Just like the first few years themselves, I feel like these last two weeks of reminiscing about the old days have come and gone, and here we are already at Year Three.
First of all, our third year marked our second location, as we quickly grew out of our 500-sqft space and graduated to a big-boy space near Matapeake Beach. Those that have seen both locations know that of course we have a lot more “room for activities” at our new spot, but the cozy feel of the old gym is missed sometimes. We’ve also had a terrible time with water leaking in the front of the gym when it rains (pretty sure buildings are supposed to be waterproof) and we’ve been visited by more wildlife in this more rural location (plenty of birds, prehistoric dragonflies, a squirrel, and even a couple snakes have entered the gym without a membership!)
Here is a picture of Everett getting the new location ready. This may look like unfair child labor laws since it’s so dark, but we didn’t have any lights yet and this was actually at noon!
As we built the space out, we also felt the need to cover the huge bare walls. Josh, a former Navy linguist and current environmental scientist, has at least one more hidden talent – he is a brilliant artist! Josh can take a rough idea and very quickly turn it into a creative image. Over beers one night we came up with the plan, “our gym slogan is ‘Get Awesome’, and my last name is Wolf.” Within a couple days, Josh had several versions sketched out on his computer of what would be our first mural. Those of you that have seen it in color on the wall and on our t-shirts can appreciate the simple but elegant and energetic design, and I thought it might be fun to look back on where it all started. Josh also created, drew and painted on the wall the CFKI trident that towers above the squat racks, as well as several shirt designs. Thanks Josh!
Not long after opening up our new location, we learned that one of our members, Brian, was very sick. His two sons had been working out with us for a while to get ready for their lacrosse seasons, and he had recently also begun to get into CrossFit himself. He hadn’t been to the gym in a while so I called him to follow up. We didn’t know at the time exactly what was up, but he knew he was too weak to workout. Brian was diagnosed with polyarteritis nodosa (PAN), a super-rare disease that attacks multiple organs and the immune system. It is so rare that although the most effective treatment option is chemotherapy, which Brian started immediately after his diagnosis, his insurance company refused to pay his hospital bills because he was getting chemotherapy when it was “not medically necessary”. Having a background in health insurance (and fighting health insurance companies on behalf of hospitals), I got to work on his medical claims. We also decided that we needed to do something to help Brian and his family out with their financial situation in the meantime. In November of 2014 we hosted an open competition named “Fight For Brian” that featured three workouts and a great lunch and get-together afterward. We were able to provide Brian and his family with over $9,500 in donations from our members and his friends and family. As I write this, I am still stunned by that figure – that our small community could generate such a big financial response to a crisis. But as you will see in future posts, at CrossFit Kent Island we consistently rise to the occasion when one of our community, our family, is in need. We discovered in November 2014 that one of our core competencies, and indeed one of our values, is Service.
In Year Three we also added a new coach, who had been WOD’ing with us for about a year. Dana was an immediate lock as a CrossFit coach because of her great weightlifting and gymnastics technique, and her experience as a middle-school teacher. If you wonder why a middle-school teacher specifically would be a good CrossFit coach, just look and listen around the gym at the maturity level of our athletes as they’re warming up…
Dana, her husband Jimmy, and their son Ashton were a huge part of our CrossFit Kent Island community in the first three years and into the fourth, when unfortunately for us they moved to South Carolina so Jimmy could pursue his dream of managing a big-time race track. We love that they are doing so well in Darlington, SC, but we sure do miss them!
As we continued to grow our membership in the new gym location right next to Matapeake Beach, getting outside for a WOD was a must, either right behind the gym in our new huge parking lot (you can see here that it was not fully done yet), or at the beach itself. We are truly blessed to have so many outdoor areas to express our fitness on Kent Island!