Brutal and Blissful

Published on Sat, 2014-03-15 06:00
Lisbeth Darsh

You must be stronger to get further, but you must also be smart in your efforts. Sounds a bit like life, right?


Brutal and blissful.

We usually don’t put those words together in our pleasure-seeking society, but we do in CrossFit. We’re different that way. And 14.3 is different that way—brutal and blissful.

Two movements as old as the hills: deadlifts and box jumps. (Or, in my case, step-ups.) Pick something up, put it down and then elevate yourself. Men and women have been doing this for ages.

As you progress in this workout, the weights get heavier. You must be stronger to get further, but you must also be smart in your efforts. Sounds a bit like life, right?

I did 14.3 in a quiet building in the early morning. Me, my judge and the sun coming up outside. There was no cheering crowd, just CrossFit and me, like in the beginning of this journey.

Old school. Like in the earlier days of CrossFit, when we first started meeting as athletes and affiliates, listening to songs like the Foo Fighters’ The Pretender (“Who are you?”) and slamming barbells in locations where our mothers would tell us not to drive to in the dark because, “It’s not safe, dear.”

There were no shiny Open broadcasts back then. The Games were still held in the dirt in Aromas, and we only had a couple of shirts that said “Mess You Up” and “Infidel.” Yet we had each other. Every person that joined our growing movement and was willing to go hard through the pain became our brother or sister.

I remember sitting at the 2009 CrossFit Affiliate Gathering when we played a video set to the song Let’s Start a Riot. I watched the crowd, and saw so many of them swallow hard and tear up—these tough, tattooed CrossFitters—because almost everyone there felt the same way:

“If you feel so filthy
So dirty, so fucked up
If you feel so walked on
So painful, so pissed off
You’re not the only one
Refusing to go down
You’re not the only one
So get up
Let’s start a riot …”

Now there are many of us, all over the world. The riot has spread—over 9,000 affiliates. Over 200,000 people signed up for the 2014 Open.

But, this morning, for 14.3, it was me, and the barbell and the box. And that’s all it had to be. Pick something up. Put it down. Raise yourself up. Bring yourself back to the Earth. Again and again, until time runs out on you.

Brutal and blissful. Old school. That was fun.


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