The city began to broadcast, day after day, the sound of a metronome, reminding all that the heart of Leningrad still beat. The besieged city simply would not surrender… Treasures of the Hermitage Museum and other depositories were hidden away. The city turned into a vast garden, with people growing food anywhere a root would take hold. In 1942, with musicians and audience bundled in overcoats, composer Dmitry Shostakovich’s Seventh “Leningrad” Symphony was performed in the city’s Mariinsky Theater as an act of defiance. The citizens ate roots, rats, wood, books, glue, and each other. The city would not surrender.
–excerpted from “The Soviet Image” by Radetsky and Radetsky
Seventy years ago today the Siege of Leningrad, during the Second World War, was lifted after 872 unbelievably destructive days. The human toll of the Siege was over two million Russian casualties, fairly equally split between civilians and army, and over 150 thousand German. The German aim of the Siege was the utter destruction of the city and its populace, and communiques exist ordering the German Army to refuse all requests for surrender and to raze the entire city to the ground. But, as described in the quotation above, the citizens of Leningrad persevered until the Siege was finally lifted by the Red Army exactly 70 years ago.
I am often asked what is the best attribute to possess when starting CrossFit, or kickboxing or MMA for the matter. People always expect the answer to be strength or speed or power or something cool like that. But, while there is no denying that those three attributes are pretty awesome to possess, the real answer is quite different. Invariably, I always reply “perseverance.” It’s not a very sexy attribute, especially alongside strength or speed, but it is #1. Perseverance holds within its grasp desire, passion, and commitment, all three of which will trump strength, speed, and power over time, over a lifetime.