I’ve had a pretty lucky upbringing. My parents, family, and friends have always supported my dreams and aspirations. My dream, from when I was young enough to have one, was to play professional baseball. I dedicated countless hours to try and perfect the craft. Until that dream was turned completely sideways in late 2011. I was suffering from immense lower back pain and I tried to continue to play because I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from playing the game I love. As you might’ve guessed, that wasn’t my best decision. My last game before the pain became too much to bare, I went 2-3 with two home runs but I couldn’t even run to first base. I was diagnosed with Spondylolysis. I was born with a thin bone in part of my spine and over time it caused two stress fractures to occur, causing my spine to slip. My luck continued when the doctor informed me that I had two options: First, I could have surgery to fuse my spine back together or, take 6 months off and go through physical therapy to strengthen the area to stop the spine from slipping. He also informed me that I was never going to be able to play baseball again.
Just like a typical 8th grader, I thought that the doctor didn’t know what he was talking about and after I take my six months off I’ll be able to continue to play the game I love. That’s just what I did, but the result of the stress fractures left me extremely limited. I wasn’t able to squat, deadlift, and really do anything that put a lot of pressure on my lower back. All throughout high school, where everyone learns how to squat and starts to strengthen their legs, I was stuck doing all upper body exercises which I enjoyed so I didn’t complain. As the years went by my back continued to bother me and I was never able to play at 100% again. After my senior year, I had the option to continue to play at the next level, but after days of thought and weighing my options I chose not to pursue my dream in order to save my health.
Shortly after, I found my new goal. I wanted to become an officer in the United States Army through the ROTC program that my university offered. This became my goal because of multiple personal reasons, and I did typical gym workouts to try and stay “fit”. The moment I realized I’m nowhere near as fit as I thought was actually during an obstacle course that was at my university’s campus. My legs became jello and I was so out of breath halfway through that I wanted to stop more than I wanted to take another breath. I realized that in a couple of years I’m going to have a lot of lives in my care. I wanted to be fit enough that at any given moment I could pick up my comrade and carry them to safety no matter the weight, the distance, or what kind of condition I was in myself. That was my reason to join CrossFit and that stays with me every day I wake up, walk into the gym, and when I think about what I want to eat. Every goal I set is to get closer to my vague definition of fit. Will I ever get there? Will there ever be a situation where I have to carry someone and their life depended on it? I don’t know and I hope no one is ever in that situation, but there’s always that possibility and I will continue to better myself to stay prepared.
The biggest thing I want anyone reading to understand is that it’s not about proving others wrong, it’s about proving yourself right. Never set a goal or set out to accomplish something where your first thought is about beating the person next to you or trying to change someone’s thoughts/opinions. The only person you need to beat on a daily basis is yourself. Worry more about losing the fight to get one more rep, to continue to push when you think someone took away your oxygen, to continue to studying or working on a project instead of get that precious hour of sleep. We make countless decisions every day, but how many of those choices get you closer to your personal “why”? Never stop setting goals and working every day to achieve them. Never forget that goals take time to achieve and you’re not powerful enough to rush that process. “It takes twenty one years for you to be twenty one. Don’t rush the process, trust the process.”
My name is Kevin McEnery. I’m an EaDo Elite athlete, future Army Officer, current student at the University of Houston pursuing a mechanical engineering major and math minor, member of the EaDo Elite regional team, Crossfit EaDo coach, and son of Kevin and Catherine McEnery. As you are reading this I am fighting for the unknown, so go out, get closer to your goal and always remember to prove yourself right.