Next Time You Think Your Workout or Life Is Hard...
You have no right to bitch. Your sore hamstrings and screaming core are artifacts of high intensity compound movement, enabled by firm contact with Mother Earth and the primate’s gift of an opposable thumb. The very fact that your arms feel like lead and your legs like the business end of a propane torch is a gift of inclusion, given only because you have legs and arms to hurt.
The men of the Warrior Transition Battalion at Brooke Army Medical Center don’t know your pain. They brought guns to a bomb fight, and came home with fewer limbs than they packed, blown apart by the cowardice of other men.
Their pain is worse, one of exclusion, borne of wheelchairs and ramps, endless hours of physical therapy and prosthetic fittings, hobbled by the incessant need for painkillers. You will never know the agony that they’ve endured, first physically mangled, and then pitied, seen as victims of a botched War.
Luckily, they don’t share the viewpoint. An even twenty, enabled by the efforts of a young Lieutenant, are pursuing rehabilitation with revenge.
These men came to Alamo CrossFit to learn the tenets of CrossFit, supported by a crackerjack crew of trainers and an unrelenting need to go beyond the bounds of traditional recovery.
Placed in an environment where pity was gone and intensity was the only goal, I watched men do handstand pushups, femurs balanced against their wheelchairs, no feet weighing them down. I watched a Marine pull himself up a gymnastics ring, ripping as hard as he could while an unwieldy leg brace fought his every effort. I watched a man with no patella tendon sit into a full-depth squat, and a man with no legs clean a medicine ball from the ground.
These men, broken in body, were impossible to stop. The pain that we could inflict—jackhammering hearts, mental torment, and burning muscles—paled in comparison to the months of adversity that led them to our doorstep. They deadlifted and squatted, ran and pressed, displaying a fortitude far beyond our capacity to keep up.
Every moment hammered home a single point: You’ll be fine.
Remember that the pain is a gift, and men have overcome far worse. When your training results in injury, remember that there are those whose injuries dwarf yours by degrees of magnitude, men who would kill for the right to feel a strained Achilles or a jammed thumb. They will not quit regardless of the odds, and you will not disgrace their example.
The next time your muscles protest or you feel a callus give way, be thankful for the feeling, and the comparative ease with which you train every day. Be thankful for the gift that is your body, and the pain that it brings.
In Northern Texas, there are twenty men battling to reclaim lost capacity, showing the world that injury is not an endpoint, that sacrifice does not end in martyrdom. Their courage is physical and mental, and their lesson is one that will serve far beyond their lifetimes.
Their pain is unimaginable, but their message is easily understood: the struggle to become a better human being ends only in death. Don’t let them down.
Someone else who never stops. Someone else who never gives up, who always pushes the envelope, humbles us and inspires us. Monty, you are a true warrior yourself!