“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted with the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” —Michael Jordan
This infamous Michael Jordan quote speaks volumes. Failure is inevitable with anything in life: your career, relationships and athletic events. It’s how you pick yourself back up and recover from these failures that ultimately shapes you as a person.
This past CrossFit Games Open Season, I had the opportunity to travel to Salt Lake City to work with Hack’s Pack of Ute CrossFit. As I’ve mentioned in blog posts on BirthFIT and previous posts on this website, the six-member team is full of exceptional athletes.
While I was there, I had the opportunity to watch the team perform one of the Open workouts together and practice together. It was during an Olympic-lifting practice that Tommy’s true character was revealed. If you know Tommy Hackenbruck, then you know that he is a retired football player and a CrossFit Games competitor. To say that Tommy is strong is probably the understatement of the century.
In between treating members of the team, I watched them lift. Everyone on the team was working on clean-and-jerks. I saw Tommy make lift after lift and continue to add weight. His teammates continued to make the lifts, and the mood in the gym was fun and uplifting. Then, with all the weights in the gym on the barbell, I saw Tommy miss a clean. The barbell fell right out in front of him as he fell to his butt. My eyes were probably as big as golf balls. However, almost immediately, Tommy brushed it off, smiled, and said, “Got to do better.”
Even though it was a practice session, I was shocked that he failed at something. I mean, he’s a real-life superhero and strength is his super power. It never occurred to me that he’d miss a lift.
Fast forward to the 2013 CrossFit Games women’s clean-and-jerk ladder. I have been Lindsey Valenzuela’s chiropractor for two-plus years now. I’ve watched her practice and compete in numerous settings. Women all over the world aspire to “Lift Like Lindsey.” Every lift Lindsey performs is a beautiful moment in time. For sure she would win the clean-and-jerk ladder. Then, it happened. She missed a lift. That was not supposed to happen. I’ve never seen Lindsey miss a lift or even that particular clean-and-jerk at 235 pounds.
I was in shock. I think I was in more shock than she was at the time. There wasn’t a thought in my mind that included Lindsey failing at anything, much less a clean-and-jerk. As it turns out, the superhero, Lindsey Valenzuela, is actually human. The way she put that event behind her and stayed consistent in the rest of the events at the Games this year led her to that second-place podium finish. She did not place second by being able to lift like a boss. Lindsey Valenzuela finished in second place because she never stopped fighting and proved to the world that she deserved that spot.
Has my opinions of these two athletes changed? Hell yes it has.
In the last six months, these two superheroes have showed me what it means to get back up when you fall down. It doesn’t matter if you fall down and fail 99 times out of 100. If you stay consistent and get back up to fight every single time, then that 100th time may just be the game changer.
If you are not failing, then you are not trying. Therefore, you are failing at life. Put yourself out there and learn from your failures. After all, how the hell do you think success is born?
— Lindsey Mathews