On a recent episode of SOFREP Radio, former Navy SEAL, CIA operator, and current professional firefighter Frumentarius briefly addressed the transition all firefighters must eventually make toward “fighting fires like an old man.” As he pointed out, over time, your body stops recovering like it used to, and if you can’t adjust tactics to suit that shift, you’re career as a firefighter will likely be short-lived.
Although my life experiences are vastly different from Fru’s, that sentiment reverberated in my mind for days as one of those universal truths you only stumble across once in a great while. No matter what you do, the slow transition of time will force you to adjust your methodology to suit your body’s capabilities. In many cases, we’re given ample opportunity to make those small adjustments as we go – changing how we do what we do so little each day that, looking back, we can hardly notice the change, though we can certainly recognize the difference overall.
Injury, like aging, forces a shift in how you interact with the world, and how you face the challenges of your day-to-day life, and much like aging, over time you come to absorb those shifts in methodology into your subconscious, until walking with a limp feels so natural, so second nature, that it’s just walking to you.
While at Atlanta Motorsports Park for the 4th of July this year, I was approached by the race track’s owner and asked if I’d be willing to participate in a big wheel race though a portion of the track before the fireworks. I knew I couldn’t fit on a big wheel. I knew I would almost certainly crash and live the repercussions for days. I also knew I’d probably never get the chance to ride a kid’s toy around the same race track that usually features Vipers and Ferraris, so I agreed none the less. The $500 purse that would go to the winner, I’ll admit, might have also served as some motivation.