I scale everything because I need to. I am unique, just like everybody else, but at my gym, I’m the only person who comes to classes and is over the age of 60. So that makes me an outlier. I’m not the norm, I’m way off the end of the curve.

A few weeks ago, two of us showed up for a brutal WOD and we were given the same half of the WOD to do. Me, because I’m old and feeble, and the other woman because she was just returning after surgery. We each managed to do 55 slam balls and 155 step-ups. It took me only slightly longer. She was happy and did all she had wanted to do. I did half the WOD as written and felt defeated. We did the exact same things, but in my head, I was a failure.

We have a program where you can enter your scores and then it ranks them with all the RX people from lowest to highest times and then all the non-RX people from lowest to highest times (highest to fewest reps, depending on the scoring). It is called the Leader board. But there can only be one leader. For me, it is a loser board. It is optional to post there and so I don’t except for that one time when I managed to RX a weighted WOD and then I didn’t even care that I had the lowest score, I had an RX score.

I hate the white board. I put a raw score up there and my number sits. If I’ve scaled just the weights but leave the rep scheme the same, I have scaled up there, but when I cut the reps back then I put “masters” on the board. But still, what is there is a bald faced number. More often than not, the worst number on the board.

And I’ve been gaming that number to my own detriment. Today, in a fit of sanity not seen in ages, I did the workout for me rather than the white board. I knew I could scale the move from knees to elbows to V-ups and get a higher number. But one of my goals is to get a pull-up and doing knees to wherever I can manage to get them is better for getting to that goal than V-ups. So even though I knew it would give me a lower number on the white board, I did what was better for me and my goals.

The white board is supposed to give you a sense of community and it might do that for those who can put great numbers on the board. But for me, where everything is a struggle and my heart rate is a problem, I don’t have great numbers.

Last Wednesday, the WOD was ground to overhead with the goal of 10,000 pounds for men and 7,000 pounds for women. Since my clean and jerk weight is 42#, that would have been 167 clean and jerks which was deemed excessive. So I only had to do 4,000 pounds which meant 95 clean and jerk. Because of my heart rate, I have a limit of three at a time so it took me over 30 minutes. There was one young guy who did his 10,000 pounds in ten minutes and some seconds. That is tremendously awesome. But so was I. Frankly, none of my friends who are my age could put two tons overhead. But as excited as I was to complete the modified WOD with fantastic form all the way through, it was still in the back of my head that I did less weight and took for damn ever. Three times the fastest time for less than half his weight.

And even in victory, joy can be diminished by the numbers on the white board. I try not to look and I try not to care. The white board has never been a motivator for me. It is only disappointing and humiliating. It is my wall of shame, day after day and year after year.

I inspire people by my dedication and continued presence. I work as hard as I can every time I show up and I show up religiously. I whine and I cry and I pout and I come back and do it all again, simply to be low man on the totem pole. New people come in and zoom past me in a matter of days or sometimes it takes whole weeks. And there I lag, struggling and plodding through. And there are my scores, week after week. Crappy scores, although they are improving with time just as I am. I can do so much more now than I could three years ago. Which sorta lets you know exactly how bad my scores have been over time. All these years later and I’m still the oldest and still the crappiest.

Except that’s only when it is a raw score on the white board. There has to be another way to measure success or failure. Inside my head, I know that I’m rocking this shit. Not because of the scores and not even because of my status as only old fart there, but because I consistently show up and I work at improving even while feeling overwhelmed and totally defeated.

This has been a test of character for me. I was always one of the smart kids in the class, the one with the high scores on the nonexistent white board of the classroom. In that setting, no one would force the dumb kid to advertise his score on a test next to what would have been my superior score. But somehow, I find myself in a place where my score is broadcast amidst the young and the fit and I even have to say when and how I made the “test” easier to accommodate my feeble old self. And I still keep going back.

By the way, I met my goal today. I wanted to get 150 reps and I got to 153. In my head, I was a success. On the white board, I’m going to have, if not the lowest score, then damn near to it. It’s hard to stay positive like this.