As I sit down at the computer tonight, I am tasked with penning probably the most difficult post I’ve ever had to write. Its a good thing that my kryptonite is hearing, and not seeing (like my lovely wife’s), because I’m barely making it through the tears already.
Many of you have known that Heather is leaving us for a few weeks, or maybe even a little longer. I’ve long known that we would be saying goodbye to her at some point, but that never quite makes you ready for the moment. If you’ve been around CFG long enough, and you’ve been present at one of my CrossFit Games Open Grand Finale speeches, you know I don’t hold it together emotionally. Addressing the gym at Heather’s going away party was something that I wrestled with – and to present her with our CFG Shield, the original one (thank you Tim!), was about all I could muster. Blink and you might have missed it, but I was on the verge of losing it just telling that story.
Heather joined CFG over 5 years ago, and quickly began coaching with us. In those days, it was a terribly informal process of “watch me do this…ok now you do it” development strategy. Thankfully she had a keen eye in understanding human movement through her physical therapy studies! She was our longest tenured coach and quickly took over the early morning group when they voted me out, ha! Back then, we actually split the early AM classes during the week but when we made the move to the new building she became the lone ranger – the ring leader of #sealteam530
Beyond her coaching ability, Heather was, in my (real) wife’s words – my ‘gym wife.’ When we had the good toilet paper, you could thank Heather for stopping at Costco on her way home and getting it for us. When we are stocked with paper towels, you could thank Heather for badgering me, daily, to order them so they’d arrive in time. When I wrote a stupid workout and 5:30am had to be the guinea pigs for it, you could thank Heather for modifying it to be appropriate for the CFG community.
She was the one who put everything into WODIFY.
She was the one who kept us (read: ME) on a strict schedule during the Saturday Open performances.
She also made sure we had judges for every heat on those mornings.
Even during (how many?) meniscus surgeries, she was present for the Open and her 5:30am classes. With a chauffeur of course!
During our staff meetings, she’d be the one to text Mandy, “We’re still here – Josh is on another rant!”, to let her know why I wasn’t answering my phone.
She helped codify many of the standard operating processes that allow us to operate so smoothly.
She helped usher in an intelligent approach to our mobility programming.
Whether she knew it or not, she truly helped take CrossFit For Glory out of the warehouse that we started and into our new digs. We wouldn’t be where we are without her.
Her loyalty to CrossFit For Glory, and all of YOU by extension, was unwavering. Her consistency in modeling what I want drives me to continually be better.
A better boss.
A better dad.
A better coach.
A better business owner.
Having her leave our team is bittersweet, yes. But in all honesty, far more sweet.
My mission in life is to help lead people to their perfect day – so Heather taking a (big) step in that direction makes my heart sing.
It also provides me with the necessary fuel to reach for bigger things for myself. Genuine happiness for another persons success has a funny way of doing that.
And though this last part comes from something personal that I wrote to her, I think its important for everyone to read:
“Heather, over the years, you’ve taught me so much about what it takes to be an effective coach, a good gym owner, but most importantly you’ve taught me what its like to have a dear friend. I’ve relied on your opinion, in things gym and life related, more than you’ll probably ever know and will miss seeing your smile in the gym.”
This isn’t goodbye.
After all, the Open is only a few months away and we need someone to keep people on schedule!