On May 2nd, 1968, Roy Benavidez was a staff sergeant with the Army’s 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam. Benavidez voluntarily boarded a helicopter to help fellow soldiers who were under fire from enemy forces. Staff Sergeant Benavidez endured numerous injuries from gunfire and grenade shrapnel to rescue the trapped soldiers. At one point, a rescue helicopter crashed after its pilot was mortally wounded. Staff Sergeant Benavidez assisted in gathering the wounded from the crashed helicopter and set up a defensive perimeter until help arrived. More helicopters arrived to carry the wounded soldiers away.
Staff Sergeant Benavidez remained on the ground fighting until he knew everyone else had boarded the helicopters, and even then he had to be pulled into the helicopter. Staff Sergeant Benavidez sustained a total of 37 separate bullet, bayonet, and shrapnel wounds, and was eventually awarded the Medal of Honor for his efforts that day. What’s even more astonishing is that just three years earlier, he had been wounded by a land mine and was told by doctors that he’d never walk again.
Benavidez worked every night against doctor’s orders while in the hospital, and over a year later, he walked out of the hospital with his wife by his side.
Now you’re probably wondering how this story relates to CrossFit. We have goals in CrossFit. At the start of the year, we write our goals on a wall inside the gym. One of my goals for 2015 is to make a rope climb, even if it’s just one. I know I’m capable of it, I just need to work on my technique and everything else will fall into place. However, if I throw in the towel and get frustrated and quit trying, my goal won’t be realized.
Staff Sergeant Benavidez could have easily thrown in the towel that day in May 1968, and he probably would have died in the jungle. His goal was to rescue and help bring home as many soldiers as possible, which he did. It’s far too easy sometimes to take the easy way out, but in doing so, we will never meet the goals we’ve set for ourselves. I recently had the privilege of cheering on a friend who was enduring a particularly tough WOD with a 25-minute time cap. It was obvious that the WOD had taken its toll, but even as the time cap passed, he continued on, with everyone else in the gym cheering him on until he had completed the WOD. Sure, he could have quit at any given time, but he didn’t. He endured the pain, pressed on and met his goal for the day (and got an RX for his efforts).
We’re setting ourselves up for failure by quitting, not just in our workouts but with life in general. If we quit when the going gets tough during a 20-minute AMRAP, what else might we quit at in our lives outside the box? Remember this quote: “Failure is not an option”. Don’t quit, and may your goals be realized through your hard work and dedication.