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The Bell Curve: A Tribute to Jarrod

We all know Jarrod Bell.

I’m sure we can all agree that he is one of the coolest cats on the planet. His knowledge combined with his soft-spoken nature makes him very approachable to anyone. He is one of the originals in the CrossFit community – stretching back to his days of training at the original Santa Cruz box and Coach Burgener’s garage in 2004.

I have been approached a few times recently with the question of how I met Jarrod. And I thought I would share that with you guys.

In the spring of 2009, I was back at home from a semester at Albion College and still rocking the workouts with Brian at Bishop Foley. As I was trolling the main site like I always did (and still do), I found out there was a CrossFit affiliate in downtown Royal Oak. Having never been to an official affiliate before, I was eager to take a visit. However, upon arriving at the corner of 4th and Lafayette as the directions stated, the only building I could find that resembled a CrossFit affiliate was an Unlimited Fitness gym. As I drove by, I noticed a small sign in the window: “CrossFit Training Inside.” I could not believe it. I was about to walk into an official CrossFit gym. The thought that there were more people in the area that did CrossFit besides just Brian and I was very appealing. But I was soon to realize my expectations did not even come close to the reality of the situation.

I walked in the entrance to find a room full of machines. And by machines, I mean the ones we make fun of all the time – chest fly, leg extension, that stupid one where you sit down and press the handles forward. You name the useless piece of equipment, they had it. So in the midst of my confusion, I reached into my bag of social skills and asked a bystander if there was CrossFit training in the building. I was directed to the back aerobics room where I walked in to see this scary-looking guy on a ladder fixing what appeared to be pull-up bars nailed to the wall.

“Can I help you?”

“Nah, man. I’m just looking around.”

It certainly looked like CrossFit was going on at some point, but it was rather uninspiring. There were some bumper plates on the ground, parallettes on the floor, barbells in the corner, kettlebells, and even a coveted GHD machine. However, the space was very limited – smaller than our original weight room at Foley. Seeing as nobody important seemed to be in the vicinity, I decided to do a little test run on the equipment and worked on some kettlebell swings, dips on the paralletes, and GHD sit-ups and back extensions. Then I made my way over to the whiteboard where I saw the times of the benchmark workouts posted. And I noticed that not one time came close to any of Brian’s best times – let alone the pr’s of this cocky 19 year old.

Final verdict: this place blows. I’m outta here.

Then, the scary-looking guy on the ladder came down and introduced himself to me.

“Jarrod’s the name.”

To this day, I wonder what he was thinking when he saw some random white kid just jumping from equipment to equipment with like he owned the place. After some small talk, I came to realize that he was the affiliate owner and had some pretty decent knowledge of CrossFit. So just to humor him, I figured I’d ask for some coaching tips.

“I did notice you weren’t getting full hip extension on the swings,” he noted.

To which I replied, “’Full hip extension’…what’s that?”

The coaching was on from that point. He took me through the Burgener Warmup and the some squat therapy and my mind was completely blown. It turns out I had been squatting and Olympic lifting wrong for over three years.

After that initial lesson, I made periodical visits to his gym and met great people like Wendy, Michelle, Eva, Daniel, Neal…and yes, even Hillary in the process. I would always pick up great coaching points from Jarrod that I could use in my own training and he wouldn’t hesitate to allow Brian or me to swing by and use his equipment if the main site called for it. What was interesting to me was the fact that he never, at any point, asked for anything in return. It’s almost as though he was just a plain old fashioned good guy or something.

Over the course of the next two years, that was protocol.  I go to Jarrod’s, learn something I was doing is completely wrong, and then apply that to my own training, and the Champions Club when that started – this includes our transition away from the acceptable 20% sloppy form rule in November of 2010. Anyone remember what form was like before then? (I’d rather not talk about it.) They would make occasional visits to our place also. Jarrod, Hillary, and Daniel even participated in our controversial Super Bowl workout in February 2011 in which our squad got completely robbed of a victory. (I don’t want to talk about that one either.)

One of the integral parts in the Champions Club’s relationship with CrossFit BMW was the Lifts 4 Gifts event last December. The event was Brian’s idea and he coordinated pretty much everything. But since the space we were training in was too small (and the school didn’t want us to even participate in the first place), Jarrod offered his gym to host the event. If I remember correctly, that was the first time many of our people got to meet him and the athletes at his gym.

However, I’m sure everyone knows the most important role Jarrod played to our family. I’m not going to go into too much detail because we’re past it now. But upon hearing the news about the people who couldn’t train at the school, both Jarrod and Hillary stopped by and offered their gym as a place for the outcasts to train – completely free of charge! I had to force (even trick) him to accept some money. Marianne, Mrs. Pip, Mr. Carey, Anita, Jesse – you guys would have not had anywhere to train from March through June if Jarrod had not been so generous.

What can I do to make my friend’s life better?

From that point on, they were in. Benchmark Workouts was just as much a part of the Champions Club family as anyone else. We worked together that entire spring as Jarrod and his crew made us feel welcome from the start. Furthermore, events like the Easter Beaster team workout, Tribe Wars, and CrossFit for a Cure fundraiser strengthened the relationship between gyms. And even as we moved out of his gym and into our current location, Jarrod remains an important part of our community. Ranging from teaching Ryan how to properly bench press, to letting us use his spot to avoid the pesky inspectors, to filling in for me when I hurt my ankle, Jarrod has never hesitated to help out the Champions Club any way he can – whether it is a convenience to him or not.

And that’s why I know that if we see some of the Benchmark Workout crew at our gym the next few weeks, we will be as welcoming to them as they have been to us.


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Reader Comments (31)

Quite possibly the best picture of the summer, besides Carl and the Junkin Jive rope climb of course

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEm


October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSyd

Yay more friends!

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAly

It's so crazy how much he is willing to help us out when your first impression with him was THAT. haha. Can we have Jarrod tell us his story sometime?

October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterNicole Murley

Jarrod's first impression: geez another skinny kid looking for the Zumba class. Man, i need to get out of this gym and get my own place. (After seeing Chris messing around on the equipment) geez this skinny kid better not hurt himself on my equipment, I guess I better say something.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFunny guy

Better yet: how about Veronica's first meeting.
Veronica: oh my it's ranger. Oh by the way I am a biologist.
Jarrod: oh thank you.
Jarrod: (Whispering to Chris: what is she talking about)
Chris: just nod your head yes.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFunny guy

Proud of you

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterObnoxious Owen

I don't like this "Owen" character stealing my thunder.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJacob

Is it that hard for people to post under their own names? I would suspect it was Brian, but there are no run-on sentences.

October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterChris Sinagoga

Jacob - Every obnoxious act is a cry for help

Chris - What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterObnoxious Owen

You know what they say when you assume? Nothing, because you are always wrong. Save your run-on jokes for track!

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

The only running joke around here is that chris doesn't love anita (we all know the truth). get it? it is running because it has been going on since FOREVER.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian T

Hey Chris,

Tried sending you this in an email this morning but kept getting rejected. Gonna try to post it here in hopes you can see it.

Glad we all chatted this morning... and definitely glad you are open to ideas. I'm happy to help in any way possible to make things transition easier and willing to be a sounding board for ideas if you need an additional one.

Here's the link to my DL video (not sure if you'll be able to see if since it's on FB, lemme know if not)... would appreciate any input you have... viewing it myself, I would say I definitely have a bit of a 'stripper lift' problem but my back angle/shoulders look decent (405,425,445, 455 looked better but not good, 465 was ugly).

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterN2B

What up Matt!

Sick lift my man. I can guarantee I could not even budge that thing. Unfortunately, by our standards, we would've dropped you way down after the first lift. Aside from the high-class stripping, you never got into a good position from the start. I'd liketo offer this quote from the one-and-only Mark Rippetoe.

"The reality of the situation is that when a lifter reaches the point where the amount of weight lifted becomes more important than increasing strength—when you lift as a sport, not to strengthen for another sport or for general fitness—you will be lifting enough weight to get hurt. Any competitive sport is dangerous; lifting as a sport itself is competitive; and that’s just the way things are. Lifting for strength and conditioning is different, and much, much safer."

Here is an example of where we would call an athlete:

This is Sydni from Summer, 2011 doing a 3 rep max deadlift at 225 lbs. First rep was ok. Second got a little sloppy in the low back. And third you could clearly see the low back not hold position. Typically, I would count this in the official books, but would not allow her to go any higher.

On another note, I'm glad you guys stayed to talk too. Feel free to do that whenever. I'm happy to clear anything up that needs be.

October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterChris Sinagoga

And Brian you are right, I'm ready to admit I love Anita. So here goes nothing...Anita, you are the bees knees. Will you go steady?

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris Sinagoga

Not cool!

October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterChris Sinagoga

Guys, Anita just text me and said no :( that's why I said not cool.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris Sinagoga

proud of you chris. takes a real man to admit his feelings like that.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJacob

Hey, I know when to go balls to the walls. I took a chance. I just hope she will reconsider man, she is my whole world ya know?

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris Sinagoga

Chris and Anita sitting in a tree, Chris fell out and sprained his knee
Anita called the doctor and the doctor said,
Are you sure he didn't fall on his head?

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFunny guy

It was my ankle! And can't we be kissing in this tree? Pretty, pretty, pretty please!

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris Sinagoga

Mr. Wonsil, is there any way to add like a profile pic or avatar to the name of the person posting? I think that would solve this problem.

October 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterChris Sinagoga

It's all fun and games until Chris gets involved

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFun Police

My Avatar would be a picture of chris!!!! I could downsize the blown up picture I have on my wall! Great Idea Chris.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnita

You people need lives for posting all of this... And I need a life because I read every single one of them hahaha.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMurley Burly

speaking of like, I have never met a metcon over 30 minutes I didn't like. Panther Pride. RAWRR!

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMurley Burly

4 rounds
3 deadlifts
2 power cleans
3 push press
rest 5 minutes, repeat

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetcon Mikey

Chris, your failure to recognize Obnoxious Owen's Shakespeare quote disappoints me! Did you learn nothing in my class? But with some work I do think we will be able to get your brain working again. Always remember, my dear young men and women, this IS an attainable goal!

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Caste

I only had you for one semester Mrs. Caste. I spent most of my literature days mocking Mrs. Ripley or reciting my classic written poems in Mrs. Sienkiewicz's class.

October 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterChris Sinagoga

Where do you stand on the Berenstain Bears?

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Ripley

I used to like them a lot. ThenI found out I hate reading.

October 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterChris Sinagoga

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