The kettlebell was big and heavy and I needed to swing it 30 times after my back squat session.
70 pounds, or what the Russians call “2 Pood.”
To make matters worse, the kettlebell had a ridge on the bottom of the handle. A freakin’ ridge. Big enough to bite into your hands and make an uncomfortable swing even more uncomfortable. It was one messed-up piece of iron.
I could have put it back in the equipment room, and picked the other 2-Pood kettlebell there. You know, the painful one without the ridge.
But I didn’t. I stayed with the ridge.
Because I’m stubborn or lazy or stupid or masochistic. Any and all of these answers will be graded as correct.
And I’m a CrossFitter.
A quirk deep down, some switch flipped, some line of madness stepped over. Even if we don’t do that many CrossFit workouts now, there’s this button always ready to be pressed.
- The Double Dare Me Button
- The I Can Take It Button
- The You So Freaking Don’t Even Know Button
It’s this thing inside us that is ready to burst out, like that alien in Sigourney Weaver’s chest in that movie all those years ago, except maybe with some bright sneakers and a shirt with a slightly unacceptable saying. And we kind of make weird screamy faces too.
We don’t just want the pain, we greet the pain, we accept the challenge, we accept the nasty turn of events. We almost kind of expect it.
We understand that sometimes things are bitter and dark and bite your hands. We figure better that this piece of iron bites us now while we can control this pain, while we can loosen our grip a little at the top of each upswing, in that somehow light and weightless moment before the swing reverses itself and gravity begins her cruel dance. In that moment, we can relax for a millisecond and get relief, just enough to let us last through the rest of the movement, through the bite, through the pain.
Maybe this is practice for life. Or maybe we’re just dense.
I finished my swings and walked the KB back into the equipment room.
“Oh, that’s the painful one,” a guy said. “We should file that ridge down.”
I nodded. “That’s a fantastic idea.”
Pain might be a metaphor, but if there’s a solution, sometimes you take it.
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