Hang Power Cleans 1-1-1-1-1-1-1
Row 2 K
Vincent sent me an open letter to the gym. As you will see, CFR really meant a lot to him. You are all a part of what makes the gym great. If you had a chance to get to know Vincent or even if you didn’t, take a minute to read what he had to say about you and the gym community you have helped to build.
Vincent’s Farewell Letter:
As many of you know, I have moved to Jonesboro, Arkansas to start my career. I had the opportunity last week to say good-bye to many of you at the gym. For those of you that I wasn’t able to see before I left, please know that it wasn’t intentional and simply was how timing played out. I apologize in advance for the length of this statement, but feel that using a few sentences wouldn’t be doing you guys any justice.
As for my time at CFR, I would first like to thank Kyle and Alima for giving me the opportunity to train and learn at the gym and to be a part of such a great group of people. And the story begins. In March of 2012 Lauren Baker introduced me to Crossfit and put me through a 7-minute WOD that destroyed me. For the next few months after that, I played around with a few things at home and was against joining a Crossfit gym. Lauren constantly told me that joining a gym and being a part of a “community” would be a vital part of getting the true Crossfit experience. In Aug/Sept of last year I finally decided to join a gym and chose CFR due to the facts that Lauren was a trainer at the gym and that another gym closer to home didn’t return my phone calls or emails. I can’t lie and say that I was joining the gym to get the “community” feel Lauren spoke about. Having lifted weights on my own in the garage and at the UAB Rec Center, my mindset was to come in, pay, get to throw around bumper plates and get my work in and leave. Simply stated, I was dead wrong.
Having played competitively on many teams growing up, I knew what being a part of something bigger than just myself was. This mindset of being a part of something bigger never crossed my mind when joining CFR. My expectations were that everyone was there to do whatever it took to improve themselves. I quickly learned this wasn’t the case after my first WOD which I believe was “Elizabeth.” I worked out with Nick and remember that after “beating” me in the WOD he and Alima came over to offer me advice and techniques on how to improve on my movements. I couldn’t figure out why someone who I just “competed” against was offering me help and even said that next I’d smoke him. These types of interactions after WODS continued. After completing “Grace” at the Halloween Party, both Michael and Griff congratulated me and then instantly told me that I had used one technique over the one I’d chosen that my time would noticeably decrease. It was then that I finally understood what Lauren meant about being a part of a community and why it was so important.
Once I realized that my expectations going into the gym were wrong, I truly began to experience what it was that CFR offered. After quitting football, I never thought that I’d have the opportunity to be a part of a large team/group of people like those of you who I encountered at CFR. I learned that being a part of the community was more than lifting weights and getting PRs. It was going to Open Gym on Saturday and before working out catching up with people to see how their week had gone or to congratulate them on an accomplishment from the previous week. One of my first Open Gym experiences included meeting Hank. I can unequivocally say that they don’t make too many like him. It’s not often that a handshake, smile, and “how you doing?” displays a person’s character and leads you to want to be around and follow them. Hank could’ve asked me to run 15 miles or do 1,000 burpees with him and I would’ve killed myself trying to follow him because he’s just that type of guy.
Like hank, CFR has many great people that I consider it a privilege to be able to talk about. I can truly say that I’m going to miss my experience at CFR. I’ll miss the tough Saturday WODS that us guys subjected ourselves to, the pre-WOD conversations with Step and Bob that spanned from deer antler spray to tractors and trucks, Alima’s old school rap collection, and so much more. I don’t feel that I only gained workout partners, but at the same time gained many friends in the process. One person in particular not only made my CFR experience that much greater but at the same time made the last month in Birmingham one of the most enjoyable times I can remember and I look forward to what lies ahead (you know who you are). CFR offers an inviting atmosphere that not many gyms can rival. I was very fortunate that my last weekend in Alabama allowed me to attend the CFR picnic. Josh, we dominated corn hole and then a few minutes later you were bombing on me in a game of football. There’s nothing better than being around good people and good food. I’ve known for a while that I would be leaving, but didn’t ever expect that it’d be the gym and everyone there that would make leaving that much more difficult. I only hope that I was able to have the same impact on CFR that CFR had on me. I don’t want to be known only as the guy who put up good times or maxes. For me, it was coming in there and working hard every day while at the same time learning and being around great people who also came in with the same mindset. What kept me motivated was knowing that everyone in the class was going through the same type of pain and that me slowing down or quitting would be a slap in your face. CFR projects a team/community atmosphere and I embraced it. The night before Open WOD 13.1 I could barely sleep. It wasn’t that I was nervous about my own performance, but instead was concerned about not wanting to let the team down and doing whatever it took to hold up my end. One specific thing that helped me get through 13.1 (the 1st & 2nd attempt) was watching Peter snatch 135lbs and almost drop it on himself a few times. It would’ve been easy for him to quit, but instead he kept attacking the bar and knocked out several more reps. It wasn’t about a getting a number but instead was about laying it all on the line and knowing you gave it all. Anytime I got tired, I remembered Peter’s effort and went back to work. This is the type of environment that CFR bred and one that I was honored to be a part of.
In closing, I would like to thank all the trainers for everything they assisted me with during my time at CFR. It’s no secret that I’m a nerd and that I asked a lot questions about movements, technique, nutrition, etc. That being said, I thank you for the instruction and patience you showed me. I didn’t have the opportunity to train with Shane and Martin in class settings, but appreciate the help during Open Gym settings. It was common practice for you guys to see me working on something and come over to provide further instructions and a deeper understanding. Alima, in addition to training, you played a critical role in my nutrition. The nutritional knowledge you provided me with was key in my development in the gym as I truly learned what it meant to refuel my body. For the first time ever, you broke it down for me and didn’t hesitate in holding me accountable. Lauren, you introduced me to Crossfit and CFR. Words can’t explain the impact you’ve had on me. In addition to being a trainer, you were my classmate and are a great friend. In everything I did at CFR I wanted to make sure I never disappointed or made you regret introducing me to community that you first had grown to love. You provided me with the mental component that I needed to achieve my goals and taught me that patience and forgiveness will take me a long way as an athlete. Kyle, I’m positive that I spent more time with you before, during and after WODS than I spent at school this semester. I will forever be appreciative of the training you provided me with and ultimately feel that your teaching style and approach has allowed me to grow as an athlete. In addition to training, it was great getting to talk with you about everyday events, past experiences and anything else that came to mind. Being motivated to work and learn was much easier since I genuinely like and respect you. As you can see, each of you had your own ways that made my CFR experience one that I will never forget or take for granted moving forward.