Netflix released a great new series “The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life”.  Episode 1 featured Basketball Coach Doc Rivers who led both the Celtics and the Clippers to successful seasons.  As I don’t follow basketball I was unfamiliar with Doc Rivers and his accomplishments but I was very moved by his life and coaching philosophies which I believe are well worth sharing.  Here is my interpretation of his 5 rules for life:

1) Finish the Race
Success is not guaranteed, failure is a very real possibility but though all your efforts may come to naught, stay the course.  Embrace the challenge and see it through.  Don’t let the fact that it is tougher than you thought it would be defeat you and cause you to quit.  If you’re going to enter the race, finish it.  Even if you finish last.  When a torn Achilles tendon in day 2 of the 2015 Regionals ended Julie Foucher’s shot at qualifying for the 2015 Games, she still came out to compete on day 3 wearing an air brace.  Knowing she could not advance to the CrossFit Games she still came out to finish the race.

2) Don’t Be a Victim
It is easy to fall into a victim mindset, it’s a way to dodge responsibility.  A victim is helpless, a victim has no agency.  Contrast this with the mindset of Hurricane Carter, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi or Viktor Frankl, all men who refused to be victims despite their circumstances.  When you take responsibility for the circumstances that you are in you become empowered.  This does not mean those circumstances are your fault, it means that you are taking responsibility for who you choose to be and how you choose to respond to circumstances outside your control.  Because as the men above taught through example, no matter the circumstance, no one else has the power to control your thoughts unless you surrender that power to them.

3) Ubuntu
“I am because we are.”  This is a South African concept with no precise English translation but is often used to refer to the universal human bond that connects us all.  In a sense, I cannot be diminished by your achievements because your victory is my victory.  When you succeed we all succeed.  At Empower I truly believe that we have created a community that represents this, a community that celebrates one another’s accomplishments.  With ubuntu there can be no jealousy or envy because what you have, I have too.  Your happiness is my happiness.   When I go out to compete in Judo or in CrossFit, I do not see my competitors as my enemies, I feel connected to them by our shared experience, in that moment we are closer than friends, closer than family.  Their victory is mine and mine is theirs.

4) Pressure is a Privilege
The pressure you are dealing with is pressure you have earned by getting to this high stakes position.  Those nerves you are feeling may be the fear of how far there is to fall or it could be the excitement at how far you have climbed.  Whatever pressure you are feeling it is a consequence of your success.  People who quit, give up or fail do not get to feel that pressure.  Maybe they quit to avoid the pressure.  A wise mentor of mine once told me that it is not fear of failure that stops most people but fear of success.  Do you let your fear of success stop you?

5) Champions Keep Moving Forward
Most mistakenly believe that champions travel an easy road, that they have not experienced the challenges and set backs the rest of us have, that they are free of self doubt.  The opposite is true.  A champion is a person who faced with all the same limitations, obstacles, doubts and fears as the rest of us, refused to be stopped by them.  Maybe they even used them as fuel on their journey to the top.  No champion travels a smooth road to success.  Everyone gets knocked down.  Everyone!  But champions refuse to stay down, they get back up and keep on forging ahead despite every obstacles set before them.  Giving up would have been easier.  Quitting would have been less painful.  Choosing another, less arduous path would have made more sense.  But a champion refuses to hear those truths, a champion keeps moving forward until the goal is achieved.

Sports are an opportunity for us to develop the skills and attitudes that we can carry into our lives.  The gym, the dojo or the training hall are places where you can hone your skills, your abilities, your thoughts and your attitudes.  Places where you can practice becoming the person you want to be.  Coach Rivers started every season with a very profound coaching message to his players: “I am not going to coach you to who you are.  I am going to coach you to who you can become.”

Friday Nasty Nancy
Another CrossFit Games WOD to play with.  We will be able to fit 9 athletes with barbells into the gym with safe social distancing and can take 2 more with dumbbells for a max of  11.  Of course couples could share a station and equipment where needed in order to squeeze more members in safely.

PVC Pipe, barbell

Warm Up
1 min Shoulder Pass Throughs
2 Rounds:
1 min Power Snatches
1 min Overhead Squats
1 min Squat Snatches
Round 1 with PVC, Round 2 with barbell

500m Run or 1500m Echo bike or 500m row or 400m Ski
OHS barbell or dumbbell
Burpees (bar over or regular)

WOD: Nasty Nancy
5 Rounds
500m Run
15 OHS
15 Bar-Over Burpees

Cool Down
Shoulder Pass Throughs
Quad Stretch
Walk the dog