Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘vet’

Sunday musings 11/8/15

Sunday musings…

1) Chignon. American Pharoah. Still.

2) Kindness. “The world breeds monsters, but kindness grows just as wild.” –Mary Karr

3) Varied. It’s quite amazing to me, after all these years, that there still exists such a misunderstanding about the difference between variability, randomness, and frequency when it comes to CrossFit WOD programming. People both laud and criticize a program for having too little or too much of any of the three. Worse than that, all too typically an evaluation of one particular program usually follows at most a week or two of evaluation and inspection.

Look for instance at CrossFit.com. For 15+ years now we have before us the sine qua non of CrossFit programming, a bright shining beacon to constantly varied functional movement. Major exercises come up regularly, but they are presented in a dizzying array of formats. Peripheral, ancillary movements come up in general programming seldom, if at all. There is a form and there is a pattern here: 3 on/1 off, with variability in load, duration, and complexity. There is a style here: for example, mono-structural strength is presented as a stand alone WOD. After as little as a month of study you should be well aware of what type of CrossFit programming will be found here.

So, too, should it be at a CrossFit Affiliate. Constantly varied should be just that, but programming in this manner does not preclude the inclusion of a “bias” in the training. Whether it be strength, endurance, or competency in gymnastic maneuvers, it is perfectly OK to express this sort of tendency. Indeed, it may be a way for an Affiliate to differentiate itself in the ever-crowded space the commercial version of CrossFit has become.

The point is this: it is pointless to make a statement about a particular version of CrossFit without examining it over many weeks. Once examined it is quite reasonable to state that the style of programming does not suit you, or does not fit your needs, but it is equally unreasonable to smear that programming because it does not match your personal desire regarding frequency or style. For example I find no use for WODs dedicated to movements seen in Strongman competitions, and yet you’ll not find me speaking poorly of either this type of programming or gyms that have this bias.

Heaven knows there are so many CF gyms in most locales that you should be able to find pretty much anything you need. If not, there’s always a return to our roots, a return to the days of the garage gym. You could do much worse than following Coach’s programming on CrossFit.com in your own little cave. Just remember, the proof of any program, at least a CrossFit program, is not in the process but in the results.

You can’t fake increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

4) Veteran’s Day. What do we owe the men and women who served our country? I guess more specifically, what do we owe those who served in a capacity in which their lives were threatened? This is a question that has meaning both as a society of citizens and also as a nation of individuals.

We will celebrate Veteran’s Day on Wednesday. I like to think that in my little corner of the world Clan bingo expresses a collective thanks in all walks of our lives. More importantly, though, is the fact that we all acknowledge that each of our service men and women had a uniquely personal experience, and we try very hard to respect that when we engage them as Veterans.

Perhaps it’s generational on the part of either the Vets or in general, but there is certainly a very different ethos surrounding each of the wars or conflicts they survived. This may say more about us, we who did not see conflict, than it does about them. My exposure as a physician to WWII, Korean, Viet Nam, and now Iraq/Afghanistan/Kuwait literally seems like 4 wholly different experiences. My reaction is simple and straightforward: I make no assumptions, and I offer goodwill and kindness.

One of my football coaches broke down and sobbed over what he’d seen and done in Viet Nam, and my Dad wouldn’t touch a gun, categorically refusing to speak about Korea. No matter. I, we, are indebted to both, and all who came before and after them. We are a stronger, richer society because men and women like them stepped forward and stood tall.

Happy Veteran’s Day to each of you who served, here chez CrossFit. Happy Veteran’s Day Cat. I owe you a call. Happy Veteran’s Day Pop. I owe you everything.

I’ll see you next week…


Veteran’s Day And Coach Cat

When I was a high school senior my football coach became my friend after the season had ended. Only 10 or 12 years my senior, Cat was still single and for the next 4 or 5 years we spent quite a bit of my at home time together. There are quite a few articles in the Veteran’s Day papers this morning, some of them about the difficulties encountered by our servicemen and women when they return from deployment; that’s gotten me to thinking about Coach Cat.

My friend Chris, Coach Cat, and I were having a couple (dozen) beers one summer night when out of nowhere Cat had a rather scary “flashback” to the jungles of Viet Nam. Turns out as a young 2Lt his squad got cut off from support and he was on his own, leading his men out of the jungle. I remember him sobbing that night, choking out “I can’t believe what I had to do, what I did to get us out.” Stunned, Chris and I gently steered him to bed at a buddy’s house and then we drove home in silence.

For after all, what can you say? What can someone like me, never a minute “in country”, say to someone at a time like that? Indeed, even in a non-crisis moment, how does one respond, how does one express understanding and gratitude to one who has done what needed to be done “there”? Papers this morning are awash with stories and commentaries on a nation’s citizens not at war. Of empty, meaningless gestures and expressions of “thanks” and “appreciation” and “support”. Is this true? Are we who are here, so safe and so far behind the line, are we that shallow and insincere?

I confess that I just do not know the answer to that question. Perhaps neither I nor anyone else ever will. Here’s what I think is different now, though, from those days of my youth spent drinking with a friend who’d done his duty and returned to face both his countrymen and his demons–now I think about this generation’s Coach Cats every day, and I think about how to express my understanding, my empathy, and my gratitude every day. I hope that I am not unique. I hope that the columnists are wrong.

CrossFitters will mark the day with a Hero WOD, “Murph”. We will express our gratitude and our respect in our own, special way, just as we did with “White” earlier. We will endeavor to remember EVERY day, not just on “Hero” days, though we will do so with a little more intensity, more conscious intent, with “Murph.”

In the end today is just a Friday off work for Federal employees if you think about it. When we are a country with men and women ON the line, Veteran’s Day is every day of the year.

I gotta find Cat’s phone number.