I Am Able! ABLE Games 2023 in Fargo, ND

Watching others at their best has always been a rush for me. It doesn’t matter if it’s an unknown hopeful on The Voice – or a 10-year-old baseball wannabe in my neighborhood – or a new ice cream shop employee building a perfect parfait, there’s something magical about seeing someone attempt a task, and then rising to the occasion. In the past 12 hours, I’ve had the pleasure of watching people from all over the Midwest have a stage to showcase their best selves. The ABLE Games combine CrossFit movements with other workout skills to provide a stage that allows everyone an opportunity to push themselves and be their best.

I’m in a hotel in Fargo, North Dakota, as I type this. It’s freaking cold out. About 10F. Windy. Three feet of snow in most places. I’ve been on seven Uber trips in the past 18 hours, and every one of my drivers has complained about the weather. But, here is where the ABLE Games take place and it happens to be in March.

The ABLE Games give athletes of all abilities an opportunity to compete in challenging contests. ABLE Games is the regions’ first all-inclusive functional fitness competition that celebrates all abilities, from the highly skilled athlete to an individual with special needs. There are no barriers on the competition floor; just athletes giving it all.

Barbell complexes and rowing were today’s biggest challenges. And – in the past 12 hours, I’ve seen folks with Down’s Syndrome, autism and other disabilities, do the best they can with what they have. I’ve also seen some of humanity’s best athletes amaze everyone.

The coolest thing about all of these folks, no matter what their ability – is that their innate athletic gifts don’t matter much here. When it comes time to perform, we’re all the same. We all want to do well – no matter how many chromosomes we have. We all hope to PR, though we know it’s not always in the cards. We all want to get a little bit better, be pushed a little bit harder, and find that next tiny percentage of competence that eluded us yesterday. Watching others at their best – at all ability levels – was the order of the day.

NPower Services creates programing for people with developmental disabilities, and we’ve been fortunate to partner with Chagrin Falls CrossFit over the past year. This gym has done a ton of good to incorporate inclusive programming into their workout offerings. It’s hard to imagine a time when not everyone was included in activities that make us all feel invested in being alive. But – that’s been the case.

Now, people of all abilities are not only invited to participate in events like CrossFit style athletics, but they’re being celebrated for stepping up to showcase what they’re capable of. NPower is thrilled to be here at the 2023 ABLE Games. A huge shout out to Daniel Lynum, and the entire crew of TNT Kids Fitness in Fargo. They’ve done an outstanding job of staging an event that’s welcoming, challenging, and inclusive of everyone’s abilities.

OK – we’ve got another day of competition tomorrow. We’re off to bed!