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Reflections of a Johnnie Football Space Monkey: Part 3

Life has a funny way of throwing you curve balls when you least expect them. When these come our way, we usually have 2 options. The first is to sulk, feel bad for yourself, and blame external forces in the universe that led to your current circumstance. Your other option to take these challenges head on, learn from them, and come out on the other end a better person because of it. The good news: this is 100% under your control.

July 17th, 2013

This is a day that is forever etched in my memory. I was at rugby 7s scrimmage. I received a pass and scanned the field looking for a gap to take. I saw an opening, cut, and then...SNAP. A flood of emotions hit me, emphasized by some of the worst pain I have ever felt. I was punching and crawling on the ground. It all happened in mere seconds, but reflecting back, it seemed like eternity.

Flash forward 10 days, and I am sitting in the doctor’s office. He opens my file and shows it to me. My eyes shoot to the diagnosis: complete tear of the ACL. It takes a second to process. What did this mean for my rugby, coaching, and Power Athlete career track?

February 22nd, 2014

I had spent my last 6 months following rehab to a T, riding a linear progression to re-establish a base level of strength. I continued to use every class I taught as a way to sharpen elements from the seminar. This allowed me to keep things fresh in my mind and be prepared for if and when I got the opportunity to work a seminar again.

One day, I get an email: there is a seminar in Texas. Can you make it? Without hesitation I said yes. I knew going into the weekend that this was a big step. Until now, I had just attended ones I was able to drive to, but this was the first I was getting to fly to. When I landed, I saw that it was myself, Tex, and John, the CEO of Power Athlete! Up to this point in my interning journey, I had not worked a seminar with the Big Man. Not only that, but with a count of 40 in attendance, this was the largest seminar I had been a part of. I was slated to handle some of my typical duties: demonstrating, leading a warm up, etc. In addition, I was getting another shot at teaching the Power Clean. A chance at redemption from Balboa performance in 2012.

This was a lot to take on, but I knew the last 16 months of work I had been putting in had been preparing me for that weekend. It must have showed, because after that seminar weekend I received an email from Luke. It said something along the lines of: “John and I just got done debriefing from the weekend. He was impressed with your performance from the weekend. Congratulations, you have been promoted to a seminar coach.” Being able to look back now, this was an 8-mile moment for me within Power Athlete. After this, I more routinely traveled the country teaching seminars, sharpening my blade as a seminar staff member every time I got a chance to present, and learning as much as I could from Tex, Luke, and Cali.

September 6th-7th, 2014

This was my 5th seminar of the year. At this point I was starting to get into a good rhythm, feeling good about teaching the different parts of the seminar. I remember as Tex and I were driving from the airport to gym, we started debriefing on the roles and responsibilities of the weekend. He laid a challenge down to me and said: “I want you start seeing the connections between the warm ups, and everything else we do.” Not quite grasping, he went on to ask me about the purpose of one of the movements we taught: The See-Saw Walk. My answer was quick and simple: “we use it as a way to teach body position, and spatial awareness.”

He took my quick answer and expanded on it, making me understand that it was that and so much more. It taught how to initiate the squat. It was part of the setup from our Universal Athletic position. It was teaching the athlete how load the hamstrings for force reduction. Up until this point, I had been so concerned about teaching the ABCs of each movement I had failed to see the connections. This was a lightbulb moment for me, when I realized that we taught movement, not just movements.

In the great wise words of Eric Matthews, “life’s tough, get a helmet.” You never know when life is going to throw adversity your way. However, each day through your training, work, and life you can set yourself up to take these on. The best time work on how you approach your mental structures and the attitude you bring every day is now! After all, they say the best offense is a good defense.

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Carl Case

Carl Case has been an athlete his whole life, playing both football and rugby in high school. After high school, he directed his focus to rugby where he went on to become a collegiate Midwest All Star. Carl continues to play rugby on a mens team near South Bend, and was part of a National Runner Up team. He found CrossFit and then Crossfit Football as a way to fuel his rugby performance. He has been following the CrossFit Football program since it’s launch in 2009 and attended his first CrossFit Football seminar in August of 2009.

After an introduction to CrossFit in 2007, Carl became a certified coach in 2009 and co-owner of CrossFit South Bend in 2011. In addition to coaching CrossFit and CrossFit Football classes at the gym, Carl has been coaching high school rugby since 2009. He uses the CrossFit Football and Power Athlete concepts to help his young athletes identify their goals and provides pointed instruction to help achieve those goals.

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