September 4, 2017

Making the impossible possible

So it was about a month ago I posted my thoughts about why CrossFitters need goals. I put some stretch goals on there for myself to keep it real but I left one off that if I am being honest, thought I had no chance of getting. That goal is the holy grail of gymnastic movement to a CrossFitter...

The elusive Ring Muscle-Up. 

The ring muscle-up is a “basic" gymnastic skill where you execute a pull-up followed by a transition directly into a dip. In order to pull this off you need a strong false grip, a high pull to have a smooth transition, and keep the rings close to your body. Sounds easy enough right? Not so much...

Because of it’s difficulty most gyms don’t program muscle-ups other than for skill practice and even then it’s rare. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a programming standpoint when I joined Mentality a month ago but you have to give Scott Panchik credit. He programs rope climbs and muscles-ups basically every week. I got over being a little b*tch about rope climbs almost immediately but that is a far cry from doing muscle-ups.

I showed up for class a week ago and muscle-ups were in the first WOD. I was minding my own business practicing my false grip and preparing to scale with ring rows and dips when the coach of the day, Saxon came over and asked if I could do muscle-ups. I laughed and said "No”. He told me to go stand by the rings and he would help me get one today. Now I love this dudes enthusiasm but I thought to myself “I wish I could be young and naive again. No way I am getting on top of those rings without a step ladder and even then it is questionable.” 

About 5 mins later this happened...



Let’s forget the muscle-up for a minute and focus on Saxon. He has that same look that every Browns QB gets when they score a TD but can’t believe the play actually worked. I’m guessing these are the things that were possibly going through his mind at that very moment.

1. “Holy sh*t. I hope he doesn’t break his hip coming down.” 
2. “I’m glad I asked Christin to get her camera cause this is like seeing Bigfoot fly an airplane.”
3. “He better not write a blog about this...”

Ok...Back to the muscle-up. Being on top of those rings was a surreal feeling. First of all it felt like the entire gym was looking at me and as much as I like the spotlight, I was humbled. Scott was cheering from across the gym and his wife Christin was taking pics. All I could think was “Please 8lb, 6oz. Baby Jesus let me get down from here without looking like a total tool.” It hadn’t occurred to me before I made the attempt that anyone noticed what we were doing over there. When I made it, I was also so shocked I wasn’t sure what to do next. I dropped down and Saxon told me to “ring the bell”. I had no idea but apparently the gym has a bell that you ring for PR’s. Getting to ring that PR bell was about the coolest thing I have gotten to do in some time and left me on a high for a couple of days...

It’s funny but it feels like every day I step into the gym lately the coaches have a way of making the impossible seem possible. Not by making me do things I didn’t think I could although obviously that sometimes happens. They do it by encouraging me to try. It’s not just me though. I see it in the faces of the other members almost every day I am there. It's a big part of what makes Mentality special and I suspect one of the many things the community loves about the gym...

As for me, I am finding this experience to be incredibly valuable to my growth both as a CrossFitter and as someone who needs to continue to evolve. I'm trying to take these lessons away and apply them in my everyday life. The lessons I picked up from this event are:

1. Try new things and when someone offers to help you then let them. It doesn’t matter if you think they are nuts.
2. Don’t be afraid to fail even if everyone is watching.
3. Celebrate success regardless if you planned for it to happen.

Next big “impossible” goal: Handstand walks (get ready Saxon)

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