Story Slam - WOD, Sweat, and Fears

Down the pandemic path, just months ago,

We were so suddenly forced to travel

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And each of us experienced unforeseeable changes

Watching the course of our lives unravel.

Retired and living amongst acres of wilderness,

This natural isolation left me quite blessed.

Just because people couldn’t gather together in 2020 doesn’t mean that they didn’t have stories to share. This year the Yorkton Arts Council’s Story Slam event went virtual, with five local storytellers submitting their story virtually.
This year’s judges - Michelle Goulden, Marj Dech, Calvin Daniels, Amber Harvey and Tricia Friesen Reed - each scored the submitted stories and in the end came up with one winner. That winner was C.V. Sastry with his tale Escape from Manhole.
This week we will be reprinting the submitted stories. To listen to them tell their story visit

I didn’t deal with the more common struggles

That left so many others harried and stressed.

I could walk miles of trails with my husband and dog

To fight the boredom of being stuck inside

Yet still I craved a high intensity workout

To deal with demons that wouldn’t subside:

Distress, negativity, anxiety, despair,           

Uncertainty in this pandemic ordeal.

Like others I faced these monsters               

Always lurking; my Achilles’ heel.

And so when the corona chaos led to shutdown

A home fitness routine became crucial;

And to ward off the mental health angst,

I became a CrossFit on-line pupil.

The bunkhouse transitioned to a gym space

To perform each WOD, or workout of the day,

And I collected whatever equipment I could:  

Mats, weights, rings, a box; all quite a motley array.

My coach assigned three WODS a week,

All different, not one ever to repeat

And while I prefer to embrace the comfort of routine,

Each WOD presented a new challenge to beat.  

Push ups, pullups, squats, lunges and lifts

The combinations and rep numbers quite daunting.

Could my body actually get through these?

Soon, in my dreams, WODS started haunting.

I’d lie if I claimed to be fearless

Before I began each WOD

But when the timer began I’d dig in

Sometimes with a plea for help from God.

Upon completion I’d often collapse

In a sorry human heap on the floor

Dripping with sweat, gasping for breath,

Could my body have endured anymore?

But along with this state of exertion

Came the thrill of completing a goal

And a post WOD euphoria would overtake

A power thrumming through body and soul.

Those demons, the naysayers with voices strong,

Striving to creep into my thoughts day and night

Disappeared with my joy, my achievement

After a workout they were easier to fight.

In April, doing box jumps, I suffered a fall

Through a deep gash, my shin bone gaped white.

One legged, on crutches, with stitches in place

My normal routines changed outright.

No more fresh air walks, no more bunkhouse visits  

The days found me mostly confined to a chair,

Watching the Covid crisis on TV,

All this brought on a mood of despair.

Oh those first days I felt I was losing

The struggle to fight arising depression,

Until the pain and swelling subsided somewhat

And I began to attempt some WOD sessions.

Up to the loft I’d crutch and I’d crawl

To pump weights and work up a sweat

These adapted WODS proved as tough as any

And I regained a bolstered mindset.

The injury drove home a valuable lesson

How quickly negative nasties appear

And the most effective way for me to battle their stealth

Is to perspire in my workout gear.

My leg healed and all summer I continued the WODS

Increasing my power, strength and speed.

I trained with the goal to run my fastest 5K

Though incredibly tough, I felt thrilled to succeed.  

Eight burpees, five deadlifts, ten kettlebell swings

No stopping, repeat again, again and again.

Continue until the buzz of the ten minute timer

Somehow in this chaos… I find my zen.

The Covid pandemic is far from over

As a second wave and winter both approach;

But I feel prepared as I wield my deadly WOD weapon

Sent to me online by my CrossFit coach.

© Copyright Yorkton This Week


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