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My dad has always been very good and knowing when to show sympathy and when not to, particularly with me.

In July of 1999 I left home to begin my journey with the military and start my process towards the Naval Academy.

I set out with a false sense of security and toughness that was quickly beaten out of me.

The first four weeks of indoctrination at the Naval Academy Prep school were pretty rough.  We like to say our class had the last hard year haha.

At about the three week mark we were allowed a “phone call”.  It was more like “enough time to dial the number and maybe have someone pick up”

The limit was 30 secs.   I’m not joking.  

I remember because there was a Coast Guard Cadet standing next to me at 6:13am that morning with a timer on his watch.

I dialed and waited, fully convinced no one would answer because my family likes to sleep in.

My Dad answered:


“Hey, it’s me, this place is terrible, they yell at me all day, I’ve been doing push ups in goose shit since I got here and they only let us eat for 7 minutes for each meal.  They shaved my head and some guy threatened to rip the earings out of me ears the first day I got here I hate this place, it isn’t what they said it would be like I want to come…….”

(yes I had my ears pierced, and yes my dad was probably happy that guy threatened me)

Click!  My phone call was over and all my dad said was “hello”.

I was not having fun.

My dad hung up the phone and rolled over to my mom who was confused as to why someone would be calling so early.

“Who was it?

“It was Jason.”

“OMG how is he!?!?!?!?”

“He’s fine.” 

And then he went back to sleep hahaha.

My dad knew something I didn’t.  He knew it would eventually end and I would be glad I made it through.

I’m personally going through some things right now in different facets of my life that make me feel like I’m on that phone call again.

Some days I feel like its a never ending drown proofing test.  It’s uncomfortable and I get anxiety.  Even though very briefly, quitting or doing something different regularly crosses my mind.

My dad never let me quit anything.  I called him weeks after that first phone call and told him I wanted to come home.

His simply asked me a question.

“Do you have a place to live, because you can’t live here anymore?”

So I stayed.

And I’m glad I did.

We all get caught up in the pain of the now.  The long days of the “busy season” or the beginning of a new training session or nutrition plan.

Quitting is easy. 

But I don’t know of any stories that I’m fond of that end with “And then it got difficult so I quit and I’m much happier now”

Don’t quit when things get a little shaky.  —–    Remember it wasn’t supposed to be easy.

Don’t abandon the plan because something unexpected came up.  —–   No plan has ever been perfect.

The end isn’t as far as we think.  —–   Most people quit right before they achieve their goal.

I was fortunate to have my dad who knew better than to let me feel sorry for myself.

We all need that someone in our life who isn’t interested in our self pity.  Someone who is perfectly fine with watching us struggle because they know what that will yield.

Whatever we are currently struggling with, it won’t last forever.  Don’t let short term pain tempt us into quitting.

I mean if had quit and my dad had let me come home:

– I wouldn’t have played college basketball

– I wouldn’t have met my wife

– I wouldn’t have graduated seventh in my class at the Naval Academy (from the bottom)

– I wouldn’t have ended up in VB

– I wouldn’t have started CrossFit under the coaches that I did and wouldn’t be working for CrossFit

– I wouldn’t have opened CrossFit Rife

– I wouldn’t be telling you this story.

I’m pretty happy with all of those things.