Like most people who choose to begin CrossFit, I never thought, not even for a second, that this was something that would become a major part of my life (major being an understatement). CrossFit quickly became my passion, and now I simply can’t imagine life without it. So how did this happen?
Growing up I had tried out most recreational sports, but was never really interested in pursuing any of them. That is, until I found baseball. My younger brother had always played so one year I decided to try it out. It definitely didn't come easy, but it was something I really enjoyed doing so I practiced. It got to the point where all I wanted to do was practice. I wanted to be the best. I worked really hard in hopes that someday I’d make it to the pros. I remember making 11 year-old All-stars and realizing that I could actually be pretty good. I started to work even harder. I played on travel teams and went to batting/ pitching lessons. I tried doing all I could to better myself as a ball player. When I made the high school team my freshman year, I quickly realized how talented all the other kids were. I knew that being one of the smaller kids I would have to get bigger and stronger just to keep up with the others.
Around that same time, Ron Sams starting talking about this new hobby he had found called CrossFit. No one really knew exactly what he was doing at the time, but he loved it. Ron told me CrossFit was the key to taking my game to the next level. So of course I had to try it. If Ron thought CrossFit would make me hit the ball farther and throw the ball harder, then why would I not at least try it, right?
And that’s where it all began. I remember that I would get home from baseball practice and ride my bike straight up to Ron’s house for a workout. He would have me get loose first, which was always the worst part. He told me how stiff I was and explained that proper stretching was just as important for me as lifting heavy weights. His words didn't make any sense to me at the time, but the thing I remember most about the garage days of CrossFit were all of the countless hours going over proper barbell technique.
I just could not understand how all of this boring work with a PVC pipe would help me to hit the ball harder and throw faster (which was all I cared about at the time.) We would spend most of the time going over the clean and the snatch, usually without any weight, and always ended with a workout in the backyard. My favorite part was afterwards we’d always jump in the pool to cool off.
After cooling off, Ron would bring me inside the house and give me “homework”… stuff to look at online and practice before next time. He would show me videos of these two guys that were apparently pretty good at CrossFit. One was Rich Froning, 2010 2nd fittest on earth. I was supposed to watch how they did certain movements and copy them. I remember not really caring much about any of that because all I wanted was to lift heavy weights to be a better baseball player. Simple enough, right?
Fast forward to the end of 2012. Ron decided to start making his dream of having his own CrossFit gym a reality. I still didn't really understand the whole CrossFit lifestyle, but I was stoked about helping him with this new project! The first step for us was to find somewhere, bigger than a garage, where we could workout and to get others to do it with us. Doug Headrick (a YCF 5AMer) was nice enough to let us use his barn as our location (even though he had no clue what we were doing.)
We began working out in the barn in February, and quickly after that came the CrossFit Open. I remember completing 13.1 and then Ron said I should check out the online leaderboard to see where I stacked up against other athletes. It was then that I first realized how CrossFit was more than just a workout program, it was actually a sport too! When I saw how far down I was on that leaderboard, it really inspired me to get better at the actual sport of CrossFit and not just do it to get stronger for baseball anymore. I think it was that moment that I really started to understand and fall in love with CrossFit.
The last couple years of high school were spent playing varsity baseball and dedicating time in the box trying to improve my CrossFit skills. Without much thought, my passion had changed from baseball to CrossFit. After graduating high school in 2014, I no longer had the desire to further my baseball career. I was happy with my new found passion, and that’s what I wanted to pursue. Although I still love baseball, and still enjoy playing occasionally, I can’t imagine my passion ever being anything other than CrossFit.