In Parts One and Two of this series I thanked the people who organized the CrossFit Games, and the people who organized the Sea of Green, but I still haven’t addressed the amazing athletes that gave me the opportunity to help them achieve their goal of competing in the CrossFit Games.
I am deeply honored and grateful for each of the athletes who reach out to me for help. Let me explain why for those out there who don’t fully understand the relationship between coach and athlete.
Relinquishing control to a coach requires a huge amount of trust and confidence in that individual. It goes beyond trust in their experience and knowledge; it also includes trust that they care about you as an individual and that they have your best interests in mind. Top athletes in our sport dedicate 10 months or more of their year to being at their very best for two weekends each year. They spend 3-6 hours per day training, preparing meals and focusing on recovery. While it’s not the only job most of them have, it’s a huge investment of their time and energy. Asking for help managing that type of investment requires complete trust, confidence and respect.
To each of the athletes who allowed me to assist them in this journey to the CrossFit Games, I am humbled and appreciative.
I am acutely aware of the responsibility that comes with coaching these athletes, and it is what drives me to be better every day. Warranted or not, they have put their trust in me to assist them with their most valuable assets – their body, time and effort. I cannot promise them anything but my best effort to prepare and guide them, and in return, all I expect is that they give their full effort to realizing their potential. At the conclusion of the CrossFit Games, I am 100% satisfied that each of our athletes did exactly that.
For some of this year’s Games athletes, full effort resulted in phenomenal placements in the rankings. Success, however, should not be measured by rankings. In the words of coaching legend John Wooden, “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” By that measure, I could not be more proud of Aja Barto, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Caroline Fryklund, Cheryl Brost, Jenny LaBaw, Mike Ford, Tarasa Barnett, Valerie Voboril and each of the members of Team Invictus (Ayo Anise, George Economou, Justin Nahama, Kathy Borkoski, Katie McLaughlin, Nichole DeHart, Nuno Costa and Shane Farmer).
Finally, the members of Team Invictus deserve special thanks. These eight individuals are not only phenomenal athletes, but they are also some of my best friends. We’ve probably spent more time together over the last year than we have spent with our significant others. We set out this year on a very specific mission – to make training and competition fun, to support each other unconditionally and to help each other achieve our individual best. These eight individuals never wavered in their adherence to this mission. They understood that rankings were trivial by comparison. Their actions over the course of the weekend affirmed that they learned more over the last year than I ever could have hoped. At various points in the weekend, every team member had a low moment, and at each occurrence every one of their teammates was there to pick them up and reassure them. The outward result was a 4th place finish – our third 4th place finish in the last 4 years. But for each of us who understood the objectives, this was easily the most successful year Team Invictus has ever had. I could not be more proud of these eight individuals, or feel more grateful to call them my friends.