Heart of a Champion

by Michael Maina

The most intense fitness training I have ever seen was quickly turning into a three-month race against time to learn Olympic lifting, build muscle, and mind-map the movements as a blind amputee. Corey Reed was in the ultimate challenge of his life. It was a tight three-month schedule, as Corey Reed, who had never done CrossFit, prepared for a national competition that would take place in another State. With the fact that he was blind and couldn't see what he was doing, some of us (friends, family, and the entire RWC team) were really wondering if this was even possible. If you're throwing over a hundred-pound weight overhead, you better know where that bar is going to land. He couldn't see the bar! That's what makes Corey Reed special. He just believes he can. But this journey would bring Corey to a place of absolute physical exhaustion. None of us at RWC had done any competitive CrossFit, so we didn't know what we didn't know.

As Corey Reed's friend and business partner at Ride With Core, my job was to film it all, to follow Corey through the twists and turns of this wild RIDE. A few weeks in to training, his hands were bleeding and he looked like he was losing what little weight he had. All I could think about was that we were running out of time. Quitting wasn't an option. CrossFit Los Angeles - Coach Kenny Kane told Corey straight up, "If you get tired and no show or start complaining, we are done." Kenny didn't want to treat Corey special. We didn't know if he meant it, but Corey didn't want to find out either. So many things could go wrong.  Weights all over the floor he could trip on while loading the bar, just finding the nearlings was difficult. Can't see the box he's jumping on or the wall balls that are part of CrossFit. Locating jump ropes, water, bar clamps, the right weight on the bar.  All for time? Didn't matter to Corey, he just started and wouldn't quit. No excuses! It's humbling to watch someone do what you seriously doubt possible for yourself. Inspiring? It goes way beyond that. As we started filming the documentary series, things just evolved.

As I got to know Corey and we became close friends, I had to dig deeper to find out why he did these things. Soaked with water and ice by Navy Seals at SealFit 20x. Climbing a 1000 foot vertical wall in Yosemite. WHY? It became a quest to find out what drove him. How he fought through the doubt, danger and unknown. We all know he does this stuff. The question I wanted answered is, why? That's when the series started to develop. Any one of us right now could close our eyes and walk across a room we know well. You would still hope not to hit anything. You could start heading to the wrong side of the room or get to the other side before you thought you would. Now, try being pulled on the back of a boat on a wakeboard with debris in the water and  choppy unpredictable wakes and boats coming in too close on a holiday weekend. Or maybe a bull horn in your face with water hitting you from all sides, like at SealFit. Or like in the "Heart of a Champion" documentary, the sound on the floor was deafening. So take away your sight and sound and start sprinting in a place you've never been. That's Corey Reed, that's a faith we all want to experience.

I will keep filming and telling his story, until the whole world knows what it takes to live by this kind of faith, myself included. On the rock wall in Yosemite, I kept thinking he has to follow  me up this route and he has to somehow find every handhold, keep from getting frustrated and not lose energy while struggling for a hold. And take away his sound there, too, because the wind took away our ability to communicate. So he was basically alone, blind on a rock wall, unable to hear us for a long time while we had to just let him sort it out. At this point, he's like my brother. I worry about everything we do. He's taught me about faith and courage by example. He never asked me to do any of this stuff. Your brother goes, you go. I guess that's what makes it like family. The Ride With Core family!


Learn more about the RWC documentary series at ridewithcore.com!

Source: ridewithcore.com