Future Wireless Technologies Forum and the CrossFit Regionals

That pretty much sums up the strange dichotomy that is my life!

I think I’ve said this before but there was a time in my life when I was very much into CrossFit. I would wake up every day and look forward to the class. Because it’s a cult, and the half of my social life revolved around it.

Of course, half my life still revolves around it, but in a different way. Nothing else would get me out of bed at 5am to go to the gym.

But I’ve had a problem, for a very long time, and that problem is my shoulders. I’m no longer so foolish as to do a workout if it causes me injury pain. But the problem that I discovered when seeing a physio who is apparently one of the best shoulder experts in the country, is that if my shoulders are weak and compromised than even things that don’t hurt will cause damage because I’m not strong enough to be stable in the right positions without recruiting incorrect muscles.

It all makes sense now, which was illustrated in no small degree by trying to hold a 15kg bar in the low hang position … and after about 10 seconds I couldn’t properly stabilise it. Being in the right position fatigues my small muscles to the point where I can’t even use them!

So, I was told in no uncertain terms (the physio being a quite straightforward Afrikaans lady), the day before Regionals that if I wanted to get better afterwards, I was not to do anything that hurt, I may not do muscle ups, and legless rope climbs only if I was sure I was in a good position the entire time. Oh and I might have something called a SLAP lesion, which put the fear of noncompliance into me good and proper. She even said my one shoulder was in a “horrendous” position. No. Not cool.

So, the CrossFit Regionals was pretty well a disaster. It was good for one thing and one thing only: getting used to leaving my ego at the door. I’m not used to finishing near the bottom, but that’s what happened.

My only decent performance all weekend. Photo from The CrossFit Games.

My only decent performance all weekend. Photo from The CrossFit Games.

Snatch? Well, my psoas was acting up and I couldn’t snatch at all two weeks prior. Handstand walk? Not a strong point, and now I also understand part of the reason why (shoulder stability & proprioception problems). Muscle up workout? No. Legless rope climb? Couldn’t practice, then when I could, I re-injured my left shoulder. Handstand pushup/front squat workout I did pretty well on, as expected, the chipper my weakness in the ring dips from not being able to do them for a year caught me, and then the final workout which I was so looking forward to, I ripped my hand on the pullups and somehow couldn’t even clean the 60kg bar. That was embarrassing.

What I learned? It is my one time a year to feel like a semi-pro athlete and I thought it would be fun to just go out there and have fun. I was wrong. One does not enter the competition floor to have fun.

You go to play, or you don’t bother. Lesson learned.

I thought this would be more fun than Fittest in Cape Town. I was wrong. It was just as dreadful.

One of the few photos to come out unblurry. Dreadful lighting!

One of the few photos to come out unblurry. Horrid lighting!

One of the most heartbreaking things of the weekend though was watching Jason Smith. My goodness: to be defeated by one event and know that every second that went by was part of your dream slipping away. I guess on the ladies’ side as well we had Nicole Seymour who won 5/7 events, most of them by a mile, and lost by 1 point overall. If she’d snatched 5 pounds more she would have won.

Small things: those are what gets you.

Well, off the rings and bars and almost everything and onto the rehab so I can finally get fixed. It is a relief, in fact, to have a plan now to fix the shoulder. Should have seen a specialist long ago. None of the other stuff matters if you aren’t strong or healthy enough to stabilise your arms and the weights you are throwing around. It’s a wonder in fact that I even can do a bodyweight overhead squat if I can’t stabilise a 15kg bar properly.

My awesome friend Lara

My awesome friend Lara

On a more positive note, it will be interesting to see just what happens when I do strengthen and heal.

I will say this: the after-party was fun. For many reasons but mostly to spend a different kind of quality time with some people I care about.

The big event of the week leading up to Regionals was the first of the WAPA Future Wireless Technologies Forums. This was an industry get-together, the first of its kind, to connect the Regulator ICASA and representatives from the governmental body formerly known as the Department of Communications (we think, but are not sure, it is now called the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services), together with industry, to talk about spectrum, licensing frameworks, interference, and business cases.

I remember when I didn't know anything on this slide!

I remember when I didn’t know anything on this slide!

The event was a huge success as indicated by pretty much everyone involved, and I learned quite a few about a part of our industry I knew little about. Insights from the day can be found here.

I also began to understand better some of the challenges of getting things done, and the politics involved. The press commentary on the event was also quite interesting.

It’s quite strange, my two different worlds.

This week was also the end of a beginning, in a way, and since I knew that was coming it was a bittersweet time.

For many reasons I’ve been thinking back to when I began. How little I knew of how the body worked, or how I worked as an athlete. I always knew I had grit; what I lack is finesse. That is still true; and that lack of finesse is becoming a problem to be tackled. Because that’s what you do with problems: you either ignore them and hope they go away, or deal with the consequences if they are unimportant to you. Or you pull yourself together and dive in to do what must be done.

How little I knew of telecommunications. My one friend will frequently mention how when he first met me, he had no idea what I was talking about. But he learned, and quickly.

When I first began at Skyrove I had no idea what I was doing. But I learned.

Enough to pitch talks on the subject of digital privacy & security!

Enough to pitch talks on the subject of digital privacy & security!

Although at the end, the ones who understood me are the important ones. I could care less about the respect of someone who I don’t care about or respect. But those that I do? To disappoint a friend or a staff member or a partner or a customer, or someone who has been kind to you and placed their trust in you?

You know what? The Klingons had one thing right. Honour above all.


  • “Vermont? Isn’t it close to Missouri? Oh, wait. Missouri is in Canada.” – Paul
  • “Cross-what?” “CrossFit. It’s a fitness cult. Never mind.” – Paul & Ellie
  • “Where are you from?” “Vermont.” “No, man, Vermont’s not a state.” “When you find it let me know.” – Paul & Ellie
  • “Oh my. I should Tweet that. I just got called Voldemort’s spokesperson.” – not Voldemort’s spokesperson
  • “Just keep fighting. Keep fighting as hard as you can.” – Sam
  • “Money now is better than money later.” – Victor
  • “Do I count as young?” “Barely.” – Ellie & Sam
  • “What did I say? Dark fibre and backhaul?” “Yes.” “Next time we’ll talk about co-channel interference.” “Sick!” – Ellie & Rey
  • “Bill Clinton is my favourite policy wonk.” “WHAT? I thought I was your favourite policy wonk!” – Brent & Ellie
  • “You’re in trouble.” – Greg
  • “We played with this stuff four years ago. We still can’t do anything with it.” – Angus
  • “The assignment of spectrum on an exclusive basis is a 1960s model. I’d like to get away from that model.” – William
  • “I’m going to start calling you ‘the other Smith brother.’” “Yeah. It’s annoying.” – Ellie & Rick
  • “Every time I saw you come off that bar I was thinking: ‘Yes! Your shoulder is still in one piece.’” – Lorinda
  • “The dark horse can always win.” – overhead at the CrossFit after party
  • “My nutrition was flawless this weekend.” “What? Pizza and beer?” – Rick & Ellie (excluding the pizza & beer)
  • “Yes you are. Now we just need to teach you how to drink.” – Rick
  • “We’ll have ten tequilas.” – Rick

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