We made our journey to Carson, California to support our family member Jeff Goebel. As you remember from my previous blog Jeff has had a life filled with tragedy and turmoil but he always seems to come out on the other side due in large part to his deep rooted faith in God. Jeff went into the Games with an amazingly positive attitude and said throughout the entire competition that God’s will, not his will, would be done.
Jeff had an amazing following of people make the journey to Carson to support his battle for the coveted CrossFit podium. His supporters raised the roof off the stadium every time Jeff took to the competition floor in stadium (at one point my daughter texted me and said “mommy we can hear you on TV y’all are so loud). We wore matching shirts and held our “Jeff heads” with pride during every WOD. Jeff held strong to his faith throughout the entire competition and asked for our prayers every morning to help him meet the will of God at the Games.
Jeff's 1RM Squat Clean
As Jeff entered the last day of the Games he was sitting solid 3rd place and was looking strong for his second Games finish. He completed the first WOD of the day with a 2nd place finish that only further solidified his run for the podium. We all made the trek to sit in the Tennis Stadium to ensure we had seats at the finish line to watch him take his place in CrossFit Games history.
His group came to the top of the stairs and started the trek down the stairs, we all looked and Jeff was not in the group. We were shocked and could not understand what was happening. A hush of whispers ran through our group because we were all so worried and could not understand what had happened. We started to exit the stadium to look for Jeff when we were informed he had injured himself during the warm up and medical would not clear him to compete because he had likely torn his bicep. To say the least, we were devastated, not for ourselves but for Jeff. He had worked so hard to get to this point and the coveted CrossFit podium title was within his grasp but was jerked away from him at the last minute.
We all found Jeff standing at the top of the tennis stadium and he was crying in the arms of his amazingly supportive wife. He saw us all coming towards him and tried to pull himself together but I can promise you none of us had any expectations of him being able to stop mourning this devastating loss. As we approached I saw this amazing resolve settle over his face. He looked at this group of 40+ people with tears in his eyes and said “I have said since the beginning that not my will but His will be done and this is His plan for me so therefore I will accept this fate.” He then turned to us and said I am going in that Tennis Stadium to support Ron Ortiz because if I can’t win I want to support him in his quest for the podium because he is an amazing man and competitor.
We have all reflected on what happened to Jeff over these past few days. His mother posted a story on Facebook about how she took him to see his great grandmother when he was only an infant and she said he would “grow up to be a preacher one day.” Jeff is an amazing person with a deeply rooted faith in God and his plan for his life. We have witnessed him deal with his injury with grace and peace. He has told us the he is on a path trying to discover God’s will for his life. He said “I said from the start I would accept whatever outcome God had planned. Don’t feel sorry for me. I am blessed beyond measure. I have family that loves me and friends who support me. I got my chance to glorify God today, I will continue to do so, God is good.” Jeff is a shining example of how to face a difficult situation with grace and faith. As we all move forward I would challenge us all to take the same stand when faced with serious adversity.
Jeff says he is done competing at the Games. He wants to let his arm heal and try to figure out what is normal without training 3-4 times a day. He feels in his heart he has accomplished his goal of glorifying God. In my heart I know Jeff is a true competitor with the heart of a lion, I guess we shall all see what God has in store for him and if he will make another run at the Games.