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Entries in coach t shepherd-er of the sheep (56)

New Graduate: Katie Budo

Yesterdat morning Katie Budo finished her 3rd and final Fundamentals session with me and as subsequently put in her 2-week notice at her job and karate studio in order to train full-time with us before heading off to the Marines' boot camp in November.

Budo was well ahead of the curve coming into Fundamentals - even moreso now that T teaches unweighting for cleans in his classes - and we conensed quite a few sessions. Pose running, and other skillwork took her a long time to get, and she gets fatigued way quicker than I thought. But her base of strength and technique definitely has her in a good place and ready to rock out at the classes. Welcome to the Champions Club Katie!

Ghosts of Champions Club past: a senior version of Sam Butcher

New Kid on the Block: Katie Budo

Coach T's shepherding comes through again, this time with Warren Mott senior Katie Budo. She's been into martial arts her entire life and has actually been on the top of mine and T's recruiting board for over a year. She finally decided to pull the trigger to join earlier this week because she enlisted in the Marines and needs to be ready by November. Today was her first day.

Considering Katie's extensive time spent learning midline stability, loading order, and laws of torque in Lifetime Fitness, she's going through a condensed Fundamentals session. We did Days 1, 2, and 3 today all within an hour and some change. We'll do handstands, kipping, and other skills next session, then wrap up with some running and unweighting. I'll check back in after Day 3!

New Kid on the Block: Aleese

Aleese Heinzman is a Wayne State student and currently a student teacher with Warren Mott's P.E. program. Mrs. Bass, Mr. Shiff, and Coach T recommended her and two other student teachers come my way for some intro lessons to get them a background in some of our philosophy. Aleese is the first one to follow through so far, and she is actually on board to join the gym!

Aleese was born in Columbia, South America, grew up here in Michigan where she did competitive gymnastics early on and went on to win a state championship in long jump at Avondale High School. Her background has really prepared her well for CrossFit in terms of movement, now we just need to develop her endurance and stamina. We're two session in so far, so I'll check back in after Day 5. I have high expectations for this one!

Beast Mode: Woorden at States

This morning Danielle Worden had her State Championship powerlifting meet in Ionia (where exactly that is, I have no idea.) She competed in the 123-lb. weight class, which is two classes under her 145-lb. weight class from last year. Both her and Coach T were hoping for a top-10 finish. She didn't quite get that.

She got 3rd! Her total was 540. You can see the full results here.

Needless to say that is good for All-State honors.


As it turns out, there are now a few people from the Champions Club who know where Ionia is.

At the crack of dawn, Mrs. Bennis, Mr. Bennis, Mrs. Tara, Shakes, Sam, Josh, and Mallory met up at the gym and made the two hour trek to the meet to see Danielle compete for the last time in her high school career. I am continually humbled by the community we have here, and this is just another example of that. Thank you guys for taking the time on a Daylight Savings Sunday to make the Champions Club better!

New Kids on the Block: Hunter and Zack

Coach T comes through again and brings the Champions Club two great kids; Hunter and Zack Stein.

Hunter is a freshman at Mott and is in one of Coach T's Lifetime Fitness classes. He's a hockey player and showed really good technique in class, so Coach T got on the recruiting trail and worked to get him on board. Once I talked to the parents, I came to find out that Hunter has a twin brother, Zack, who goes to International Academy and also plays hockey. So bonus for us, they're both on board!

Hunter is definitely ahead of his brother in terms of technique because he has Coach T for 5 hours every week. In fact, if it was just him, he'd probably be the closest person I've ever seen to skipping Fundamentals - especially since T is teaching unweighting and Pose running in his class now. But Zack is no slouch and is picking up rather quickly. His work capacity might even be a tad bit better than Hunter. Both are serious about playing hockey in college and beyond, so hopefully we can help them along their way.

They finished Day 2 earlier tonight. We'll check back in when they're done.

Untitled/Unedited Rant from the First Night of Turf

For those new to the sight, U/UR are a series I started when Eminem was about to release Marshall Mathers LP 2. It's just me feeling compelled enough to write, but lazy enough not to edit. Once A period is struck on the keyboard, editing is off-limits. Here'stonight's. Dang it!


I know I'm a control freak. I've always known I was a control freak. But Christ On Ice I have never had a full appreciation for the extent that it is true up until tonight. Crystal's knees come forward on a lunge: okay let's fix it. (Or maybe she won't - she's going on 10 years and she's doing just fine.) Owen pulls with his arms early on a clean: okay he's new, it will look better over time. Josh Bennis is running around like a monkey on crack: still cool with it. The Bennis family is one of us. Random people coming into the gym not under the attention of me or the coaches: hair-pulling agony. I have not felt this uncomfortable since the wedding reception - which, coincidentally enough, was random people coming into the gym not under the coach's supervision.

There has to be something wrong with me, but I'm glad this is happening because good things tend to happen when I get outside of my comfort zone. Two parents already talked about having their younger kids come in for the Babies session, I started off two relationships with good coaches, and the gym will look realy good (I think) once it's all done. When will it be done, you ask? I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA! I am not in control of that -or, at least as much control as I want, so cue the control freak hair-pulling again.

So full disclosure here's what's going down. That heater. That old, ugly-ass "1942 heater" as Coach T calls it is the one domino that refuses to fall down. At this point, I'm all for using it as our next wallball target until it comes collapsing down on NuNu's unsuspecting head just so we can get the ball rolling. The main problem with it is that it's huge and ugly and hanging down right smack in the middle of a field that needs to have lights and netting going across the ceiling. We were supposed to get these new radiant tube heaters that take up less space and use less energy and warm things better. All good, except it was supposed to happen in October, and now not only is there a delay but also a pretty significant misunderstanding about who is supposed to pay for it. I took the initiative to get the ball rolling early on and Mr. Fitz was set to get the entire thing done on the fine afternoon of September 6. Alas. So right now myself, Mr. Bennis, a soccer team, and a baseball team are waiting for the dragons to come in Game of Thrones. I hope that was the correct analogy, I don't watch Game of Thrones, but I think I got the gist of it from South Park.

Like I mentioned earlier, the dyscontrol I have with the heater situation being in the building owner's hands is one thing, but it just compounds on the fact that I have such a difficult time separating the building and business from my actual self. 32301 Stephenson is literally all I have; there is no fallback or Plan B. That doesn't go through my mind when Crystal's knees come forward, but it does when strangers come in the gym. I have an unhealthy amount of confidence in myself to steer the ship where I want it to go. And where is that: well, somewhere in the general direction of the Bennis, Colussi, Nevarez, and Miranda families. Which was build on the Carey, Wonsil, Junkin, Fitzgerald, and Ellsworth families. Which is being lifted on a bar by Katie Shakes. We got it going on, man. We really do. This Summer showed that day after day. You know what could easily ruin that? A jerk. One yahoo who doesn't respect the place or people or coaching inside it. Will one person shut the gym down? No chance. But maaaan I really hate taking steps backwards, especially after it's taken 7 years for me to finally start to get it.

SO back to tonight. I know if I'm coaching a group I can distill the jerks down to their primal form, or otherwise discourage them from coming back. Shannon, Coach T, and Shakes have free reigns to do any private or group coaching they want because they get it. They get why Avery, Cecilia, and Ally are great fits to the Champions Club and some others aren't. And more importantly, they have not quite as much at stake in this place as me, but it's pretty close. And the more I go down the list of our roster for the last few weeks of fall, I realize how lucky I am to have like 60 people who understand this place.

I told Barry Brunke to go eff himself on Friday night repeatedly and at a high volume. The next day he cancelled his and Angie's Lifetime Fitness membership.

So finally back to tonight. For real this time. I can't pinpopint if it's liability or community or image that has my brains spinning. I picture the baseball kids trying to jump and grab the high rings, the soccer kids wearing cleats on our floor, or the parents seeing a ceiling light get hit on a soft toss drill BECAUSE THE HEATER SITUATION IS STILL NOT SETTLED YET. But I do realize that I treat this place like holy ground, and I'msure I need to ease up (not all the time, but sometimes) in order for us to grow. The main thing, however, that is sitting bad with me right now is that none of the 4:30, 5:30, or 6:30 sessions had my full attention tonight. And that is not okay. Tonight, at least. My mind will be nowhere near the 9 am mobility session on Saturday the 24th because Michigan vs.Ohio State, and that is perfectly justified. But on a night where the only college football game is Western Michigan vs. Ball State (#MACtion is god-awful to watch, but the way), I need to be all here.

And in next week's episode I will be

Unless we lose to Indiana.

One Year Anniversary: Woooooooorrrrrrden

One year ago yesterday, Danielle Worden (which Coach T spelled out to me as "Woorden") signed up for Fundamentals at the Champions Club.

It was pretty apparent early on that Danielle was going to be a "glue guy" - as they say in basketball terms. In normal people terms, this means she's someone who holds the thing together. Our high school crew is not near where I want it to be, and it takes a few "glue guys" to get things rolling in the right direction. Danielle lives about a half hour from here, shows up 6-7 days per week, and recruits her butt off to try and start a Ford connection - which seems to be showing signs of life already.

On the workout side of things, Danielle has developed a really inclusive fitness capacity; she's a state qualifying powerlifter and also excels in endurance-related workouts. This was showcased earlier this year, as she got the Athlete of the Winter award.

Going forward, Danielle's biggest obstacle is going to be herself. She's definitely enrolled in the Murley/Crawford Class of Self Doubt about twice a week, and this shows on workouts that involve things like heavy cleans, 800s at a fast pace, or anything else that she finds herself struggling at. I've seen tantrums and self-labels of "peaking," only to witness a string of great workouts soon to follow. And I know there will be more to come as well. And that's not entirely bad.

One of the coolest things about being part of the Champions Club is that we see these kids grow up right in front of us. I am going on record predicting that over the course of the next year, we are going to watch Danielle Worden figure "it" out. She's going to develop into one of the fittest and mentally tough girls we've ever seen come through our doors; she's going to realize that it's okay for a 17 year old kid to be exactly one year into CrossFit and be bad at multiple things, and that every failure is part of the Natural Progression she has to go through in order to find the right method for success. And when she does find that out... I'm going to take all the credit!

Thank you, Danielle, for having trust in my coaching and meshing into our community for the past year! And I hope we can keep you around for a long time to come!