, from time to time, to bite off more than you were sure you could chew. And there was nothing vague or mysterious about the mighty forces referred to. They were the latent powers that all of us possess: energy, skill, sound judgement, creative ideas – yes even physical strength and endurance in far greater measure than most of us realize. […] In other words, if you are bold enough, even the laws of motion will come to your aid. This personality trait – a willingness to put yourself in a position where you will have to extend yourself to the utmost – is not one that can be acquired overnight. But it can be taught to children and developed in adults. Confidence is a cumulative thing.
Confidence is a cumulative thing. Thank you Jama and Amy (CrossFit 2232) for teaching that…to me…and my kid. We are both growing up strong.
P.S. A big thanks to Terry Bradley @thunderbird_12 for all the amazing photography he does each week, often picking up the camera in between his own reps just to capture everyone else.