If circumstances took your limbs, your sight, your hearing...what would you do?

By Michael Maina

We were tremendously fortunate to participate in the 2014 Working Wounded Games in Vienna, VA this month.  CrossFit hosts some really incredible events around the country, but nothing has inspired me more than the Working Wounded Games. There were so many athletes participating this year, from disabled veterans and active duty military personnel, to those who simply want to compete to honor the spirit of the games.  It was truly a humbling experience. 

The Working Wounded community literally made it possible for us to be there this year. They had coaches, guides, and just about everybody jumping in to help Corey Reed with the WODs. The "Heart of a Champion" athlete brings out the "Heart of a Community" every time.  They continue to remind us of humility, grit, and perseverance.
As a country we could learn so much from these soldiers and athletes, and we gratefully say, "Thank you for

your courage!"

Athlete ZacK Ruhl

Athlete ZacK Ruhl

 

We were surrounded by veterans with lost limbs who have already scarified so much, now at the Games laying
it down for us again, lifting, rowing, and pulling a sled. It was a demonstration of the "true grit" that may have helped them on the battlefield. They are survivors that were actively teaching the crowd transformational skills through their actions, leading by example...personifying the human spirit of "what is possible" regardless of circumstance.

The crowd literary roared as every competitor completed their event and crossed the finish line. I would venture to say, in those moments, anyone in the crowd would have jumped in to help the athletes pull their sled those last 3 feet to cross the line. They would have lunged under the Atlas Stone to help lift it. They would have risked it because the human spirit of these adaptive athletes literally transforms you.

Athlete Luke Ericson

Athlete Luke Ericson

When Corey Reed started the Atlas Stone and Kettle Bell Swing event, the crowd was totally pumped. He moved through the progression one weight level at a time with the last stone being 180 pounds, basically his own body weight.  Every time he table topped a stone the crowd cheered so loudly you couldn't hear anything but the noise.  It was exhilarating!  However, not being able to see where he was or hear what was going on made it difficult
for Corey to determine how close he was, nearly inches, from placing the final 180 pounds on the table.
We all agreed, if Corey could only "see" how close he was, he would have tabled the stone as he had done the night before. 

Regardless of any achievement in any given situation, what is most astonishing is the fact that Corey Reed is the only "blind" amputee athlete to compete in the games to date.  Blind being the infinitive word.  The tragedy here is, because music is played at such a loud level at these athletic events, the sound literally strips away almost every ability for Corey to communicate. Corey's ears are how he sees. When you remove his hearing as well, it becomes almost impossible for him to function. He takes it in stride though, a true champion, and we hope to bring about a better awareness next year. 

Athlete Corey Reed

Athlete Corey Reed

Watching my best friend compete this year taught me more about his iron will, why he lives up to the "Heart of a Champion" mindset, no matter what you take away from him...his sight, his leg, or his ability to hear. Take it all and he will come back...stronger, faster, healthier. He will speak to our youth about his accident to inspire them.  He will lift an Atlas Stone with what strength he has left to motivate you.  He will climb a rock wall to give someone like young William the belief that he, too, can one day do it. 

 

If circumstances took your limbs, your sight,
your hearing...what would you do?

I know what I would do...

I'd Ride With Core.