Monday, February 1, 2010

The Crazy Switch

Blogging is an art. Irrespective of how technical your writing, the art is the peeks we have into another world and another perspective. Josh is courageous. Not only does he write exceptionally well, but he has allowed his readers into his private world of Tourette's Syndrome with grace and courage. I am privileged to share with you some of his thoughts.


When I crossed the finish line after my final High-School Cross Country race, I fell to my knees and puked.  My teammates had all finished far ahead of me—they were all runners, as opposed to someone who joined the team because the most attractive girls in our school all ran cross-country.


"How do you feel?"


When I could breathe again, I said, "My new goal is never to run another step.  Ever."


They thought I was joking.  I thought I was serious.  We were both wrong, sort of.




I hate running.  I always have and I don't expect that to change.  But I love competition, particularly with myself.  That, and a severe case of Tourette's Syndrome which basically turned me into a hermit for a long time, brought me back to physical culture and physical challenges again and again.


I was talking about this with David Whitley, a former professional wrestler and current performing strongman.  I was babbling on about why we all do the things we do.  Why we push ourselves in the ways we do.


I look at the madness here on Dash For Freedom, and just about all it of makes me smile.  Not just because it's inspiring or goofy or insane—it's all of those things--but because it's all so familiar, even though this isn't my sport.


"It's like we all have the same madness," I said, "but it manifests in a lot of different ways.  It fascinates me." 


"You're taking about the crazy switch," he said.  "Everyone's got one.  When you flip it on, it feeds off the same pool of energy, but you never know what's going to make sense to someone when they turn it on.  Everybody needs something different, but for the same reasons."


I believe it.  I do.  Whatever it is that creates the need for us to test ourselves and challenge others—to excel and to grind our teeth and just see what we're capable off—it comes from the same place.  I know it. 


We feed off of the same things. There are people out there who climb, lift, wrestle, cycle, throw, jump, tackle, sprint, marathon, parkour, tumble, swim, motorcross, dive…on and on and on.  And they all have one thing in common, besides the craziness, I guess:


They're all alive.  They're not just breathing and sucking wind and thanking their lucky stars that they survived another day. 


They're alive.  They have purpose and they don't apologize for the things that drive them.  And their purpose improves them.  Their improved bodies lead to improved minds.  All of these things lead to a stronger, better individual.  And as each individual improves, their capacity to improve others grows as well.


They're alive and they help others to live. 


Is this too grandiose of a sports metaphor?  Not for me.  And if you read this blog, I suspect you might see something here that sounds familiar to you as well.


Flip the switch and come to life.  The more frequently, the better.



About the Author: Josh Hanagarne is the twitchy giant behind World's Strongest Librarian, a blog about living with Tourette's Syndrome, kettlebells, book recommendations, buying pants when you're 6'8", old-time strongman training, and much more. Please subscribe to Josh's RSS Updates to stay in touch.

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