When I signed up for my first Jiu Jitsu competition I had a clear game plan in mind, get double gold, win the Gi and tell Sandman to suck it. Even to this day that sounds like a better plan then what actually happened, instead of plan A, I tore my own hamstring in the first ten seconds of my first fight. My ego needs me to tell you that I won that fight but lost the next by decision. Silver is not bad with one hamstring. By far the toughest part was making the adult decision to not continue on into the other division and potentially make the injury worse. As Mike Tyson said “everyone has a plan until they get hit.” In most of our cases we are not getting hit by another person, or by a tatami mat, but life has a way of back handing us and throwing a curve ball into our best made plans.
As this is written I am three weeks out from that injury and to be honest with you it is healing well. Physically I am on track and have not missed a WOD though they have all been heavily modified. The best modification so far has been a 5 km walk instead of a 5km run. The real fight for me has not been physical it has been on the emotional and mental side. I get that it could have been worse, I could have hurt my knee or even ruptured my hamstring. A ruptured hamstring would have required surgery. Intellectually I understand that it will make me a better coach as I can now empathize with athletes going through the same thing, I’ve also discovered some great scales (ask me how I did Fight Gone Bad). I even get how I will be a better athlete for having gone through this. I am working on some pressing and pistols on my weak leg. All of this knowledge does not make it better in those moments that I choose to feel sorry for myself. For anyone who has been here you can relate. All the knowledge and positive thinking in the world can’t help in those low moments. As you shake out your leg for 10 mins so it does not collapse on you as you walk to coach the 5 am class it is hard to be positive. Think of whatever your equivalent to this is. Sorry that you are dealing with this, you will get past it, and be stronger from the experience.
Does being injured suck? I would say overwhelmingly yes, but the real question that you could ask yourself is “Does feeling sorry for myself make it better?” Over the past few weeks I have sat with this question. Sometimes I wish it never happened or that it could have been different. What gets me out of this funk is when I realize what is done is done and I don’t have any control over it now. The cool part when you let go of what is out of your control is the realization of all the things you can control.
The most control you have post injury is the energy and attitude you bring to the gym/ life. You can say it sucks that you can’t Rx or you can’t do what you could before, or you can say it sucks you can’t RX yet or can’t yet do all you could before. Another and possibly clearer reframe may be how will you play the game? Some of the most fun I have had over the last few weeks is watching the healing process (I’m trying hard not do anything stupid), and figuring out ways to make the WODs work for my body. The coolest part is when you find a scale that is super close to the actual WOD that also leaves your body feeling better. Being playful and open to experimenting has kept me sane over the last few weeks. It has also helped me be engaged and present during my workouts.
This is the tale of one hamstring, of one crossfit coach, but regardless of what your obstacle is you have two choices: look at it as an obstacle or as an opportunity. Will you be better because of the hiccups on the journey or will you let the bumps in the road derail you? It will be hard but you have all you need to come out on the other side a little better.
Next time it will be double gold, a Gi, and telling Sandman to suck it. This time it just did not happen that way. How will you play the game to come out better on the other side?