“Let’s go man!”
I’ll set the stage.
We’re competing in something we call the Intramural Open. It’s a gym-wide 5-week competition, where all of our members are broken up into 4 different teams, and compete in things like workout performance, team spirit, and social media challenges. It’s the 2nd one we’ve done, and things are already going better than the previous year. We’re in week 4 (out of 5), and it’s become pretty clear that only 2 of the 4 teams can win the overall championship at this point, so the competition is getting a bit more heated than it had been.
My team had won the previous year, and this year we (The Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) were currently sitting in 2nd place, but only by 1 point. Another team (the jerks in green), were winning. The workout for this fourth week, involved VERY heavy box step-ups, and a brand new movement: STRICT handstand pushups. This was a totally new movement, that few athletes had practice with, so it shook up the leaderboard a fair amount. It’s now Friday night, about 6:45pm, and almost every single guy in the gym has gone.
We basically know the layout of how the points are gonna go, and who’s gonna win the week, barring any major surprises. I’d managed to magic some strict handstand pushups out of nowhere, and I was currently sitting in 3rd place overall (the last spot eligible to get my team some extra points for the week). To say that this workout was not a strength of mine would be a massive understatement, so I was very proud of the accomplishment. And there’s only one heat left to go.
In walks Rudy. Rudy is on that other team (those jerks who were wearing green), and he’s great at handstand pushups, and he’s literally the last guy who can knock me off the podium. I’m walking around coaching people after my go at the workout, cheering, offering tips, high-fiving, and then Rudy comes to try and steal all my glory. He starts the workout. It becomes very clear that the heavy box step-ups are going to be a problem for him. I have mixed emotions. I’m a competitor, I want to win. More, I want my team to win. Rudy’s my friend, and a hard worker, and I want him to do well.
Rudy gets off the box, and has very little time to move on to the handstand pushups. This is supposed to be his strength, but he’s very obviously gassed. He knocks out a couple reps, then falls off the wall. Goes up again, does the same. I do a quick mental calculation. I look at the remaining time on the clock, the amount of reps he needs to beat me and take the podium spot, and the amount of reps he’s getting before he falls off the wall each time. He ain’t gonna make it. I’m good. Unless…unless someone motivates him. Someone helps him alter his plan on the fly, guides him in the right direction, so he can properly use his strengths and athleticism to the best of his ability. But I’ve won, I’m gonna get the points, my team is gonna win, and we’ll be in position to win the week and hopefully the whole competition. I wouldn’t jeopardize that, would I?
You bet your ass I did. I got right up in Rudy’s face while he was upside down, waving and drooling and yelling “COME BACK DOWN,” and “GO BACK UP,” using his breathing patterns and muscle fatigue to help him get his best possible score. That jerk beat me by 3 reps. And I was insanely proud of him. Because I’m a Coach. I love to compete, I love to challenge myself, I love fighting for a win.
But I’m first and foremost a Coach. And I did what a Coach does. What every Coach at CrossFit Cape Coral would’ve done. I helped my friend be the best version of himself that he could possibly be.
Nick Habich is the Owner and Head Coach at CrossFit Cape Coral. He is a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer, a Certified Athletic Trainer, a Licensed Massage Therapist, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
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