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I remember the conversation like it was yesterday.  Last January, we sat Bianca down in the Lurong office and told her that we thought that it was in her best interest to continue following the competitor’s program and training with the SCF team, but she wouldn’t be “played” this year at the Northeast Regional.

I remember the disappointment in her eyes, the frustration, the “what ifs“.

You see, what most of you probably don’t remember is Bianca’s muscle-ups at the 2013 Regional.  In ’13, Callahan, Jessica, Megin, the Blancos and I all decided to compete individually.  Lynch continued to train hard for the CrossFit Games as a Master’s athlete.  Our team was very young, fresh, new to competing at this level.  The third event on the first day involved muscle-ups.  The rule was that if at least two females on each team couldn’t get at least three muscle-ups, the team was disqualified.

Unfortunately, the pressure fell on Bianca.  She had two weeks to get consistent muscle-ups.  Each of the fourteen days that she had leading up to the Regional, you could, without a doubt, find Bianca working tirelessly on the rings.  She continuously trained through tendonitis in her elbows, but she got ’em….

The day came, and I remember watching the girls lined up at the rings for Workout 3.  Shlee went first and completed the muscle-ups for which she, too, had worked so hard.  It was Bianca’s turn…the culmination of everything that she had tormented herself over for the past few weeks…  She hopped up on the rings and got her first muscle-up…no problem..Then came the second..got it, but it looked a bit more difficult.  Then the third…the muscle-up that never was

I watched her–her eyes welled-up with tears–as she attempted over and over to get that third muscle-up.  At one point, I remember her pleading with the crowd, asking what she should do because she was simply desperate.  If I could’ve leapt over that fence and done it for her, I would’ve; everyone in the crowd would’ve…

Not in 2013…

Back to our conversation in January: Bianca asked repeatedly with that same earnest pleading that she had when she faced the crowd in desperation the previous May, “What if I work really hard? What if I get really good?  What if I can prove that I deserve a spot on the team?” To us, this just seemed impossible. She even mentioned that she had this burning desire to “redeem” herself from the muscle-up mishap that occurred the Regional prior.  Still, DP was staunch in his resolve that the team needed to be set in stone prior to the Open.  We assured her that being the team’s alternate is as important a position as any, and that in every sport, unless you’re the best, you may not get played every game.

For the next five months, Bianca trained with us just as if she was competing at the Regional.  She trained her weaknesses, perfected her muscle-ups, and got significantly stronger.  It was really quite impressive to watch.

Never once did she complain about her position as the alternate.  Never once was she bitter because she didn’t get what she wanted.

Then the workouts were released….and boy, were they “gymNasty”! You see, in the time that lapsed while Bianca was distracted by doing some serious work to seal up the “holes” in her game, she had gotten really good at some gymnastic skills that were once weaknesses.  Her muscle-ups were solid, her handstand-push-ups were stellar, and she could walk on her hands almost as well as she could her two feet…

Bianca earned her place on the team.  By refusing to sit on the sidelines and bemoan what she didn’t get, she received that which she desired all along. In life, we can’t always get what we want, but instead of harboring resentment or bitterness toward the situation and those involved, we oftentimes just need to put our head down, work, and move forward. 

At the Northeast Regional this year, Bianca got nine muscle-ups in a row, without a single failed attempt.   Now, that’s what I call redemption!

When she didn’t get to perform in the final workout because of a time-cap on the team, she simply looked at me, smiling, and said, “Any rep I got to do this weekend was more than I had planned“.