Need For Speed
I’ve always felt like my life consists of extended periods of boredom dusted with moments of sheer chaos, euphoria, and sweet-sweet adrenaline. This causes an issue in my day-to-day life, making hours seem like days and most situations morph into an envelope licking contest. Yet, when I get the adrenaline rushing through my body and my heart is red lining, everything seems right.
I was born the youngest of three boys, with a young single mom raising us and I have no clue how she survived. My brothers were adventurous, fearless and absolute terrors for my mother. Looking back, I can’t believe she even took us in public. The benefit of having fearless nut jobs for older brothers is that they cleared a path and I was able to witness their mistakes. Not mistakes in terms of doing what they did, but how they got hurt, or worse, got caught. I had a front row seat to the "Juvenile Delinquent Handbook" in 3D and I was taking notes.
My Brother Brian
My middle brother Brian taught me just about everything I know when it comes to motocross racing, snowboarding, and surfing. He was the king around town when it came to anything having to do with danger, and I had aspirations to be like him. Brian may have had a screw or two loose, because he didn’t hesitate for a single jump or stunt. This caused him many broken bones, and countless trips to the hospital, where my mother worked. Luckily she wasn’t short handed on quality time with Brian.
Brian and I had a crew of nut job friends, we spent all day riding dirt bikes, searching for new jumps, and anything else that could potentially break our bones. Thats the way we were, and this new generation getting rides everywhere, no one riding bicycles or getting dirty is depressing. Every generation likes to think they had it all figured out. I don't think we did, but I do know we got hurt, we got dirty, and we made lifelong memories and friendships.
When I was 16 and Brian was 20, his luck tank hit empty and he passed away while riding his motorcycle. That’s the way he was though, if it weren’t that it would have been something else. As I got older it was time for me to spread my wings and continue what he started. One would think this tragedy would have tamed me, but as his fuse went out, mine was sparked. I decided immediately that if it was me who passed away, I would want Brian to live a happy life. So thats what I did, I made a promise to live one life for both of us.
After high school I joined the Air Force in search of some more excitement - this small town stuff wasn’t giving me a buzz anymore. I was conveniently stationed in Arizona, near the best skydiving drop zone in the world. This quickly turned into weekend after weekend of skydiving with the special ops guys from base. Trips to Vegas, California, and Colorado consisted of snowboarding, skydiving, jet skis, surfing, and loving life. I was finally living life the way I had always dreamed it should be.
The freedom and intensity of free falling with your friends, chasing each other down, and flipping around laughing is unmatched. No matter what bills you have, what relationship you are in, the free fall makes everything go away, and its pure bliss. When you are falling at 120 MPH towards earth, nothing else matters. I thought I had everything, but the days between jumps were still deathly boring. In the spring of 2012 I was given orders to deploy to Afghanistan and it was there that i was introduced to this strange thing called CrossFit.
Crash Course In CrossFit
My friend who had deployed four times before was showing me around base and we decided to go to the gym. On the way we came across a man with a beard flipping a tire next to a small tent. This guy could be described as a brick-shit-house, an all American badass, man crush Monday, or any combination of the three. Clearly this guy knew what the deal was, and I had to find out. I asked what he was doing, and he said to come by tomorrow and he would show us what’s up. The rest is history, this special ops guy with no name, and no uniform taught us everything. We had a 5-month/7-day a week crash course in CrossFit, and we met Pukie more than a few times. This situation couldn’t have been more ideal. It became our life, and in no time we were crushing WODs.
I fell in love with this program, because it was something I could do every day to get my fix. Now I can get that heart pounding adrenaline that brings you to your knees without having to wait all week to go skydiving. The best part is that you always have a crew of crazy friends experiencing that insane rush right there along with you.
Before I left Afghanistan, I scheduled my Level 1 Course and couldn’t wait to get to a box that wasn’t in a 115-degree Fahrenheit tent. When I got back to New Jersey, I stumbled upon CrossFit201 in Franklin Lakes. I'm sure there are other great boxes out there, but this place has become my home away from home. The camaraderie in this box is equal to that of the military. I believe bonds are forged in hardships, and thats exactly what doing Crossfit together is.
This Fitness Cult that I plunged into has engulfed me, and I'm not looking back. It’s nice to be in public and see someone’s head snap around when they hear the word CrossFit come out of my mouth. You always get that brief eye contact and a head nod to let you know that they are on board too. They've been there before, gasping for air, drenched in sweat with a new found brother or sister reaching out a hand to help them up. Thats what we do in this community, we're not in this alone. So I suppose the purpose of writing this article is to inspire people, if only one person. Inspire you to take risks for that feeling, but more importantly don't be afraid to try new things and search for what makes you feel like nothing else matters.
- Skydiving Over Arizona