Early Days Snatching
Early Days Snatching with Coach Match


Last week I went to two different shoulder surgeons, both highly recommended, though Dr. Peter Campbell seemed to get top billing. A few of my Crossfit mates here in Perth have had their shoulder work done by him and were pretty adamant about me choosing him…

Hang on… I’m sorta getting ahead of myself so I’ll back up a bit: As most of you guys/gals know (and for any 3TWO1 newbies), I’ve been desperately doing everything possible to avoid a surgery on my right shoulder. The interrupted healing process, downtime from work and training, massive inconvenience…even missing the chance to compete in the 55-59 Masters for the upcoming 2013 Reebok Crossfit Games were all major reasons to say “no”.

Now back to my surgeon’s office: Going into each meeting, I was looking forward to hearing that the tear would repair in time. That the damage under my AC joint would also improve with rehab rather than the cutting and pasting of a procedure.

But both surgeons said EXACTLY the same f’g thing: “Your shoulder is showing what I’d expect from a guy that has lifted and used his body hard for the past 30+ years. You need an acromioplasty and a partial tear repair. If you are happy to curtail your current form of training, then don’t get it fixed. But if you DO want to continue lifting, trying for Muscle Ups and Handstand Push-ups, Burpees, Snatches…train and improve and compete at a high level then get it done.”

Did I mention this is not what I expected or wanted to hear?

Picture me gob-smacked after that second meeting (for my USA friends, “gob “= “face”). As I walked down the hall to set the appointment with Dr. Campbell’s assistant, I started to feel a bit sick to my stomach, almost like I wanted to cry. Suddenly it was getting very real. I’ve never stayed in a hospital and the only surgery I’ve ever endured was getting my wisdom teeth out when I was 19 and some stitches for a gym-related encounter between my chin and a Pec Deck (a story for another time).

Yes, I was freaking a bit about the hospital. I was sad about how my body was letting me down. I was disappointed at the prospect of not doing the lifts I love. I was pissed off at how the universe was treating me. And it was the anger I grabbed on to. I was not going to take this shit lying down nor was I going to just give in to moping around feeling sorry for myself.

Thank god I’m a pragmatic dickhead about these sort of things. I sucked it up, made a few jokes to the surgeons staff, entered the procedures date in my iPhone and left the docs to do a WOD at the box. I was late for the workout and unfortunately missed it…thank you Coach Match and Coach MJ for letting me join you in your WOD afterwards. I really needed that bit of normalcy and CF intensity.


There ya go, folks. I’m getting an upgrade. Until the surgery I intend to kick up my training hard and get in the best possible shape I can so I not only survive the surgery, I’m gonna thrive!

For example, I bought an Altitude mask to help my conditioning. I’m planning on weekly death-runs with my mates Matt and Jeremy (if they put up with me). I’m going to talk to Coach Match about adding 1-2 Strength training days per week. Gonna eat better, sleep longer. You know what? This is the time for MY “Games”, the 2013 Neil Games and preparation is everything.

I might be wounded and there will be painful rehab to do. But ultimately I am not going to be beat. And to paraphrase Arnie, I WILL be back, stronger than before.

Now if someone can help me figure out what lifts to sub for a Snatch I’ll get this shit going!

Masked Man 2


2 Comments Add yours

  1. kikerchef says:

    I have one thing to say. You are a badass. And I love your altitude mask. Even MORE badass!


    1. ninjaneil says:

      Haha!! I wish…I’m really only a badass about these sorts of things. I got a soft side too. Should see my Crossfit Teeshirt collection.

      And yeah, the mask does look pretty badass on. Too bad it keeps beating me; still can’t do a full workout with it. It reminds me of training at D-Town in Denver December 2011. Lotta fails in those WODs. I’ll get there.


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