Kool-Aid

I was never much of an athlete.  That never bothered me.  I started attending the Heavy Weapons practice of the local SCA group about ten years ago as a soft, doughy young man.  My form was terrible.  My muscles were weak.  The armor was heavy and uncomfortable.  Getting hit HURT

I loved it.

With a little (read: a lot) of help from my friends, I got my own heavy but marginally more comfortable armor put together.  My form improved.  After a year, I was finally starting to swing the weighted rattan weapons with some semblance of authority.  I was less doughy.  I toughened up.  I dropped some of the superfluous armor in favor of greater mobility.  I got a little more flexible.  I dropped the massive ex-roadsign I was using for a shield in favor of greater mobility.  I got a little faster. 

For a little bit, my attendance at the weekly practice slipped.  I got fat.  My normal weight has been +/- 170 pounds.  I was weighing in at 210.  I got into the gym under great duress.  I started running, lifting weights.  My weight dropped.  The shoulder problems that had plagued me disappeared very nearly overnight.  I found a way to get back to practice.  I quit drinking soda altogether.  I started to eat heathier. 

Those close to me will understand that “healthier” basically meant I was eating protein bars instead of whatever fast food I used to eat.  I did keep eating McDonalds for a bit longer, but that faded out too.

I started a job that had me working on the nights that I practiced.  I finagled my schedule so that I could go to practice, then head straight to work from there.  It wasn’t ideal, but I got to have my cake and eat it too.  I always made practice.  I made far fewer actual SCA events than I used to, but that’s a different story.  At one of these rare appearances, they offered me Knighthood. 

My entire exercise regimen had been the armored combat.  Except, people stopped coming.  The Thursday practice has all but disappeared.  I have still been going every week.  I teach the 2-5 newer fighters, but I necessarily keep myself reined in.  No glory in laying waste to those unable to defend themselves, right?  No fight has meant no workout for me.  I got soft and weak again.  And depressed.

My wife saved me once again.  She does that.  I’m the Knight who never saves anyone and she’s the damsel who isn’t in distress.  She convinced me to keep teaching.  She also sold me on joining her gym.  It’s a CrossFit gym.  I’m only two beginner classes in, and it’s kicking my ass, but FINALLY I have a fight on my hands again!  A couple of my co-workers have expressed their dislike of the subculture surrounding CrossFit.  They’re worried that I’ll drink the Kool-Aid. 

Any time someone adopts a subculture, they are filling a void left by some other incomplete aspect of life.  The SCA rewards and recognizes people for their achievements in a way that the workplace often does not.  I was made a Knight by people who know what it’s like to go unrewarded for hard work.  Practice is no longer keeping me physically fit, so I’m going to the gym to try to maintain my ability to fight.  If I can start making another practice, or if the other fighters come back to mine, so much the better.  Will I slowly turn into a firebreather the same way I became a Knight?  Who knows.

Maybe I’ll just have a sip…

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