The Best Kind of Bad Things

Getting out of bed was rough. I told the morning classes that I had such a hard time waking up I nearly walked out of the house without pants on. Add that to only having two cups of coffee before coaching, and I started out the day having a bad one.

I did the workout after coaching. Heavy wall balls and snatches. Lots of them. It sucked. I felt horrible the entire nine minutes and thirty eight seconds it took me to finish it. My time wasn’t great, and I’m sure that there was at least 10 people that beat me. I should have gone faster. When you write the workouts, there’s an added pressure to be awesome, but all I could do was lie on the ground in a haze, feeling terrible. I hate heavy wall balls and I hate feeling terrible, so now this bad day was very bad.

I coached the 9am class and did the extra sled work with them after. Sled work is hard. We were using a different sled on a different surface and so not only was it hard, but it was awkward and frustrating. Add that to still being wrecked from the main workout, and now the bad day was getting worse.

While we were sitting on the floor recovering, there were a bunch of sirens down the road.

Emily said, “Did you hear that they busted a mobile meth lab right outside by SVSU yesterday?”
“Just like Breaking Bad???” Annie replied.

I thought that was funny, picturing a group of people watching TV at home taking notes, trying to figure out how to make meth and get away with it.

It was funny, but not funny enough to make me forget that there was still a lot to be done that day and pushing the sled put me behind schedule. I hate being behind schedule.

We locked up the gym and left. I drove down the Bay Road and turns out those sirens were for an accident which was now redirecting traffic. Bay Road is really the only way home. Detours and stalled traffic and being late and…

I know “hangry” is the cool new word, describing a person who is so hungry that they’re angry – which is cute for Instagram and useful for trying to get friends to go to Chipotle, but let’s not forget that the root word there is “angry” – red, full, vibrating rage.

I turned down a country gravel road to find a way past the accident. If you’ve never been on a country gravel road in Michigan, they are usually very narrow with giant drainage ditches on either side. It usually ends up being like a vehicular version of the game you played on the playground as kid; you on one side of the balance beam and your friend on the other, trying to make it past one another without falling in the Woodchips of Death.

Just drive by each other nice and slowly and hope no one gets killed.

The problem here was  that there was a semi-truck in front of me. He turned right to try to get back onto the main road, but the road was too narrow for him to get through without flipping his rig into a ditch.

He was stuck.

He would come out of his truck, jump back in the truck, come out of the truck, jump back in the truck. After about 15 minutes of wiggling his 80000 pound trailer back and forth and he was free.

This day was just so….bad.

Waking up early, no coffee, wall balls, feeling terrible, sled pushes, running late, detours, stalled traffic, and stuck semi was my morning. All the little irritations and annoying crap that  can derail a good mood happened.

And all before noon.

Driving down the country gravel road, I decided to cut my way through a bunch of mini-mall parking lots to see what was happening at the accident. It wasn’t morbid or disrespectful – I’ve driven up and down this road for most of my life and when a mobile meth lab gets busted or an accident happens, I feel a responsibility to know. A responsible curiosity.

As I was driving through the Cabela’s parking lot, one of the tow trucks called to the scene pulled in and stopped. I parked about four spaces away.

I took a picture of the car it was hauling:


This was their bad day. 

It hit a Dodge Nitro coming the opposite direction so hard it ripped the front left wheel from the frame and rolled-over.

The tow truck stopped in this parking lot because a lady shopping at the mini-mall locked her keys in her car, and since he was close, he stopped by to get them out.

I took the picture, and then watched the tow truck guy try to unlock that car. The lady stood behind him, looked at the totaled Jeep on his truck, and laughed.

It’s cliché to say, “Someone always has it worse.” But here was someone laughing through bad, standing next to worse.  

I don’t know if you’ve ever locked your keys in your car, but the combination of being stupid and having to pay money for being stupid can definitely be a bad day. But she was laughing through something that would send most into a frustrated panic, because compared to the other car she was standing next to, this was the best kind of bad thing. 

A blessing.

Every day we experience the best kind of bad things.

Waking up can be hard, but it’s an honor to wake up and use a day to help and serve people. Coffee is best in large quantities, but it’s a privilege to enjoy a luxury some can’t. Workouts can be hard and performance can be disappointing, but it’s a blessing to be able to use a body to do hard work and increase fitness while having fun at the gym with like-minded friends.

Every day we experience the best kind of bad things. Bad workouts. Poor performance. Losing. As athletes, it’s easy to define ourselves and our experiences by the quality of our performance. Did I do well or did I do poorly? Was I fast enough? Strong enough?

Good enough?

These are the best kinds of bad things because behind the bad, there is a blessing . The most disappointing performance comes from a functioning body that can do wonderful things and possesses the potential to do better. The hardest workout or the most “off” day at the gym holds with it the honor of sharing that experience with others fighting the same struggle.

Bad things carry blessings, if you look at them that way.

What we have the opportunity to do in training is always a privilege.

What we have the opportunity to do in our lives outside training is always an honor.

When we disregard that privilege and honor – those are the worst bad days, because they’re wasted.

After I took the picture and the lady got into her car, I drove out the parking lot and went to Chipotle for lunch. The line was almost out the door and the servers were slow.

It was a blessing.


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