Be a Better Person
Our growth and evolution as human beings often begins with a shift in perspective. We get stuck if we view — or insist on viewing — life from limited angles. But often we can expand our understanding when we are willing to respect another’s experiences — and listen.
My perspective on Memorial Day “Murph” was challenged and broadened yesterday. During our annual “Murph” event at CFLA, I was changed for the better because Mark Semos put some things in perspective, from his perspective. As part of SEAL Team Five, he has seen and experienced things I never hope to, but I gained a deeper understanding because he has.
“Memorial Day is just another day to me,” he began. “Every day I wake up and think of my friends who have died next to me.”
Though he spoke in a near whisper, this set the tone for the twenty minutes of story telling that followed. He is admittedly very reserved, but he expertly wove in CFLA’s own context and philosophy of practice into the storytelling. “You need skill and heart to win anything. We practice the majority of time here at CFLA. CrossFit gyms don’t do that, but we do. To become a SEAL I practiced my skills for untold hours.” He illustrated that heart was up to us as individuals.
Thinking he would tie skill and heart into how we honor veterans as we do Murph, he told us we weren’t honoring anyone by doing a simple workout. He said, “You cannot hurt yourself enough working out to know what it’s like to be shot to death. Or what it feels like to lose a child in combat. You can’t destroy yourself enough to know what a wife goes through when she is handed a flag.”
You could hear a pin drop in the gym. Tears welled, goosebumps raised. We were hearing something new about a workout simply named “Murph”– something so authentic and true, we hung on to every word. Mark finished with this: “The way you can honor those who have died serving our country is to be a better person. Be a better person. When you apply your skills today and when you have to rely on your heart — because you will — this is what makes you a better person.”
The idea of congratulating ourselves after Murph became a flat second thought. The only thing that became important was doing our best and helping others who were suffering through the experience. We always do that at CFLA, but yesterday, this energy moved into new spaces that new perspective had created.
During the workout, I thought of my own grandfather who died just a year and a half ago. Grandad, a 1st Division Marine, landed on the shores of Iwo Jima at the age of 19. I thought of him as a bean-pole private — younger than my own daughter — landing in the middle of a fight so horrific, U.S. historians have called the battle like “throwing human flesh against reinforced concrete.” Over twenty-two thousand Americans suffered casualties including almost seven thousand dead during the island fight that only lasted just over a month. I thought about what my young, fierce grandad must have seen, his own heart and skill full throttle as he survived the odds. I then realized that I come from good stock; I have great “heart” genetics. And Mark was right, this workout held no footing in what I have handled and could handle if need be. The only thing left is to continue the pursuit of being that better person.
A) For quality load
20 Back squats
B) 3 RFQ
2 9yd Plate pushes
10 RKBS (32/24)
–1-3min Rest between rounds–
And Coming Wednesday
“The Farmer And The Annie”
*100m DB Farmer Carry (½ BW / ⅓ BW)