OPERATION: SEND TYSON TO COMIC-CON – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!! I never got the opportunity to go over the epic adventure that was Tyson’s journey to Comic-Con. So here it is…
I am blown away. Ecstatic. Still pinching myself. Tyson and his family actually made it to the USA, Tyson actually went to the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con International convention. I know that was the plan, but so many things had to go right in order for it to happen. You guys that donated, rallied, joined me on the events, all of that unimaginable support, are a MASSIVE, MASSIVE reason for the successful ending to this story. The entire plan couldn’t have gone any more perfectly. AN UNPLANNED WIN You guys helped raise an absolute boat load of money, which enabled his entire family to go afford to go with him, plus me as his chaperone (I renamed my job description as Tyson’s personal Sherpa, as my primary job was to carry the goodies he would haul in each day of the convention). Operating the Petrovic family is a tough job. They’re a big family, they all work so well together to help. But the challenge of helping Tyson get around from place to place, or feel like he is not missing out on their day to day is a massive task. They do it because they love one another, it’s no big deal… but the daily challenge would certainly take its toll on all of them. Many sacrifices would be made daily… whether it is Tyson missing out or sitting on the sidelines while his siblings enjoy activities, or it is his siblings miss out in order for Tyson to be a part of what they are doing. Very rarely can they do something for everybody to enjoy. This trip enabled everyone in their family to have a holiday. While Tyson was having the time of his life at Comic-con, being as selfish as he liked (and damn well deserved), his siblings and parents got to enjoy activities that Tyson simply could not do… whether it was jetskiing, swimming in the pool, enjoying theme park rides… they were allowed the opportunity to have a holiday guilt free. Tyson couldn’t care less what the fam’ was doing, he was at COMIC-CON! I didn’t foresee this opportunity in planning, I am stoked that it turned out this way. Even the opportunity for myself to attend… my flight was an ‘if-there-are-funds-available-only’ deal… In the end the funds probably weren’t available. But Tyson desperately wanted me to attend, and because I came it again gave his parents the chance to kick back while Tys and I soaked in all the awesomeness the convention gave us. THE CHALLENGE Old news now, but the 4 days went brilliantly… Yes they were hard, exhausting, I am still a little battered in the knee, but all in all, I smashed it. I wasn’t concerned with the huge workload I had set, I desired the outcome so badly that the very extended state of physical discomfort was perceived as just that… discomfort. I can handle 4 days of discomfort for a lad that is in discomfort every day. It was no big deal and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. In saying that, thank f’ for CrossFit. I couldn’t have been in better condition thanks to a program that not only develops your fitness into an elite level, but educates you on the major importances of safe and efficient movement, nutrition, mental toughness, variability of training styles, balanced development of all 10 components of fitness (not just cardio OR strength), ability to adapt to adversity… I could go on. I didn’t have to change much to my training to be ready.. I just upped the volume, upped the food intake, and swam. A LOT. But then again, if it wasn’t for my CrossFit training I don’t think I would have been able to transform my distance swimming in such a short period of time (2 months). I had the fitness down pat, I just needed to get the technique and we were good to go. So! The challenge was great for me personally, and my development, particularly my mental approach to big tasks and achieving a goal. It was certainly the biggest goal I had ever set and the most well planned and implemented. I used the W.H.O.O.P.I.E. goals system I first came across in a ‘Chasing Excellence’ podcast with Ben Bergeron, I have found it to be far and beyond the best system yet to getting stuff done! Since my implementation we have been using it in the gym and it has certainly helped so many of our members get on track make leaps and bounds towards their desired goals. But beyond me, it was incredible, it brought so many communities together… CrossFitters (from several boxes), swimmers, runners, friends and families of our closest friends and families. The challenge inspired others to work harder on their health and fitness, which was an awesome by-product! And of course it helped us raise the insane amount of funds we raised. It went perfectly. COMIC-CON The convention was OFF THE CHARTS! Never have I seen something so massive, so many people, so much to see and do, it was easily the biggest operation I had experienced.. To manage over 100k people for 4.5 straight days was something to see. It was like running the AFL Grand Final 4 days in a row, with 50x the ‘things happening’. Right from our arrival Tyson’s mind was blown. The exhibit room was jam packed with stalls from his favourite tv shows and movies, pop-culture art, collectibles, t-shirts, the lot! The hall was almost twice the size of the Melbourne convention centre, and there was not a space left unused. The convention runs a jam packed program, spanning across the 2 storey convention centre, as well as about 5 surrounding hotels and halls. There are panel discussions on every upcoming tv show, movie and game. As well as discussions about every in and out of the pop-culture world… costume design, online gaming, geeks on fleek, equality, community, even those guys that dress up like knights and do reenactment battles were there. There were uncut film screenings, themed activity spaces, photo opportunities, autograph halls. There was something for everybody, from the geekiest geek to the casual viewer of Marvel films. It was impossible to not have a great time. Even the local restaurants were comic themed, screening absolute classic movies while you dined (Return of the Jedi and The Dark Knight at the same time!) The major panel hall, Hall H, was massive. This was the room where all of the biggest upcoming shows and movies were previewed and discussed. Here is where all of the biggest directors and actors in Hollywood would get to sit down and enjoy a laid back chat with their biggest fans. Hall H seated over 6500 people, but when you have 100,000 people attending the convention, seats weren’t so easy to come by. If you wanted to catch actors like Samuel L Jackson, Bruce Willis, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Hardy, Ryan Reynolds and John Cena in the flesh, you had to camp out all night to get your spot. It was mental. It blew my mind that people would do that… but then I put it into perspective… If I had to camp out for Richmond grand final tickets I would in a heartbeat… this is their thing, of course you would do it. Tyson and I were unbelievably fortunate. Luckily for us the United States has the American Disability Act (ADA), pretty much ruling that everybody must make a damn good effort to aid those that are disabled. It meant Tyson was always looked after in tight areas, people would always look out for him as we navigated the crowds, we were barely cut off by people and when we were people would apologise profusely. Contrast this to a Doggies AFL game in Melbourne, he is constantly cut off and ignored. I didn’t realise how bad it was until we were treated so nicely in San Diego. And it is such a simple act, it is purely an acknowledgement that able bodied people need to be a bit better with our disabled brothers and sisters. And that’s it. Australia can definitely take a leaf out of the Americans book. Because of the ADA, Comic-con had set up a specific line for the disabled to enter Hall H. We still had a few long lines to endure and would occasionally watch thousands of able bodied people enter the hall while we patiently waited, but we were able to get into that hall whenever we liked. We got to experience the cast of The Walking Dead, see previews for epic films such as Venom, Bumblebee and Glass, and listen to these big named actors (yes Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson) chat about their films and their lives. Tyson and I couldn’t have been more grateful for what he was able to experience over those 4 days. We absolutely ‘clocked’ it. I don’t think we could have packed in any more awesomeness than we did. Tys saw his favourite stars in the flesh, he shopped up an absolute storm (2 suitcases worth), we just nailed it. Again, this couldn’t have gone more perfectly. THANK YOU None of this could have been achieved without the generosity of all of you who donated to the GoFundMe Page, or here at the gym. Whether you donated $1 or a few thousand, every one of you is the kind hearted, selfless person that makes this world such an amazing place. You guys gave this lad the ultimate experience. The joy I was able to see him in every day there was perfect. I wish I could have bottled it up to share with you all, it was perfect. Thank you all so so much. I hope you enjoy these pictures. I posted a tonne of content on my Instagram story each day we were there, and saved them at the end of the day… but they didn’t seem to save correctly. If I find more I will post again for you all. Thank you, you’re all bloody legends. Stu
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