This past July, Team Blacksheep had the opportunity to compete at a local Crossfit competition known as Rep Your Box in Jacksonville, FL. Jacksonville is home of the Headquarters for the Wounded Warrior Program and yet, no adaptive athletes have ever competed in Rep Your Box even though it’s been around for 5 years. For the past 3 years, Team Blacksheep coach Mandi, has competed in this event; this event requires 4 athletes (2 male, 2 female) to perform a series of workouts, programmed in advance and released just a few weeks before the competition. This year, Mandi put together a team that consisted of one of her male partners from last year’s competition, as well as Team Blacksheep teammate, Mike and Mike’s coach, Maria out of StrikeHard Crossfit in Hinesville, GA.
Jacksonville, FL has a huge military presence; they have two Navy l bases, a Marine Reserve base and an Army base. Having trained several Wounded Warrior Project veterans, it has always surprised Mandi that she hadn’t seen any adaptive athletes in local Crossfit competitions. That all changed this past July. Team Blacksheep, consisting of Adam, Mike, Maria and Mandi, made quite a stir at Rep Your Box 6; it’s really hard to ignore the only athlete competing in a wheelchair. But what really blows people’s minds is when Mike gets up out of his chair and begins performing squats, dumbbell snatches, box jumps and even single-unders.
You see, Mike is 100% paralyzed on his left side; he has an orthotic that allows his leg to bend and move with the movement of his right leg. Even though Mike has no intention or desire to be the center of attention, he doesn’t mind it as long as it inspires someone to become a better, fitter version of themselves. His goal (and the reason he wanted to be a part of Team Blacksheep) is to inspire adaptive and non-adaptive athletes alike to step outside their comfort zone and just try to do something to challenge themselves physically.
Team Blacksheep fought their way through each event with fierce competitiveness, but also made time to enjoy themselves, laugh and spend time together with their families in-between workouts. There is nothing more important to this Team than family and that’s exactly what they have become.
Project Black/Team Blacksheep