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Posted: September 10, 2015

Honoring Their Service...Remembering Their Sacrifice

Honoring Their Service...Remebering Their Sacrifice

Hey guys...Coach Greg here with this month’s addition of coach’s corner and I am looking forward to talking to you a little bit about something that strikes very close to my heart. Now some of you might know this but September is a very special month for me, and no it is not because it is the greatest birthday month ever (though I feel very strongly that this is a true statement). No to me this month holds a deeper meaning, one that defines me as a person.  On September 11, 2001 we as a country suffered a great lose, and I am willing to bet that most of us reading this right now can remember the moment of when we heard that god awful news.  America had been attacked, a sucker punch if you will to a blind eye. I was 10 years old when 9/11 happened I can remember sitting and watching in my classroom as innocent people jumped from building and rubble fell from the sky. None of it seemed real to me and I do not think at ten (yes this proves even more to most of you that I am a baby) that I fully understood the magnitude in which it impacted our country.One good thing did happen that day though, at least to me. I received my calling. This calling was the duty to serve others before myself. It is this calling that I feel led me into the career and position I am today.

Most of you may know me as a crossfit coach or as that silly kid that tells you to do endless amounts of burpees or countless reps of deadlifts all while yelling at you to keep good form; but what some of you might not know is every third day I trade in my gym shorts for bunker banks and serve our community. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that Mandeville LA has nothing on the call volume that the men and women of NYC, nor have we gone through such a catastrophic event, but watching and reading stories of what those men/ women did inspired me to become who I am today. There was a total loss of 2,977 people lost in the attack of 9/11, 343 of these were NYC fire fighters (some of you might have noticed this number on my arm, now you know why), along with 23 NYPD.  These men and women that died did not blink, did not second guess, they went in to do a job. A job most of them knew they would not return from that day. Some were lost in rubble, some trapped in flashovers. Everyone of them went down giving their last breath, not to save their own life, but to help their neighbor in their time of need. This to me shows true sacrifice, it shows character beyond any measure, and those are the traits I try to live my life by today. 

At 19 I dropped out of college to join the fire department. I thought I was in the best shape of my life, I could bench 315 lbs, do countless amounts of push-ups and had abs only models wish they could have (Just kidding but I totally thought I was hot shit when I looked in the mirror and that is the SAD honest truth). What I didn’t realize is that I could hardly run over a mile without being completely exhausted, my legs looked like chicken thighs and I had the strength to match them. And my countless hours of partying, drinking and smoking till the sun came up were not going to prepare me for a goal I had set for myself all those years ago. I had what most people would view as a goal with no direction of getting there.

Now to get hired as a fire fighter there are a few steps you have to take, one being a written exam. That was fine... study a few books and BAM you have a score good enough to summit out to fire dept throughout the state. Step two was where I found my stall point for a while. Remember that endless party guy I told you about earlier, well lets just say I partied a little to hard before my first fitness test and missed an opportunity to get hired because I was to busy puking behind a bush. This was a very big turning point in my life. I was now 20 years old now, out of college for a year and feeling that I was lost. I had decided to move back home and get my act together. So with some money I had saved up I joined Delgado and enrolled into an EMT course to try and build some credentials for the fire service. Also after my sad defeat on the fire fighter entry course I knew that I needed to get into shape and fast. This is where crossfit entered into my story and I have never looked back since.  At 20 years old I walked into class my first day (this was before intros and elements it was more of a throw to the wolves kind of mentality) I witnessed men and woman working out but in a whole new way than what I was use to. There was not a single mirror to watch myself do curls in or squat racks to hang my towel on while I did a set of bench. This was a dirty warehouse with box fans and sweat covered mats, and after a being beaten what felt like an hour, throwing up the beers I had drank the night before, and getting passed by every soccer mom in Mandeville on our 200 meter run it was time for class to start. Somehow I survived day one and for some unknown reason wanted to experience this feeling again. I slowly began to progress, I saw myself changing, and the long nights of partying slowly became less and less. I found myself passing on parties to study and workout. I had truly “drank the koolaid” and there seemed to be no turning back. After about 6 months I decided to go get my level one and start coaching.

CrossFit shaped me, changed me. I was a totally new person, at 21 years old I was fit and ready for my chance to serve the community. I was able to finish school and pass the board exam to get my EMT patch, also while doing this I had gotten another chance to interview for the fire Dept. After my embarrassing show case last time around I was determined to show that I had what it takes to call myself a fire fighter. I smoked the course setting a record pace, only to be broken later that day by someone else, but hell I gave it my all and had proven to myself that I could do this job. I received a letter inviting me to my first of two interviews, guess most of you know by now I passed through these and now work for Mandeville fire dept also known as STFD #4.  I had finally made my goal set by ten year old me, to serve others before myself.

Two things are for certain...I love what I do and without crossfit (and my parents) I would have never been able to achieve what I have today. I believe that we all have a story like this somewhere inside of us. A story of defeat and triumph. I witness it almost every day in class as I watch someone getting a new PR on an oly liftor climbing the rope for the first time. I can honestly say that I love serving you all as a community, member, and friend. I challenge you though this month to do something outside the norm for a total stranger, to go above and beyond what is expected and do something extraordinary for someone else you barley know. And remember you are never too old or too young to chase the dream you once had! 

Coach Greg