I’m sitting here on the deck of our rental house on the Cape getting amped up to write a blog post, which is in all seriousness as good as taking valium to me. These moments when I get to do this are few and far between on vacation because it’s hard to peel myself away from the kids and just trying to make the most of every second, every moment, we have down here. But, I think it makes me appreciate and value these few times I do get them even more.
Anyway, I sit down to start writing and I decide to check my email quick because that little square icon on the bottom left-hand quarter of my home screen on my phone is telling me, arguably yelling at me, that I have 64 unopened messages that need attending to.
One of them is an email from my father forwarding upwards of 30 of his friends and family an article that’s been written about Ben for the Boston Globe today. Some of you may actually remember seeing some photos and an article about a guy named Billy that came and hung out with us for a few hours one weekend to interview all of us for this very article.
Well, it surfaced about 10 hours ago (at the time I’m at this point of writing this post).
If you don’t happen to make your way to the actual article, it’s basically a lot of what a lot of us already know about Katrin’s story: she failed some legless rope climbs, they made her seek out Ben to coach her, and now she’s a two-time repeat champion at The CrossFit Games.
It’s very well written, and I am a HUGE fan of Billy’s, but I’ve heard the story so many times that it was more like me skimming the article than actually reading each word.
But, the thing that never gets old, for me at least, is the reminder of what Billy referred to as Ben’s “coachspeak, which is his natural speak”.
When you live with Ben, outside his work and/or coaching setting, you forget that that’s his language: coachspeak.
I think he tries to contain it sometimes, and tries to remember that at some point there is such a thing as “too many Rocky speeches”. But, the thing I also love about him is that it’s just who he is.
It’s a little bit like how I have to control myself and not just let every single thing that pops up in my brain to come out of my mouth, it’s just what he’s controlling is a whole lot more productive and useful in society than what I’m trying to control.
I do wish that more people could be here on this vacation with us, or even just more cameramen, to give everyone even just a glimpse of what we’re all getting to hear and be motivated by.
Having said all of that, it’s not just Ben who’s coming up with all of the motivating conversation. Every athlete, every cameraman, every member of our family…it’s just incredible.
We all hear the stories about how much athletes at this level “sacrifice”, even if they don’t consider it a sacrifice. But, I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding out there about just how much they give up on a daily basis to eliminate all doubt in their mind on game day about whether they’ve “done everything they could possibly do to prepare for The Games”.
I think a lot of people think about these athletes giving up alcohol, spending endless amounts of time in the gym, and using Normatecs and muscle stim to recover when they get home.
But, the “sacrifice” is so much harder and heavier than that.
It’s Cole leaving his wife at home alone for 2 weeks and FaceTiming her every chance he can so he can come out and be coached by Ben.
It’s Brooke leaving her twin sister and mother on her summer vacation from college and being away from home for the longest period of her life yet.
It’s Katrin bringing her plastic containers of her meticulously weighed out food everywhere she goes including our house for family dinners, fancy steak restaurants, and on a ferry on her day off to go visit Martha’s Vineyard.
It’s Cole skipping out on a fun rest day trip with the team to Martha’s Vineyard because he knows it would be better for him to spend the day stretching and rolling out his back because he tweaked it a few days prior.
It’s Kat and Brooke passing up on free tickets to one of their favorite country bands at Fenway Park because Ben suggested it wouldn’t optimize their performance to be in a car for a 3 hour roundtrip the night before a big training day.
It’s Katrin making a 3 hour round trip drive back to Natick to get soft tissue work done and get her Normatec so she can recover faster.
It’s Brooke being in the middle of a workout where people are watching and she’s competing against other athletes at a training session at CFNE, but being even more eager to stop rowing so she can actually listen to what Ben is telling her to do to improve her row technique.
It’s not the big, obvious “sacrifices”. It’s being willing to drop everything you have, all of your conveniences and things that “make sense” to the rest of the world…and, making the dozens of choices every day as you chase excellence. Even if it’s just 1 sentence, comprised of 5 words, that you can take from 1 training session with your coach who lives halfway across the country, in the hopes that those 5 words will be what your brain falls back on in one workout on the competition floor that might gain you one or two spots. But, it’s realizing that that’s what it takes to make it, and that if you just keep doing that consistently and stay committed to the process, all of those one or two spots will be just what you need…and, make all of those good choices worth the “sacrifices” that it took.
I wish everyone could see it, see how laser focused every single thing they do is on doing every single thing they can to get better. They are, literally, like these cyborgs robots that have landed here in this house together and the three of them cohabitating like this just makes them all even more dialed in. It’s like it normalizes their behavior so much that the things they thought they were being so strict about before, become somehow even more strict…but, it’s even more normal because everyone else is doing it.
But, there’s nothing “normal” about how they behave.