60 Day Challenge

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I started the 6 week challenge at Crossfit Unbreakable​ this morning. I like how various elements of the workouts scale down so you can start about anywhere and move forward. And of course since I told Coach Jim my first CF goal, he gave me an extra workout to do 4 days a week… can’t say I didn’t ask for it!

I also met some new people and tried saying their names several times to remember them… and so I’ll write them down here for when I forget…

Todd. The guy who’s newer to CF than me but can probably kick my butt on anything involving a bar.

…Drat, I already forgot the other ones. And I’ve also noticed I forget how to count the more tired I am… which is not good when you’re counting to 30 over, and over, and over again.

Today’s WOD:

  • 30 Air squats
  • 30 ab-mat situps
  • 30 pushups
  • 30 box overs

I made it through one round and 65 of the second round, doing my pushups on my knees because I’m just not there yet… but I wll be.

Also did 50 reps training for pullups:

  • 10/10/5 ring things
  • 10/10/5 bar things

 

My first Crossfit Goal is…

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… to do two or more unassisted pull-ups or chin-ups, whichever is easiest, within the first 6 weeks of my Crossfit Experience. If I find I progress faster than I expect, I’ll revise this goal to add more reps or get both exercises going.

This was an exercise that I could never do as a kid during gym class or on that day when all the kids took The President’s Challenge. It discouraged me, embarrassed me, and gave me another thing to give up and not try again until many years later.

A few years ago while working out at home I was able to get my chin above the bar a time or two and it thrilled every part of me. It didn’t last too long, though, and when I saw both chinups and pullups on the WOD today at Crossfit Unbreakable, my heart didn’t sink like it has before. Well, ok, it did a little, but I decided then and there not to live in that. I may only get one one (instead of the 64 that were on the board?) or maybe I won’t even get any, but I’ll give it my best.

I didn’t get a single unassisted one done. In fact, I could barely do it with the tightest band they had helping me. But through that I gave it all I had, held nothing back, and tried each set. There were at least 3 people that helped, encouraged, and kept me from flipping over on my back when my foot got caught in the band. I walked away a success and with my first real goal.

Feeling Strong

There’s a quote from Into the Wild, the story of Christopher McCandless that I really like:

“It is important in life not to be strong, but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once. If you want something in life, reach out and grab it.”

I’ve watched the Crossfit “phenomenon” for quite a while over the last years. The first Crossfitter I met was a guy from a men’s retreat I went to whose story would knock your socks off (even if you’re wearing those knee-high’s they so often wear at a Crossfit “box”). As I watched him and others talk of the community they’d found in it, I related that to my own experience of community at the Daily Audio Bible.

crossfit unbreakableI’ve tried to accomplish many things alone in life, and one that has never worked well for me is growing in strength – not just the ability to lift more weight today than I did yesterday, but knowing my limits, pushing them, setting goals, and growing. Frankly, it’s been frustrating for years.

What I did today is no magic bullet, and it may not even be a good fit for me after the month and a half I signed on for, who knows. But what I did do is do something I’ve wanted in life – I joined a community of people set on finding their limits, pushing through them, and doing all of that, together.

My arms and chest ache tonight, and when my friend Keith texted me asking if he’d see me again tomorrow, I could think of quite a few reasons to rest up for a day… but I could think of even MORE reasons to simply show up again, because not only did I have a blast, but even this first day, I did things I didn’t know I could.

Two Hits and a Quit

My son’s first year of Minor League Baseball has just ended. Not the grownup minor leagues of course, the kid version, which is those two years of baseball in between years of coaches tossing you the best pitch they can and those “naturals” hurling 50mph balls down your throat once you reach “The Majors.” They wrapped up the season with a win before the tournament and a decent game in their first tournament game, but all is now done.

Watching my son and his friends play baseball is such an adventure. There’s the boys and their skills, some of which appear almost natural, others are trying their best and improving every day, and there’s always a couple who just don’t want to be there. Then there’s the parents, the coaches, and that guy who’s complaining because he got too much cheese with his pretzel.

This year has brought back memories for me. Deep seated memories that either changed something in me or that were part of a season of change in me as a child. I have few memories of of my days as a 8-10 year old, but playing one – and just one – year of Minor baseball is one of them.

This is that story. Or at least a bit of it.

Two Hits and a Quit

 

My family had just moved to Plainfield. I was in 4th grade, and had never really played organized sports before. But here I was, living in a nice neat neighborhood with a back yard and a neighbor with a big field to play in. Kids everywhere. Friends to play with from down the street or across town from church. And so I found myself signed up for baseball.

I don’t remember much about my team – other than we had purple jerseys, and that I think I was number 7. Why I have that memory, I don’t know, but I do. I remember not being good, being rather fearful of the ball, maybe, just maybe, making a catch in the outfield. Those memories are faded and mostly gone, though.

What I do remember, though, are two hits and a quit.

The first hit, the good one, was that triple I got one time. I have no idea if it was a triple courtesy of errors on the other team or if it was a legit triple where I knocked the ball out into the outfield and made some other poor kid chase it down. But I remember it.

The other hit, the not-so-good one, was the one that came flying at me from a monster of a pitcher (he had to be a pro), that smacked me upside the arm and left my teary eyed and wondering how I’d ever make it to first base. I remember (eventually) being somewhat proud of the fact that I could see the stitches of the baseball in the bruise.

Beyond those memories, though, I don’t remember much more. Other than that I never played baseball again. For some reason, I quit. Was it because I was too scared? Parents pushed me too hard? Coach didn’t push me enough? I hated the color purple? Who knows… but what I do know is that I never played again. I quit. Two hits and a quit. And that was it.

Fast forward 30 years, and here’s my son, taking his first hit on a pitch (from me in the back yard), hurt and angry at me, and these memories come flooding back. “Don’t push him too far,” I tell myself. “Push him harder,” myself tells I. “There’s no reason to cry.” “Come here, son, I love you.”

How these boys even have a chance to develop a love for the game is a wonder to me. Sometimes it seems like the most “natural” athletes are the ones walking to the dug-out, head hanging, after that rare strikeout, knowing they’ve let their parents down and that they’ll take a scolding for it later. And the most excited boy is that one standing in right field, playing in the grass, who just happened to stop a ball by tripping over a dirt clod and falling in front of it.

It’s amazing.

Colton Night Baseball MinorsWill my son play baseball for the rest of his childhood? I have no idea. Is he growing in it, getting better, and having fun? I believe so. But the thing is, it’s not up to me. This isn’t a childhood memory I’m going to erase or “get right this time.” This is my son’s life, and while I love being part of his making memories, that’s a daunting task as a father. Because I DO want to see him succeed, and I want to succeed as his dad, too… and often “my success” hinges on his, or so it seems. But that’s not how it should be.

What will my son’s memories of baseball be when he’s grown, married, and raising a kid of his own (if life goes that way)? Who knows. I hope they’re good. I hope they’re of doing his best, making friends, catching a fly ball and hearing the world erupt in cheers, and knowing that if he does his best, he’s already succeeded. Those moments may not live with him forever, but they’ll do their part in preparing him for real life.

What an adventure we’re on, parents. What an opportunity we have.

I love you son. I’m proud of you. I love watching you play the game, grow in confidence and strength, and when I hear that bat WHOOSH through the air as you swing it with all you’ve got, please know that You Have What It Takes.

A word from Sam Walton

I heard this line from Sam Walton today on the radio.

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.

We hear alot nowadays about how “needy” these millennials are. How they feel so entitled, deserving, and “all that.” I’m sure those kids are out there, and I have no doubt there are plenty of them to go around.

Thankfully, I don’t think I have any working for me. Or ever really had.

I’ve had an intern working for C2IT for the last half a year or so and have had nothing but a good experience. Sure, it’s well-priced labor, but it comes at the cost of limited experience on both the technical and professional side. But that’s OK – there’s not a lot of “untraining” to do, and I like it.

Today my intern, Andrew, showed me his almost-final-copy of a web app he’s been building for our business. A few weeks ago, he was quite concerned about being able to get it done, about the complexities, and even about having the “opportunity” to continue his college career beyond his original plans. We’ve talked about whether writing code is his thing, and while I’m not pulling one way or another, I’ve seen sparks of many other qualities in this guy that I really like. Today topped the cake. The software works well, the changes left to be made not only made sense to him but were somewhat even suggested by him, and I’m rather proud of what product he’s produced myself.

Building a strong team has been a top priority of mine for years, but I’ll admit, it’s not one I’m all that great at. Thing is, though, it’s important. It needs to be done.

Good job, Andrew. You’ve done well. I’m proud of what you’ve made for us, and of you.

SamWalton-1936

 

Photo Credit: By Grey Wanderer at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia (Original Image)) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Cheap Grace

I started reading (listening) to The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer tonight as I ran the vacuum across the floor. I’ve started this a few times but never made it past around 15 minutes. It may not be the best book to listen to while I run (I’ll admit, it’s a little dry), but letting it soak in as I walked back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth across the living room was good tonight.

What caught my ear tonight was this line, about the “costly” gift of grace: “What has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.”

What has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.

How true is that? It’s so easy to trivialize, to minimize, and to economize grace. Like it’s something we’ll find around every corner, from any source that offers “life,” and whenever we feel we need it. While all of that is really true when we truly accept it from our Father, it’s not as cheap as we make it out to be.

This was a great reminder for me. A great reminder of how much I’m loved. What hast cost God much cannot be cheap… for me.

Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1987-074-16 / CC-BY-SA [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1987-074-16 / CC-BY-SA [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
I’m looking forward to the rest of this book. Here’s the quote from above in a little more of it’s context:

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Image Credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1987-074-16 / CC-BY-SA [CC BY-SA 3.0 de], via Wikimedia Commons

Plan good

This is a voice of truth I’m thankful for right now.

Do what’s right. Let the results follow.

Don’t those who plan evil go astray? Those who plan good receive loyalty and faithfulness.
There is profit in hard work, but mere talk leads to poverty.
Wealth is the crown of the wise, and the folly of fools is folly.

Proverbs 14:22-24