2/5/16 - The Most Dangerous Thing on Earth
Controversial founder and CEO of CrossFit once rebutted the notion that functional group exercise at intensity is dangerous with a quote that stayed with me. “Those claims are unsubstantial,” he said, “Not unsubstantiated, but unsubstantial.” There’s nothing there.
In fact, I’d propose that we could go down an endless wormhole on a much lesser discussed phenomenon like the question, “Why do humans want so badly to believe that this is dangerous?” People want that so badly. It’s odd and confusing. If you care to think about it for a second, it becomes telling.
People are scared. That much is true. Like I’ve said before, if we make things that make us uneasy wrong then we can justifiably forfeit our responsibility for them.
In the past eighteen months, I’ve observed not only the above concerns to be untrue, I’ve observed the exact opposite to be true. Friend and fellow DEUCE Gym athlete, Sal, completely tore his Achilles in a celebrity basketball game. The recovery is notoriously ruthless, arguably the worst of all acute athletic injuries. Given that we are so close, I spent countless instances of being a third wheel to run ins with his friends and acquaintances. The obvious elephant in the room was his crutches. The usual twenty-one questions would result in common reactions where men and women couldn’t conceal their disappointment that his injury occurred while playing a friendly game of basketball rather than their first guess partaking in his other hobby they know he loves; CrossFit. They expected and subconsciously wanted it to be that. Meanwhile Sal returned to surfing on our trip to Fiji months ahead of schedule with a ubiquitous position from doctors of amazement at his fitness’ ability to facilitate healing.
Not three months earlier I was visiting Scott Pellegrino who, with a fresh DEUCE Gym tattoo, was cut off by a large SUV on PCH while doing 60MPH on his motorcycle. The Escalade that pulled in front of him was a death sentence. His collision didn’t send him flying. Rather, he struck and stuck with the SUV resulting in catastrophic injury. After being airlifted off of the coast highway, I was sitting at his hospital bedside and not his casket because, as his surgeons put it, his “physical fitness created a miracle that saved his life.” Less strength, more funeral.
A month prior to Scott’s accident our brother gym in Torrance, DEUCE Athletics, had a player then with the Philadelphia Phillies Major League Baseball team have emergency heart surgery. Known for his work capacity in the gym, his doctors gave him a chance to play again after a stereotypically career ending operation because of his exceptional fitness.
Though I realize that I’m draining nothing-but-net three pointers in the face of cowardly propaganda and excuses to avoid basic training, I’m not done. Just ten days ago, a friend and student at the gym joined us for lunch. Upon arrival, he shared a story about his surf session earlier in the day. Coming up from under the surface behind a wave, he hit his head on another rider’s board. The story was partly focused on his blury, shaken state, but mostly on the weird turf war-like argument he had following impact with the other guy. Flash forward two days, our man is in the doctor’s office hearing for the first time that his neck was fractured. The confused doctor ensured him that his strength and stability in his shoulders and upper back prevented them from having a “different kind of broken neck conversation.”
Keep in mind that these are just examples from one gym community in less that two years that live at the forefront of my mind. In the meantime, I’ll keep my microscope handy to look for these horror stories in the gym that so many speak of. While I’m looking, consider how ridiculous you sound when you tell me (or anyone else for that matter) about how dangerous fitness is. If you ask me, all signs point to the idea that most dangerous thing on Earth is actually being unfit for survival.
Then, complete five rounds with a partner for time:
Partner A: 500m Row
Partner B: Rest