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Behind the Champion: The Junkin/Eason Family

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Entries in moms (22)

Beast Mode: Moms in the Morning

This morning we had Mrs. Kroll, Mama V, and Mrs. Pip take on the rope climb/squat workout. In between a warmup consisting mostly of chatting about laundry and other mom things, they put in a great session of work. Here's their highlights:

New Kid on the Block: Mrs. Demonaco

Our newest Fundamentals member is Pam Demonaco, the mother of recent Fundamentals graduate Emma Demonaco and new rope climber, Adam. Mrs. Demonaco talked to me on Wednesday about her interest in joining, and we promptly set up our first Fundamentals session for last Friday.

So far we are three days in and nothing but good reviews. She is not horribly inflexible, she has the coordination of a former athlete (volleyball and softball were her sports of choice), and, most importantly, she is doing a great job of putting her nursing background to the side once a session starts and comitting to being a student and learning new techniques. I will say, though, she was definitely shocked after Day 1 by how sore her arms were, so much so, in fact, that she tried to cancel Day 2. Thankfully she made it work and had a great session (double unders are coming soon...).

Like I said, so far, so good. So I'll check back in with you guys after Day 7.

Mystery Athlete Might Be Obvious

Got this DropBox picture last week.



  1. This athlete just had a successful surgery to remove a lovely bunion from her foot and it on pace to make a full/healthy recovery.
  2. This athlete has withstood the pressure of conforming to the smart phone culture and retained her sliding Motorolla thing.
  3. This athlete has been known to box jump her height.


The next picture comes from this morning's 8:30 am session. Saporito did not write his workout time on the board because his gingerness didn't feel the need to follow directions. So he made one of the moms do it for him. The only question is: which mom spelled his name "Divid?" Was it Mrs. Kroll, Mama V, or Mrs. Fitz?

If the nickname "Div" doesn't stick I'm going to be very disappointed. Post your guesses to comments.

Quote of the Week vol. 174 + Spelling Mistakes by State

"You can't call yourself a gardener if you haven't killed a couple plants"

- My mommy


In unrelated news, I saw this picture linked on MGoBlog and I thought you guys might find it amusing. Google does analytics at year's end and this chart shows the most commonly questioned spelling of a word sorted by state. Check it out.

Apparently the state of Ohio has never heard that Gwen Stefani song.

New Graduate: Mrs. Fitzgerald

Mrs. Fitz finished her 8th and final Fundamentals session earlier this morning with a 7:11 effort on modified Helen with Bar-sign run, 8k swings, and ring rows.

Over the course of the last few sessions, Mrs. Fitz confirmed my theory that she has the tighest shoulders out of any of our parents - Mrs. Pip and Mr. Wonsil included. However I was surprised by her coordination and skill. She caught on to kipping pull-ups very quickly, as well as Pose running and Olympic lifting. Again, the limiting factor was her mobility.

During her group sessions, Mrs. Fitz seemed to fit in with the other parents with ease. Look for her at the evening session on most days or at the 11 am dragging Conor with her.

Great to have you on board Mrs. Fitz!

Call of the Turkey

It happened late in the evening. It was the day after Mother’s Day, a holiday us be nice to the female that spawned them for 0.27397% of the year. I had already satisfied the matriarch of the Wonsil3Riha family with a free Earth Day shirt and some bracelets that I forgot in Grand Rapids. Surprisingly, our matriarch’s consort had also made an offering to the head of the family.












 Even though that the consort was not birthed by said matriarch, he is apparently still contractually obligated to make a sacrifice. Knowing this obligation, he presented her with a water bottle embossed with symbols of Yellowstone National Park. 

We all returned to our lives following the offering of gifts, awaiting to return to the 99.76202% of the year when we could continue to focus on ourselves. And that’s when we heard it. With disappointment, our matriarch had already found a defect in the water bottle. Every time she drank from it, the straw made a squeaky clucking noise that would alert us as to when the matriarch was hydrating. Apparently it’s necessary to hydrate often so that one can talk about biology to unsuspecting Champions Club members as much as possible. The matriarch decided that this noise was unacceptable and that she must have a water bottle that she could drink while also conducting a silent raid of the Better Maid chip factory. 

A call to the water bottle company was quickly arranged and conducted. After several minutes on the phone, the matriarch, put her cell phone down confused. She seemed puzzled, as if someone had told her to do the real warm-up, or that evolution wasn’t real. After an inquisitive grunt, she explained, “Oh. I talked to the girl and she has the same one. It’s supposed to make that noise.”

Which is why, if you ever hear this, you will know that Mama V is not far behind. 

Building a Champion pt. 8: Combating Adulthood

Remember when Ricky and Elizabeth and JZ were the future of the gym? Welp, they’re about to be College Kids. The rest of The Freaks are soon to follow. Because of this, a lot of my attention this Summer needs to be on developing the new generation (baseball kids, Freak 2.0, babies.) It’s going to be a grind and it will probably leave me irritated more often than not. But thankfully, I have salvation.

The Champions Club Parents.

Nobody can touch the Champions Club parents. No-body. No CrossFit gym, no school group, no Sunday basketball league, no book club, and no family reunion. And I get to coach them. Imagine going to a new school where you only know one or two people. You are behind in all the subjects, the teacher is an a-hole, and the facility is a dump. Would you attend class? Would you pay your own hard-earned money to attend class? Would you last for over a year in that situation? Thankfully, we have a group that does.

But let’s not forget, we were stagnant for a minute there; 2014 saw a lot of attrition from the parents crew. It was the regular, old-timers: The Careys, the Wonsils, Pip, and Crystal. We added Mr.Z to the mix in August – who fit in immediately – but they were still overshadowed by The Freaks and the suddenly-prevalent College Kids crowd.

Then May 2015 happened.

We had ten New Kids on the Block that month and five of them were parents – all of whom are still with us. Eight months later on a random January evening, Shannon brought in two more parents for the club that were obvious fits. These seven people sparked the Champions Club and changed our culture for good.

Mr. Anderson – May 2

Every Sunday in the fall. It's torture.

Mr. Anderson is a walking encyclopedia for football, basketball, and Quentin Tarentino movies. My first memory of him is playing catch in the parking lot after one of Ryan’s Fundamentals sessions. He knew every old NBA player, every College Football throwback, and even every high school star that I mentioned; it was like talking to my dad. I asked him soon after if he had any interest in joining Ryan, but he said the drive was too far. However, as with many of the parents in the gym, it was just a matter of time before he followed the crowd.

It is safe to say that Mr. A is not as athletic as he once was. And he’ll be the first to tell you that his weight, health, conditioning, and flexibility are not where they need to be. But don’t get it twisted, the big guy still shows glimpses of his athletic past – especially when we head to the park for football, or during spontaneous one-on-one basketball games. And let’s be honest, that’s what really matters.

The most impressive thing to me, however, is no matter what the workout is he’s consistently the most energetic and outgoing member at any session he attends. It’s infectious. When it comes to welcoming new people or reconnecting with visiting College Kids, Mr. A is right up there with Mama V. Plus he’s got the sharp/sarcastic humor of Mr. Z and the witty dad-jokes of Mr. Wonsil that might make him the funniest Champions Club dad. If you aren't smiling the second you see him walk from across the parking lot towards our gym, you are a sad and miserable being.

In the end, there’s only one person in the gym that brings all this to the table, and he is known by many different aliases. His friends call him Pat, but you can call him Mr. Anderson.

Mrs. Anderson – May 2

"What's for dinner, hun?" ... "Nothing, I'm taking the night off!"

Everything Mrs. Anderson is – quiet, flexible, polite, reasonable, compliant – Mr. Anderson is not. Yet, the two provide the perfect balance to the gym. I just imagine Mrs. A has been second-guessing herself ever since Mr. A pulled her away from the guy with a Porsche named Warren.

Mrs. Anderson is sneaky athletic, and she reminded me of Mrs. Carey when she first came in. The first time watching her squat was a thing of beauty and majesty, and took everyone by surprise at that parents-only team workout.  We might have even caught a hint of jealousy in Mrs. Carey’s eyes.

Mrs. Anderson is about as easy-going as it gets when it comes to the moms. But having to spend her entire day working around high school boys, this should not come as a surprise. In fact, I see a lot of Mrs. A in both of her sons, Kyle and Ryan. However, their chill nature isn’t the only thing they inherited; Mrs. A used to be a baller in high school. Softball to be exact; year-round. Her background there is still evident in how she moves during workouts. And despite her hatred for running, she does it better than any mom not named Crystal.

I could be wrong, but my gut feeling tells me that Mrs. Anderson loves to blend into the background and quietly help behind the scenes. As long as the finished product looks good she is happy playing her part regardless of how much credit she gets. People I have known like this (Brian the Trainer, for instance) are often taken for granted. I don't think that's a bad thing, necessarily, because it means you are really dependable. But sometimes bringing those people to the light makes everyone better. And Mrs. A has been flying under the radar for too long in my opinion!

Since my time owning my own business at this building, I have taken over 120 new people through Fundamentals. It almost becomes a screening process and I can tell pretty quickly who will be a good fit and who won’t. After Day 1 with the Andersons, I knew they would be more than good. They would be perfect for us. While Mr. Anderson gets most of the attention, we all know Mrs. A runs the household.

Mrs. Kroll – May 7

Ahhhh. Look at all the nothing over there. How calm. How peaceful. How serene. BATHROOM!!!!!

So Mrs. Kroll walked out to the floor for her first day of Fundamentals with a notebook. A notebook!

“What the hell is that?” I involuntarily blurted out.

“Well,” she started, “I just wanted to write stuff down as we go along so I can study it when I go back home.”

“Good,” I answered. “Because at the end of Day 8 I have a written test with multiple choice and essay questions. You need to score 80% or better or else you can’t train here.”

Mrs. Kroll looked shocked. “Oh… okay.”

There are few things I find more entertaining than teasing Mrs. Kroll. It’s probably not a great thing for a coach to do, but it’s so much fun! It would be like teasing Lauren Higgins if she couldn’t out-lift you. But on the real, Mrs. Kroll is also one of the best people to coach because of what she puts into it.

Here’s a typical day for the Blank Stare Extraordinaire from September through April: Wake up at 4 am to get ready and make lunches. Wake up the sleeping Slowbro named Robert. Shower. Wake up Robert again. Drive him to De La Salle. Drive to the gym to hit the 8:30 am session. Drive back home to shower. Drive out to work on at her tutoring center in Shelby. Pick Robert the Slowbro up from De La Salle. Bring him to the 3:30 session. Drive back to the center to make sure the building wasn’t burning down. Drive back here to pick Robert up around 5. Drop him off at home. Then drive back to finish up at the tutoring center. Add that up and it’s about 20,000 miles per week.

Knowing Mrs. Kroll, I’m sure she’s making things more difficult than they need to be, but you gotta appreciate the effort. In addition to her own fitness, she has done a lot to recruit – bringing in three of Robert’s teammates last Summer, and working for two more this one.

Out of every mom at the gym, Mrs. Kroll reminds me the most of my mom. Maybe that’s why I love her so much and feel at ease when teasing her.

Mr. Augistine – May 24

Yep, that's the middle finger. The price for making Mr. Auggie do a warm-up run.

For his birthday present last year, Jacob Augustine asked his dad to join the Champions Club. The Handsome Gentlemen’s club co-founder had been talking since January about wanting to get his dad in the gym to train with us. Mr. Auggie kept saying he would eventually, but always put it off. When Jacob’s birthday came up and his dad asked him what he wanted, he stuck to his guns.

Finally Mr. Auggie gave in. I got a call at 7 pm on May 24. A Sunday, mind you.

“Hey Sinagoga.”

“Hey Mr. Augustine.”

…awkward silence…

“So, I guess I’m gonna do this thing,” he finally said.

“When do you want to start,” I asked.

“I guess whenever.”

“How soon can you be up here?”

“Ten minutes”

“Good enough. I’m on my way.”

The first day was brutal! Brutal. He needed a drink after standing in anatomical position for 10 seconds. His workout for that day was 3 burpees.

I didn’t think he was going to come back, and if he did, I didn’t think he would last long. As it turns out, I caught Mr. Auggie after a treacherous back-to-back midnight/day shift at work. The next few days went much better and I had a sliver of hope that he might make it in the Champions Club. Thankfully, Jacob bought him a pair of Nike Metcon shoes during Fundamentals, so that helped encourage him to stay. Now he throws around legit weight on max effort days and has overcome the "I think I'm actually dying" fear on regular workouts.

If I recall correctly, three of our dads played a major role in keeping Mr. Augustine around. Mr. Anderson eliminated some of the fear that you had to be in shape to start CrossFit, Mr. Warthman (next on the list) provided a familiar face from the neighborhood and little league baseball, and finally Mr. Z was the first to demonstrate that the term “stranger” doesn’t really apply to the Champions Club.

What I have enjoyed the most from coaching Mr. Auggie is his random “I believe a ‘thank you’ is in order” stories about how he can play catch with Master P without his arm hurting and make a stretching snag at 1st base without his groin ripping in half in his weekend softball league. Needless to say, I was wrong about Mr. Augustine, and I could not be happier.

Mr. Warthman – May 25


Every single lingering question we’ve had about Carter the Blob for the past three years (dude… Carter’s been here almost three years!) was immediately answered when Mr. Warthman joined the gym. And there were soooooooo many of them: Where did this being come from? How did he end up a blob? Why does he like Ohio State? How did his posture deteriorate at such a young age? What is wrong with his feet? Where did his attention span go? Why is he so... Carter?

I think Carter and Mr. Warthman are more alike than any parent/kid combination we have in the Champions Club. Unlike Carter, however, the Blobfather came into the gym with previous CrossFit experience. Three years to be exact. And lord did it show – not only how much he was different than us, but how much we are different from everyone else. Aside from the movement standards that no sane gym possesses, I noticed so many little things that kept nagging at me – like this crazy notion that an athlete can actually choose what weight they want to use, or that the word “stop” was optional. They say old habits are the toughest to break. And let’s be real, how many Warthman habits have we broken? But the cool thing is Mr. Warthman still shows up and seems to love every second of it.

A lot of you don’t know some behind-the-scenes stuff, but The Royal Blob is quietly one of the most supportive Champions Club members we have. And I’m not talking about money, or volunteer time, or referrals. But just random texts, emails, and phone calls that are either offering something (free flood lights, storage bins, spare weights), or mini-testimonials about his personal progress and how much he loves it here. In his first six months with the Champions Club, he set his personal CrossFit attendance record for an entire year. That says all you need to know.

Like Mr. Auggie, Mr. Warthman is a single dad who is just looking to stay healthy so he can support his kids. He’s a weird dude. No question. (Granny pack on a bicycle?) But then again, you have to be kind of weird to make it in the Champions Club. Think about it: how many “normal people” do we have? Go ahead, think that one over. (Well, Katie Bromm is basic… if that counts.)

Arlene Ellsworth – January 15

Dead meat

It’s one thing to have someone at Fundamentals mentally drift while I am boring them to death with feet-together box jumps. It is another thing altogether when that person randomly starts breakdancing to Notorious B.I.G while I'm talking. This one’s a little bit different now. Someone that’s in real need of a doctor’s note.

Let’s be honest: can anyone actually picture how Arlene moves? How is her deadlift form? What do her push-ups look like? Nobody knows, and I, myself, can’t seem to picture it either. I think she does mobility because of the AOOOWWWWW that can be heard through the entire gym. But for all I know, Auntie Arlene has not done a single thing in any warmup, ever. And probably pretends to breathe heavy during workouts, then sits on the ground when I turn my back. But that’s okay. Why? Because this:

Arlene, like Mrs. Carey, walks in through the garage doors and immediately thinks believes that she is the center of attention. She sassed me on the first day Shannon brought her in, she sassed me on Friday, and she will continue to do so until she thinks I’ve had enough. Then she will sass me again. Regardless of what I say, I enjoy it.

Let’s be real, we got lots white folks in the gym. We’re limited, man. Rhythm and trashtalking are not our strongsuit. I know the race thing is irrelevant because when a session starts nothing matters except how you move, but Mrs. Pip can’t vibe to a beat, the Kavanaughs are not spitting Going Back to Cali verses word for word, Mama V doesn't tell Joe he's lifting like a girl, and Ashley is not going to "beat you and drag you."

Arlene Ellsworth has one single thing that no one else in the gym posesses: swagger. If that was on the Champions Club Checklist, the gym would be empty. But that's what makes "R" unique for us... and I'll admit, the center of attention. It's so cool for everyone to see (except Josh, probably.)

Reggie Ellsworth – January 15

Lightweight baybay!

If Jarrod Bell could train at the Champions Club, he would be Reggie.

I never thought anyone married to Arlene Ellsworth could be described by everyone unanimously as “chill,” but Reggie is about as cool as it gets. But don’t tell his guns that. After a seven-year stint in the military, the Pontiac product got into the world of real estate. But once an athlete, always an athlete. Much like Mr. Anderson, you can still see his competitive streak during dodgeball, team workouts, and any time a basketball is in the vicinity of the two of us.

Reggie has been able to do most movements since Day 1 – which makes coaching him easier. But that’s not uncommon for me to see. What is uncommon, however, is someone with his fitness background who can also fit into our weird group. I first noticed this with Mr. Z – where he had the rare combination of Mr. Carey’s athletic background mixed with Mr. Wonsil’s glasses. It gave him the best of both worlds. Reggie is athletic like Mr. Z, golfs like Mr. Carey, can recite decade-old rosters like Mr. Anderson, complains about being out of shape like Mr. Auggie, carries a sometimes overzealous lifting desire like Senior Blob, and is a human being so Mr. Wonsil will naturally talk to him like he’s known him forever.

Personally, Reggie might be creeping up into my top 5 favorite people to coach. He does everything I ask during a session, we seem to have the same opinions and values of most things outside of a session, and he trusts us in coaching his son, Josh.

Just like the case with the Andersons, I knew Reggie and Arlene would be perfect fits right away.


Love is a word that gets thrown around too much. When I think of the word “love,” there are no conditions attached. There is no logic, no control, and no planning. Yet, there is also no doubt. When I get asked about how the parents crew is doing at the gym, I find myself stuck. It’s one of those sentences that starts with, “I tell ya, man…” but never finishes because you can’t find the words. After racking my brain with synonyms and comparisons that don’t quite describe them the way I want, I seem to always settle for that four-letter word.

I love the parents.

I absolutely love the parents.