2017 Games Reflections - part 1 - Introduction by max el-hag

"There are none so blind as those that refuse to see, none so foolish as those that refuse to think"

I’ve been asked a lot of times over the last couple days following the games how I am feeling. I have heard so many people in the CrossFit space talk about the downside of over complicating things. “Don’t think,” “keep it simple stupid,” “you’re a bad coach if you think about things too much,” etc.

The quote above helps to make me feel settled in my desire to think about my past, present, future, training, and choices. To me, the first step to being conscious is using the brain I was given to live the best life I can. If I’m being honest though, I don’t know if I fully disagree with them on that issue. I look at some of the successful athletes in this sport and previous sports that I have coached (specifically MMA and football) and I sense the animalistic nature of some of the athlete’s behaviors. They thrive in pain and thrive getting into a pure state of survival and seemingly shutting off their access to their prefrontal cortex. Drooling, foaming at the mouth, hyperventilating, and in essence putting winning so far above their long term health that they are willing to die for points and money. Maybe that is the best way. I just refuse to coach that way. I want my athletes to win, but also learn life lessons and stay as healthy as possible in their quest to be the best in the sport so they have the potential to have pain free, enjoyable, and active futures. I refuse to believe that when it comes to health and winning it has to be either or, we can have both. Unless I get negative feedback from the athlete’s body, or a medical practitioner says that the sport is unsafe for an athlete’s health.

I’m also self aware enough to know that my mind doesn’t have the capacity to reduce the complexities of life to their most simple form. Perhaps my doubters are right and that means I am not a master of the sport, of coaching, or of myself. But as I invest my time, money, emotions, and sweat into the craft, I have only seen things become more complicated and I can’t help but feel a stronger sense of humility. As things in my own organization get bigger, “I” become smaller. To cope with that, I choose to get lost in the work, in the goals of the people around me, in learning more, in books, in my own training, in my own mind, and in the process of pursuing my version of success. For me, I need to sort through my thoughts and feelings to establish a mental clarity that is required to focus intensely.

So, I decided to write up my thoughts and post blogs for this multiple part series on the games. This does not mean that I will have regular blogs again, but it has multiple purposes. It is:

1- A tribute to the written word that has meant so much to my growth and life experience.

2- Many other introspective people struggle in life. I’ve met them and I hope that by sharing my cathartic process, they can learn to develop their own.

3- I need to get back to work and put the experience behind me as fast as possible. But in the future, I feel like I will want to remember more about this experience and what was happening so here it will remain for my future self to look back on where I came from.

4- I have had so many people; my coaches, my athletes, my fans, my family, ask me how I feel about the year. Those questions frustrate me because I can’t reduce the experience to simplicity. I wish I could say “it was good” or “it was successful” but my experiences are so complicated and hard to share, so the people who have loved and supported me have the right to know what I’m going through and here is a chance to get into my mind.

In the past people have commented on my blogs and said that they were so long and difficult to read through in one take. So this time, in an effort to organize more effectively and make it easier to digest, I decided to split them up to read on specific topics that may interest you. It is organized as

Part 1- Intro (you’re here now)

~ Max

Created By
Max El-Hag

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