It’s 11:30 p.m. and I'm running so hard that I can taste blood in my mouth. My headlamp gives me about 20 feet of visibility, but there’s so much sweat pouring down my face that I might as well be blind. I take the seven-foot spear I’m carrying and sweep away the thorny brush in front of me and press on. In the distance I can hear that the dogs have cornered something monstrous. They’ve only got a few minutes before they’re torn to shreds by it but they’re still over 200-meters away—uphill.
That’s right, I'm on a wild boar hunt in rural Georgia and I'm sprinting toward a very big, very angry, and very dangerous beast. And when we meet, I’m going to kill it— with my own two hands.
In college, I had an anthropology professor tell me once that “man built ‘civilization’ as his armor, but now it’s become his cage.” I had no idea what that meant at the time, but in late 2007 I finished grad school, moved to Los Angeles, and entered the workforce. All of a sudden I was attending endless production meetings, driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic, wolfing down fast food, and dealing with some not-so-awesome co-workers.
I began to understand what that professor was talking about. I saw it all around me—the institutions society had built to protect us from the wild (urban sprawl), prevent our illness (over-medication), and feed our hunger (nutrition deficient foods), were, in fact, killing us. I felt trapped. The malaise of modern life began to set in and I didn’t know how to handle it. For close to a year I meandered through my days in a state of numb, low-grade depression.
Unexpectedly, my salvation came to me in a question: “Wanna try out this new thing I’ve heard about called CrossFit?”
A friend of mine had been looking for a way to lose weight and asked me to tag along for moral support, to be his "workout wingman" if you will. I said yes, and the next thing I knew I was walking into a nondescript industrial space deep within the San Fernando Valley—Valley Crossfit—and trying out my very first workout of the day (WOD).
I vaguely remember the workout being as many rounds as possible (an AMRAP) of heavy deadlifts, running, and pull-ups. Like many first timers, I expected to score way more rounds than I actually did. It was a massacre; soccer moms were running laps around me. The weight was unforgiving and the clock ran down with the cadence of cruel honesty: 5 ... you ... 4 ... are ... 3 ... not ... 2 ... in ... 1 ... shape.
It was a revelation, but for all the hostility that the workout 'gifted' my body, by my side were complete strangers who, through their example and gasping breath, pushed and encouraged me. In that brief 15-minute timespan these people became my fellows, and although I got smashed, I was grateful for it.