The Meaning of a Hero WOD and Those Who Must Not Be Forgotten

The Meaning of a Hero WOD: A CrossFit Story

By Scott Jurek

In April 2011 I was working out at my local gym when I heard a loud noise. My first thought was it must have been some sort of car accident or something because there were no cars around. Then I looked up and saw a huge fireball coming from the sky.

It didn’t look like any firework I had ever seen before. It was bright white with red streaks going down its side. There was a big mushroom cloud in the middle and then nothing.

I don’t remember what happened after that but I do remember thinking “That’s not how fireworks work.”

A few months later I was doing a show at the CrossFit Games in Las Vegas and someone asked me if I knew anything about the explosion that occurred over Russia. At first I just laughed and told them that it wasn’t really a rocket explosion, it was probably caused by a nuclear bomb. They seemed skeptical so I went into great detail about how a real nuke works.

After explaining all the technical details they were convinced enough to believe me.

Then I stopped and thought to myself “wait a minute, where the hell did all this stuff come from?”

Then it all came back to me. The fireball, the shock wave, the mushroom cloud, and the massive amounts of radiation. I was just outside of ground zero for the worst nuclear disaster in history.

I don’t talk about this very often because it was a very surreal experience that I still can’t believe I lived through. Most people who were close to the center of the blast didn’t have the same luck. I am one of the very few people who experienced a nuclear explosion yet didn’t suffer any ill effects.

The Meaning of a Hero WOD and Those Who Must Not Be Forgotten - Picture

It’s like I have a charmed life or something.

But it wasn’t always this way.

When I was in college I made a lot of mistakes and did some things that I am not proud of. Trust me when I say that if you think test-taking is stressful, wait until you have to make a decision whether or not to help your friends move a safe full of money at 3am.

Of course you could just leave your buddies high and dry but what kind of friend would you be if you did that?

This is what I pondered for weeks on end and it nearly drove me crazy. The fact that I was smoking a lot of marijuana during this time probably didn’t help matters any.

Then one day a friend of mine approached me and asked if I wanted to go on a camping trip to Washington with him. He said he needed time away from the city and thought I might need it too. I jumped at the opportunity.

We spent a week by a river just relaxing and talking. It was really nice to get away from everything. One night I finally opened up and told him about all my problems with the robbery.

He just listened until I finished and then he asked me a question that I will never forget. “

Was the money worth the friendship?”

In that moment everything changed for me. I knew what I had to do.

When I got back to the city I went over to my buddy’s place to confess and to offer my help. When he answered the door his eyes instantly changed when he saw me and he told me to get the hell out. He was pretty mad.

I knew it was no use arguing so I just left and made arrangements to turn myself in at the police station.

I went to jail and served 6 months for possession. I could have gotten more time for the robbery but my lawyer was able to get the charges reduced since I fessed up to everything. My friends didn’t show up to court.

I heard later that two of them went into hiding and the third one joined the military. We were never close again after that.

Sources & references used in this article:

An investigation of motivational variables in CrossFit facilities by JA Partridge, BA Knapp… – The Journal of Strength …, 2014 –

CrossFit: Fitness cult or reinventive institution? by MC Dawson – International review for the sociology of sport, 2017 –

Injury incidence and patterns among Dutch CrossFit athletes by M Mehrab, RJ de Vos, GA Kraan… – … journal of sports …, 2017 –

CrossFit overview: systematic review and meta-analysis by JG Claudino, TJ Gabbett, F Bourgeois… – Sports medicine …, 2018 – Springer

Injury rate and patterns among CrossFit athletes by BM Weisenthal, CA Beck, MD Maloney… – … journal of sports …, 2014 –

The benefits and risks of CrossFit: a systematic review by J Meyer, J Morrison, J Zuniga – Workplace health & safety, 2017 –

A 4-year analysis of the incidence of injuries among CrossFit-trained participants by Y Feito, EK Burrows, LP Tabb – Orthopaedic journal of sports …, 2018 –

The relationship between basic psychological need satisfaction, behavioral regulation, and participation in CrossFit by MJ Davies, L Coleman… – Journal of Sport …, 2016 –

Reading the slender body by S Bordo, M Jacobus, EF Keller… – Feminism and …, 1990 –