On Monday we’re meeting here.
A few days ago I got an email from BG in which he discussed the design of this morning’s workout. He wanted to set up obstacles to get NP members to jump and smile more throughout the workout. On his way up to the top of the hill at 6:10AM, with a help of a volunteer, he rolled up few giant trash barrels and a long-ass 4×4. We cleared the stone wall of shirts, jackets backpacks and whatever else usually lives there, put 45 minutes on the clock, and our obstacle course was ready to go.
During the workout I was doing my thing: Taking photos, cheering, talking trash to Derrrick and encouraging people to go faster. While I was passing the burpee station opposite the stone wall, a girl with an ear-to-ear smile (seen below) threw herself on the ground for her first burpee. “This girl is REALLY excited to be here!” I thought to myself. Her giant grin was giving it away. She was carelessly throwing herself around like a child in a McDonalds ball-pit, going fast without a care in the world, and genuinely loving life! Who was this beast? A newbie? A member we have been missing since it got cold and dark last November?
When the clock counted down to zero, the tribe began to gather again, and she found me right away. With that same Colgate smile she began to thank me for keeping her going during during the workout and went on to say that this was her first workout in twelve months. Holly shit! You mean twelve months like a full year!? Twelve months? Like a dozen months? Like four full New England seasons back to back to back to back!? She said she used to come in early 2013. I immediately started feeling shitty for not knowing her name or remembering her at all really. She assured me that it was okay as she’s kind of shy and quiet so I shouldn’t feel bad. We started over, “I’m Bojan,” “I’m Jen.” She went on and said that the reason she’s been away for so long is because she’s been battling cancer. Colon cancer. Just like that. I’ll give you a second to let that set in as it took me a moment to register. Colon cancer. She immediately moved on and said that she completed 3 loops of our obstacle course (as if the two things were able to be in the same conversation) and that she was excited to finally be back with the tribe. After exchanging a hug and few more words Jen walked away to stretch out leaving me with raw emotions and that “What the fuck just happened” look on my face. I’m still sorting it out while writing this hours later with more than a few questions for her.
Easiest decision of the week? I knew who’s getting a #PositivityAward today. Without checking with Jen (If she can beat colon cancer she can deal with little attention), I felt the urge to share her story with anyone that’ll listen. And everyone should listen. Jen’s story is not only inspirational and emotional, but in a strange sense, is tied to our obstacle course workout. Jen’s story is about fighting and wining and smiling and getting back to your friends and to moving your body from any condition over and past obstacles as they come. This nonsense BG-designed workout conjured up on Wednesday night didn’t account for Jen’s well timed victory lap. We had no idea that Jen’s battle would be, in many ways, coming to an end as she rocked the “full frontal” down Summit, back up, through the “Women’s Camp,” into the dirt, and back up over the trash barrels. She tackled it like a champ, a fucking champion, a proud woman, a proud athlete, a proud member of this community, and didn’t take in one inch of this morning’s three personal victory laps without a huge smile on her face. She’s back.
The two of us here in Boston and to the 30 or more Co-leaders we have in the fifteen NP cities in North America, these success stories are called getting a “pay day.” When we started November Project we didn’t do it to make money, we did it to get fit. Getting fit turned into making our city the better place. Creating a better place turned into the first steps in World Takeover, and today November Project is inspiring folks from all walks of life.
So I leave you with with this: Pursue things that don’t seem possible, and inspire one another along the way through this odd, shitty, confusing, and sometimes wildly fun obstacle course that life throws at us every single day. Think of Jen this weekend as you do whatever it is that you do while getting ready to “run-deck-run” on Monday morning!
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