Ryan is one of those tribemembers where you constantly see him smiling, he brings a presence that is unforgettable and he undeniably helps connect us all together that one extra bit more. We couldn’t be happier to have awarded Ryan with the PA award this morning. So well deserved. Turning it over to Ryan.
When I was 9 years old, I was told I would likely never be able to walk normally again. I was in a 3rd grade soccer league and my 300-pound coach tripped and fell on me, snapping my femur in half just below the hip. I was bed-ridden for two months, out of school for a year, and had to undergo intense physical therapy. To this day, I still walk with a slight limp (my legs grew uneven) which caused my muscles to shift and gave me scoliosis. For a long time, my outlook on ever recovering physically was anything but positive.
Smash cut to 16 years later. My femur healed. I ran cross country in high school. I have crossed the finish line at over a dozen half-marathons and one full marathon. And I run the muthafuckin’ stairs of the muthafuckin’ Hollywood Bowl every muthafuckin’ Wednesday of the muthafuckin’ week.
I often think about the idea of positivity. November Project is bursting at the seams with it: The hugs, the high-fives, the offers of rides or lodging to practical strangers… the list goes on. In striving to be positive, we often focus on combatting that which is working against it; but what really is the enemy of positivity? The obvious answer is its opposite: Negativity. But I can’t help but disagree.
Negativity is unavoidable. Sometimes we sleep through a work out, or don’t feel well. Sometimes we break our legs or our moms get sick or we lose our car key. Sometimes we’re angry. Sometime we’re sad. Sometimes we just feel like crap. Negativity is unavoidable but negativity goes away.
No, the real enemy we combat with our positivity is cynicism. This idea that our hugs are meaningless. That our high-fives are disingenuous. That there is some kind of ulterior motive to the love we have to give. When I was pitched November Project, it wasn’t negativity that fueled my hesitation, it was cynicism. ‘These people can’t actually be this happy.’ ‘True friendships cannot be forged in hour-a-week increments.’ ‘This is a cult.’ These thoughts are not unique to me – they are shared by many a person who looks at our Facebook posts with skepticism, who gawk at our exuberance for waking up so early in the morning. They’re reminiscent of a 9-year-old boy who is angry at the world and shuts out any narrative that leads to him unequivocally and un-ironically happy.
But then I met you. Each and every one of you. 300 of the most happy, gracious, loving, loud, exciting, creative, sometimes negative but mostly positive people I have ever met. You find the cynicism and combat it with genuineness. That’s what November Project is all about: it’s about showing up and racing everything, but it’s also about fostering a spirit of sheer joy, endless support, of unequivocal and un-ironic happiness.
So here’s the realization I have come to: the Positivity Award comes not just with a reward, but a responsibility. For us who have already received it, for everyone who will soon receive it (inevitably, all of you)… Just as love has played such an integral part in getting us to November Project, it is our duty to make sure this love is not restricted to the beaches or the Baxters or the Bowls leave behind at 7:30AM. It is our duty to take this love – this passion for what we do, for the important people and places in our lives – and carry it everywhere we go from the moment we get in our cars. To the cynics, to the negatives.
We’ll combat their cynicism and show them – if even just as a glimpse – that the world is not such a terrible place. That the hugs we give do not need to be disingenuous. That when we tell someone we love them, we really do mean it. Not everyone in this world is going to show up to the bowl at 6:30AM, and – big picture here – that’s not the goal. Not coming to a workout doesn’t mean they can’t be touched by the spirit of November Project, and the goal here is making sure they are. We don’t even need to call it November Project. We can call it #GlobbityGook or #TaraTaraTara. But this feeling we all felt, this genuine joy and happiness that brought us all back… That manifests itself here, with all of us. It’s a revolution already in progress: we cannot take this warm glow and hog it all to ourselves. Before we know it, there’s a little NP Positivity at the Emmy Awards. There’s a little NP Positivity doing an Amazing Race around the world. There’s a little NP Positivity ordering a cup of coffee or changing a tire or cooking dinner.
And this NP Positivity is limitless. This NP Positivity can run marathons in under 4 hours. This NP Positivity can push cars. This NP Positivity can run the muthafuckin’ stairs of the muthafuckin’ Hollywood Bowl every muthafuckin’ Wednesday of the muthafuckin’ week. And this NP Positivity can change lives.
I doubt you made it this far, but I do have one final thing to say, and that is a simple thank you. Deeply. Sincerely. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful that my leg healed, and you have all been an integral part of that thanks. You have all changed my life, and I love you all for it. Deeply. Sincerely. Positively.
Do good, LA.
This morning we reached 271 people. Though our goal was not met we are still so very stoked at the turn out and the beautiful faces that showed up to workout and share the good vibes. With that said we have decided to give you guys an extension. That’s right, one last chance to try and reach that number. Reach out to old friends, ex’s, family members and people you love. We all deserve free fitness and we all deserve to start off our day on a positive note no matter who you are. Share the opportunity. Consider this, if every one of you brought at least one person we would be well over our goal. We love you. DO GOOD, LA
HOMEWORK- Send out those prank calls, selfies, texts, gifs whatever you please to your new np friend. Building community outside of a workout, making that connection every day.Share via socials: