Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending The CrossFit Games regional qualifier as a spectator. It was an athletic competition of the fittest athletes in a five state region all pouring themselves into four events over two days. We marveled at the amazing speed and strength of the elite. We watched them hoist heavy loads over their head and race with 75 pound sandbags. We watched them push their bodies to the limit in 100 degree Texas heat. In the end, however, it wasn’t the winners that most inspired us, but rather the athletes that were humbled.
One event required the athletes to repeat a particularly heavy lift 10 times. The fittest athletes raced through this portion and continued to the next obstacle, but many struggled. For some the weight was just too much. They’d hoist the load off the ground, and with arms and legs shaking they’d fight with all they had to finish it, but back to the ground it fell. Again and again this happened. Minutes ticked by slowly as they stood with their weakness exposed determined to complete what they set out to do.
As time expired the crowd erupted in cheers and applause supporting the athletes who fought the hardest. We cheered because saw their heart. We clapped because we admired them. These are the athletes that inspired me. When they were over matched they gave it their all. When they were short on strength they never gave in. Although they may not have gained the physical strength to complete the lift that day, what they gained in character and heart is so much stronger.