DOC’s story

I have fought through an emotional battle over the past 1 ½ years.  My Dad was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and was not given long to live.  He went through 3 rounds of chemo and 3 surgeries.  From the start he knew his form of cancer was rarely cured and he had about 18 months to live.  But he didn’t give up, did not quit and never complained.  He went to work up to the last 2 weeks of his life.  He was in pain every day.  There were days he was bedridden due to the pain and he could not muster enough energy to walk.  All that he said was “I can’t go to work like this.”  No complaints, not ‘Why me’, just “I can’t get to work” and you could tell he felt bad that he could not get there.  That’s a role model.  After 2 rounds of chemo and the third surgery we were hoping for a remission for years.  We got 2-3 months then a rapid decline in his condition. 

It was around my Level 1 test that we first learned of his poor prognosis.  I poured my heart and emotional energy into crossfit.  It was a great diversion, it was easy to forget about the stress of the day as the phone calls from home were getting more and more dire.  My frustrations were taken out on the barbell during clean and jerks, my anger was quieted by burpees and my emotions stabilized by “Fran”.  There was more than once that the stress of my fathers’ worsening condition, the phone calls from doctors and medical decisions being made, 2 babies at home and a busy surgical practice would bring me to the edge of sanity.  I told myself in those moments that “As long as I have crossfit, I’ll be fine.”  And it has been true and it has worked in supporting me.

But now that dad has passed and there is the calm after the storm I realized it is not just crossfit.  It is CrossFit Scottsdale, Luke, Najla, the coaches and the community that they have developed.  I could not have done this without them.  Thank you Ashley (AP) who when I started motivated me everyday.  He worked hard and never complained.  I could not have done this without Stu.  Stu is the model of determination and positive attitude.  If he can show up and work his ass off well shit, so can I.  And then there’s Ted.  During my first month of crossfit I said to myself ‘If only I can be as good as Ted.’  Ted – thank you for motivating me everyday and not letting me catch you. You are a remarkable athlete with great determination.  I strive to do what you do in the gym everyday.  I couldn’t do this without the 5pm Monday class.  Mark, Sean, Laura, Emily, Tia, Bob H, Chris E, Chris T, Brad, Eric, Mo, Mark, Bob V, Katie, Jaz, Dick, Stu, Ted, Nick, Carl, Erin and all the rest.  For some reason seeing the same people there had a calming effect on me.  I couldn’t have done this without Hell Week 1 and 2, thank you Jen D, Mike M, Frank, Dr. Sonya, Sensei and Kurt.  I have never heard a negative comment from any coach or student.  It’s genuine.  It’s bizarre really.  It has been positive and supportive and there are not too many places in the world that feel like this.  Yes, the world.

I have had a great many successes in my life.  We won the state championship in basketball during my junior year of high school.  I was recruited to play D-3 football and lacrosse in college.  I went through highly competitive medical training in orthopedics and hand surgery and have been mentored by world renowned hand surgeons. I have a wonderful hand surgery practice at a well respected orthopedic group.  I have been blessed to treat professional athletes and got them back to the field.  I have a beautiful and supportive wife with two angels at home named Brooke and Alexis.

Lastly, I have been blessed with the CrossFit Scottsdale Community.  Student of the year 2011 is on my list of great accomplishments.  I owe it to all of you.  Thank you Luke and Najla.  Thank you Tiff, Skip and Mel.  Thank you CrossFit Scottsdale.

 “Show up, Don’t Quit”

 Josh Vella
(aka “Doc”)

Share the knowledge: