Character Building

You  cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself.   -James A. Froude

I have been blessed with the health and ability to complete workouts in honor of our Country’s finest people and fallen heroes.  I am one that is still here with the ability to drive on using the gift of movement and the strength of mind to appreciate the moment.  I am bathed in humility by the character of heroes that have given their lives in service to others, and I am sensitive to the lasting impact it makes on their families.  I revere them and I’m forever grateful.

Lt. Michael Murphy is one of those heroes. When Michael Murphy completed the workout that was eventually named after him he called it “Body Armor”. I think the workout not only makes your body stronger, it makes your spirit more resilient. It’s a character builder. The grind we go through in this particular workout is universal yet so simple. You learn to drive on through the doubt and pain while encouraging your teammates around you.  That is beautiful pain.

This year I wore some old body armor and carried the Sisu Hammer for the entire workout. I carried it on the run, held it on top of my feet while doing strict pull ups, and held it in my hands during the squats and push-ups. The hammer simulated a protection weapon that men better than me aren’t here to carry anymore. It represented a weight that I felt honored to carry, and no matter how heavy it was, it was a gift of burden that shows I am alive and can feel pain.  How lucky am I?  And with the word Sisu on it, I was motivated to not put it down.

Here is a challenge for you during your next hero WOD, or any workout for that matter: Pick something up and carry it with you during the workout. Grab a wall ball, plate, kettle bell, whatever external object speaks to you.  Let it represent something to you. You’re struggles, character, honor, whatever motivates you. Don’t let it mentally defeat you. You are in control of your thoughts. Challenge it with a strong will that is unconquerable.  Let it fire you up and I promise it will be easy. No matter what, remember how good you have it.

Lt. Murphy’s actions extend beyond a workout in the CrossFit community.   Lt. Murphy’s parents  Dan and Maureen and Michael’s brother John started the LT Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation in 2007. Murph was an avid reader and felt education was key.  The foundation is funded through kind donations and proceeds from The Murph Challenge. I ask you not to stifle a generous impulse, visit the site, and make a donation in the name of Murph. There is no greater life worth living than in the service of others.


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