Not Destroyed

by Scott Zagarino

You sign up. You make it into Special Operations training. There are a million moments you think will destroy you. They don’t. You finish. Not destroyed.

You take your seat on a plane to Afghanistan. Headed for the fight. You leave the base in a Humvee with your buddies. Just driving down a dusty road. Another day. A distant sound that reminds you of something you heard on a warm 4th of July years ago. Suddenly the whole world explodes. Slowly your brain begins to absorb the burned and twisted remains that used to be a Humvee, the bodies of your friends no longer what or who they were. You breathe, know you’re still alive and they aren’t. Your leg doesn’t look like a leg anymore. Not destroyed.

A face leans over your bed and a disembodied voice tells you the leg has to come off. You refuse. There’s something that needs to be done for the other guys and that leg is necessary for a little while longer. Not destroyed.

You limp to the starting line on a hot, humid morning in Miami, Florida months later, looking 100 miles down the road to Key West and you look down and tell the scarred, twisted leg, this is what I kept you for, now do your damn job.

60 miles and the leg says no. A doctor leans in and tells you he can’t let you go on. You look at the leg, you sign the papers that say you understand and accept the risk, and you get up on the leg that shouldn’t still be there and you run 40 more miles. You finish. Not destroyed.

They ask you to count backwards from 100 and when you wake up your leg is gone, wrapped in plastic and thrown into a trash bin somewhere. Not destroyed.

You walk into a CrossFit box for the first time and look at a whiteboard that tells you all of the things you can’t do with only one leg. You suited up, you showed up, and you finish up. Your first WOD. Not destroyed.

On September 17th, Keith Zeier will stand next to brothers and sisters at Alamo CrossFit in San Antonio, Texas who also refused to be destroyed. This first group has missing parts too, but they all know that on this day, if you want that t-shirt, you finish what you started, and Rick Martinez gave them a chance to prove it. You’re all waiting for the call. 3-2-1 Go. 17 minutes later Fight Gone Bad 6 is done. You, your brothers and sisters have done the work, raised the money, and stand together with chests heaving, sweat pouring through t-shirts. Not destroyed.

A woman standing off to the side, nervously bouncing from one foot to the other, catches Keith’s eye and without a word spoken between them, he tells her that you can only be destroyed if you give in, if you let yourself be destroyed. His prosthetic leg is the authority that makes what he’s telling her true. Only you decide when and if you’ll be destroyed.

3-2-1 Go. Not destroyed.

Keith decided not to be destroyed because he had a responsibility to those brothers of his that had given their lives, not their legs, to see to it that their children got to college, so he raised the money because that’s what you do.

Got 17 minutes now?