Be the Sheepdog

You might have read from my previous email that I spent this morning serving jury duty at the Queen Anne’s County Courthouse, a beautiful 1790’s structure that is worth checking out in downtown Centreville if you’ve never seen it.  I didn’t get selected for the jury today, but I did spend some time as I was sitting there to try to learn from the experience.  I don’t think I am breaking any laws by saying the trial today was for a man accused of assault.  As I looked at the accused, and then at the rest of my peers in the jury pool, I kept thinking, “Are they ready?”  Not ready to try the case presented to them, but the next case – the one in which they would be the victim.
Many of you are using CrossFit training to prepare for some event – a race, an upcoming sport season, or even a CrossFit competition.  And for those of you that fit into that category, the meaning behind your daily workouts is clear.  Others might be training to accomplish a physical goal, whether it is to lose weight or to finally get that 300-lb squat.  And again, your training is focused on that goal and your motivation to get in the gym each day can be generated from there.  But if you don’t have a specific goal, or even if you do, I’d like to offer one more bit of motivation.
I’ve heard it said that as far as people go, there are sheep, and there are wolves.  The aggressive wolves prey on the unsuspecting sheep, and take advantage of them.  I saw a wolf today in the courtroom accused of assaulting a sheep, who could not defend themselves.  There is a third type of person though – the sheepdog – and this is who we should aspire to be through our training.  The sheepdog looks out for the sheep, in either a formal way (a teacher looking after her students, or a parent looking after their kids), or an informal way (a hero thwarting a terrorist attempt in an office building).  In looking at your life and the roles that you play, I’m sure most of us can say we have some sheepdog responsibilities.  But are we ready?
Coach Tristan says that one reason he does CrossFit is so that he is “harder to kill”.  He works in Baltimore, one of the most volatile and chaotic cities in the world, and as a firefighter no less.  So there is no ambiguity in his thought there – he has to train physically in a way that makes him fully able to protect himself at all times.  I encourage you all to do the same, and maybe even add to his already noble thought process.  Let’s train to make ourselves and those around us harder to kill.  None of us should want to identify ourselves as wolves – the predators looking to take advantage of weak people.  And we sure shouldn’t count ourselves as the weak sheep that are unfortunately walking the earth all around us.  But if we are to be sheepdogs, we must be prepared for the unfortunate but eventual circumstances that will arise.
Tomorrow I am going to hit it hard at the gym, and when my motivation wanes I will stop and tell myself “be the sheepdog”.  Are you with me?

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