Gratitude Fridays: Where It All Started

Posted: March 29, 2019 in CrossFit, Training
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
In March of 2010, I sat down in a leasing office to sign my name on the dotted line at my new apartment, when the employee looked at me and said, “CrossFit, huh?” She told me that she had been seeing that word (that was written on my shirt) pop up more and more over the last few months. “I know,” I told her, “this fitness program is going to be the next big thing!” She let me know that there was another person in the complex that was into it, and that I’d probably recognize him because he was huge, had red hair, and was always smiling. While I was excited to hear that another person nearby did CrossFit, I was far too stressed with work, unpacking a new apartment, and trying to find where my new gym would be (since I moved across town) to try and hunt down some stranger.
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Fast forward a few weeks. I was getting ready to compete in my first-ever CrossFit Competition; the 2010 Mountain Sectionals. I was simultaneously nervous and really pumped, and to make things even more exciting, the night before the competition in typical “March in Denver” fashion, it snowed. A lot. This was particularly interesting since one of the events on the first day involved an outdoor run component. After heading outside to scrape the snow off of my car the next morning, so early that the sun was still down, I was ready to go. I pulled out of my parking space but before reaching the end of the lot, I noticed someone else scraping their car. This person was huge. And while I couldn’t see whether or not he had red hair under the beanie he was wearing, he was definitely smiling. This *had* to be the other guy in the complex who did CrossFit, I thought to myself.
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Mustering up the courage to introduce myself to a complete stranger (which I don’t know about you, I find a lot more difficult to do as an adult), I rolled down my window and asked, “are you on your way to compete at Sectionals, too?” “Yep!” he said back through his smile. “I’m Tom,” I told him, “I’ll let you warm up your car and we can chat when we get there.” “Sounds good,” he said. “My name’s Kevin, by the way.”
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And that was the day I met Kevin Ogar.
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After a proper introduction at the event, we hit it off, hung out together for a large portion of the competition weekend, and it became immediately clear that this guy had the kind of magnetic personality that just pulled people in. Strangers were walking over to introduce themselves to him and saying how impressed they were with his performances. He was going out of his way to compliment other competitors and, when they asked, he would give them feedback on how they could move better.
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Later that weekend, we talked about when we started CrossFit, where we trained, and what we did for a living. I shared that I worked out alone in a Bally Total Fitness, and that I’d get some pretty strange looks running from the treadmill area back to a barbell to do some deadlifts and then back to the treadmills. Kevin mentioned that he was actually a coach at a CrossFit gym, and I told him that I had been considering getting certified to coach, myself. Without hesitation, he walked me over to the owner of the gym where he worked and introduced us. After a few conversations with her, I was told that once I completed my training certification, I was basically hired. That was it. I was going to be able to coach CrossFit. I couldn’t believe it!
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For the next few years, while working five days a week at my “day job,” I’d also coach CrossFit two to three evenings. Each new member I brought in felt like a victory. Each PR I watched made me feel like I had done it, myself. I started to see the positive impact I was having on people’s lives, and it was so rewarding. Then, one day, I was given the opportunity to coach full-time. While it was one of the scariest decisions I’ve ever made, I jumped at the chance. I haven’t stopped coaching CrossFit since.
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As we look back through particular moments in time, we can rarely grasp the true impact they might have on our lives. That one moment, saying hello to Kevin in the parking lot of our apartment complex, helped shift the course of my life to get me where I am today.
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Today, I want to thank Kevin Ogar for selflessly helping me get my first CrossFit coaching opportunity in 2010. I also want to thank all of the gym owners who have trusted me along the way to do my best to add value to their businesses. It’s a risky move allowing a new face to come in and work with your members that you’ve worked so hard to attract, and I’ve truly cherished each opportunity. Finally, I’d like to thank each and every athlete with whom I’ve had the privilege to work; especially those of you that followed me from gym to gym. Your friendship and support meant, and still means, the world to me. It still blows my mind to think that I’m doing what I love for a living, and that it’s still as rewarding now as it was when I first started.
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Life is pretty good, and I’m thankful that mine has taken this trajectory to lead me where I am today.
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My reason for writing this post is to hopefully inspire you to think of someone who has positively impacted your life and tell them! Even if they know. Remind them again. The impact that it could have on them today could be far greater than you could ever imagine. If you want to share that story with me, or tag them on this post, I’d love to hear about it!
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The picture below is from my very first day at the gym where Kevin helped me get hired. We did a workout together, he destroyed me (as he always did), and I was thrilled to finally have a CrossFit gym to call my own! Good times.

 

CIA CrossFit.jpg
Comments
  1. Kyla Bullock says:

    This is GREAT Tom. Along with your post, it’s funny to think about what got me in the door at CrossFit. Gosh… over 7 years ago now, the gym I wanted to go to did 3-month memberships, and at that time it would have been $300 to join. I was also broke, had just purchased our first home and so I asked my parents for that for Christmas. My mom thought that was a crazy price, but knew I really wanted to do it. After that third month, I found ways to pay my membership because I loved it so much and haven’t left yet. Emailing my parents right now to thank them. Thanks for this post Tom, and happy gratitude friday. 🙂

    • Smashby says:

      This post makes me so happy! It’s amazing how we can tell ourselves that something is too expensive, or too time consuming at first. But then, when we realize the positive impact it can have on our lives, we *prioritize* making it happen. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say I’m really glad you prioritized CrossFit and stuck to it! Thanks for emailing your parents, too! That’s what this is all about to me. Happy Gratitude Friday (Saturday now) is right!

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