In school, they teach us to write. Then we use that skill everywhere we go -- the grocery store, the bank, the CF-L1. Some people write better than others, and somedays words come more easily to those of us who choose to use words to share our thoughts.
I share a lot of Casey on this blog, mostly because it's easier to write though tears than it is to relay a story over and over again through tears. Remember the Mickey story? Damn that mouse.
I played golf this morning with Casey's middle school teacher and his favorite para. And just like all those days they were gentle with Casey they were kind to me and my non-golf skilled self on the tee today. They see his strengths, his capabilities, his charm. Through the gel of knowing his struggles with Fragile X, they see what he's accomplishing, how he's grown, and are excited for his future. He starts high school in the fall, and he'll do it without the crew that he's been with for three great years.
We talked about how his course will change now from academics to life skills - a change I've fought tooth and nail from the day they asked him to bring a calculator to school in second grade. He'll move away from writing and math, to making grocery lists and paying for supplies. Still writing and math, but in real world applications.
It's like crying uncle. Surrendering. It feels like giving up. It's the death of yet another dream.
It's the day I put away MY dreams for Casey and start to embrace HIS dreams.
It breaks my heart yet it's exciting at the same time. Breaks my heart that he most likely won't do any of the things "successful" students do. He won't run for ASB president, be valedictorian, lead his team to victory, or keep his egg from cracking when dropped from 40 feet.
Instead, he'll high five everyone. He won't know a stranger. He'll spread joy throughout every hallway and sports field and pep rally.
HIS dreams, not mine.
My focus has to change from what I think he needs and I have to let my teenage son guide me. He has to be my pathfinder. He has to find his own way, not by himself, but with us, all of us, by his side.
Past, present, and future friends of Casey, our journey has changed course. Casey's writing his own directions now. We will be by his side every step of the way, but he's calling the shots.
We all had a Day 1. And many of us remember it vividly. The butterflies diminish but usually don't completely subside. Walking in the door the first time is one of the hardest things we'll ever do. "Practice" takes a long time and pays off in spades We get to remember the joy of learning new things. Accomplishment is fun. We meet some of our best friends here. We learn we really like lifting, or we really don't. We learn we really like running, or we don't. At all. We find something we're surprisingly good at, and more we completely suck at. We're OK with "sucking". We know we'll get it eventually We have plenty of time We start where we are- not where someone else thinks we should be. We can make it work, and we soon learn "scaling" means making it so. Those big weights aren't really scary. We have muscles in weird places. Improvement comes quickly. Body composition changed do not. Sugar is delicious, and not good for us. CrossFit has it's own language. And it's *way* easier than Latin. We can't wait to go back.
I have a regional hangover. Where elated and tired swirl together in a fog of “did we really just pull that off?”
There was a moment this morning when I wished I was walking down the blue hallways loudly proclaiming “good morning” to some sleepy faces. The 305 amazing faces who make up the very best CrossFit regional volunteer crew in the world. Yes, the very best in the world. How do I know that? I hear it from everyone who goes to all these events. The leadership, the vendors, the organizers, the biggies, the hired help, and the athletes. They all say we have the best crew, hands down. I believe them because every year we pull of one of the biggest CrossFit events in the world.
There are only eight of these. Eight. And we get one. CrossFit trusts us to pull off this critical piece of finding the fittest on earth, and while the competition is the primary focus of regionals, it’s become somewhat of an annual high school or family reunion. Once a year we see friends, catch up on happenings, snap a picture, grab a hug, a high five, or a beer. Once a year we come together and remember why we love this community. It’s full of rock stars.
If my job is planning, Kurtis shines in the execution. His job is the most important one at regionals- run a competition that finds the fittest athletes and send them to the CrossFit Games. Ever since the hill run in Aromas he’s been able to make it happen. There’s no one better at managing a competition and making sure what happens on that floor is flawless.
Regionals doesn’t just happen on the competition floor. It starts with a core group of planners, a tossing around of ideas, and a whole bunch of prepping for the unknown and unknowable. Heika took over as the volunteer coordinator this year and wrangled a rugged bunch in to a well oiled machine. She put together the team that made this the smoothest running regional yet. With the help of Leslie at the back door, Heika and Leslie made sure the needs of the entire event were met with volunteers in all the right places.
With the addition of the live feed this year, all of our guests could have chosen to stay home and watch the action but they would have missed the chance scream and cheer for their friends and they would have missed the biggest vendor village we’ve ever hosted. All those vendors have questions to be answered, needs to be met, shipping and receiving, set up, break down, and everything in between. Ezra makes sure they have what they need so you can try it on, test it out, and get what you need.
As we grow, our roles change even when our core crew doesn’t. The addition of chip timing has kind of pushed Pambo out of a job but we’ll always have a place for her – and it will be floor side because the view is unbeatable.
Every year we break a rule or two, and it usually includes bringing in big guns. Sharon is our staff photographer and she (and her large lenses that exceed the camera policy guidelines) captures not only the event but the behind-the-scenes action of our crew. We have an incredible record of all of these regionals because her eye captures so many of the special moments.
We may call them “security” and while part of their job is crowd management, it’s mostly finding and escorting our VIP’s, putting out fires, and some building liaison work. Whatever arises, Shon and his crew take care of it.
Meaghan has been with us every year and the year she retires, we will too. She’s been wrangling athletes since the very beginning and it wouldn’t be regionals without her.
Our equipment crew has been called “the best in the world” and they’ve even done the seemingly impossible. (a changeover in 2013 that everyone said couldn’t be done in under 15 minutes. They did it with time to spare) Headed up by the ever-steady Joe and his assistants Chris and Jim, the equipment crew makes magic happen. It’s the ever-present work horses like Cheryl who attend to every detail, plan ahead, and communicate with their huge crews and make the West region the equipment envy of the world.
Our needs change on the fly and we can always rope willing souls into a new jobs. Our pinch hitters this year were Brittney and Melanie. Brittney took over the signage lead and led that crew like and old pro. Melanie stepped into the paper delivery business and made sure the competition floor staff and all the production staff had the latest information from scoring. If you needed information, she had it.
We called in help from Canada this year and Jesse answered with a bang. His quiet manner and sly smile as our competition director kept everything running so smoothly. You’d never know in his relaxed state that a huge competition was clicking along behind the curtain and it was on target all weekend.
It wouldn’t be the Reebok CrossFit Games without Reebok and our old friend Matt was on the left coast again this year. He’s our liaison and he’s the one that provides us with all the crew shirts, the 25% crads, and all of the custom cards we award throughout the weekend. He’s also the one I go to with favors and harebrained ideas and he always comes through for us.
Our newest partner that I want to throw one more “thank” to is Centerplate catering. Our meals and snacks were the best ever and they were a great partner for the weekend, even if they nick-named me “special” which is just code for pain in the ass, I know. Each day they made me a wrap without cream cheese, labeled it “special” and kept it in their fridge.
I set out to write one of the quick, witty thank you posts for Facebook and it got a little long. But here it is. I have so many people to thank, many, many more than I mentioned here. So know that I stand in awe of what we all did- everyone playing a small part in this bigger operation we call regionals.
I’ll say it and I’ll certainly stand behind it—We have the best crew in the world. Thank you.
New CrossFitters are welcomed in to Rainier CrossFit just a few times a year. We're excited to announce open registration for our next class of friends! Summer On Ramp will run June 22nd - July 16th, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays at either 9am or 6pm.
We'd love to have you drop in for a free trial before you sign up, you'll need to email for an appointment!
We've just been hanging out, sipping cocktails, and not updating the blog...
One of the three is true.
The blog is nearing it's close here. The new website is almost complete and it's unveiling is coming. Once we're in our sparkling new home I'll be better about updating.
Honestly, the break has been kind of nice and I'll be ready to get back at it soon.
In our silence, the gym continues to be a place of enduring friendship, PR's and laughter. The doors have been open a few times in our spring sunshine and we're currently flooded with cottonwood floaties.
Regionals is getting closer and in two short weeks we unload our tractor-trailers and build the rig. It's a snowball rolling down hill and I'm just wrapping up the final details. I hope you plan to join us for if not all, at least some of the event at the Tacoma Dome. There's no better setting for us in the state and it's going to be off the hook.
I'm a little MIA right now, I know. But I'm around- and always here for you guys. Hit me up if you need anything!