I am by no means an actual cheerleader (mini skirts and I were never friends), but, if I am recalling correctly, the above title was an actual cheer heard from my days as a Monroe Woodbury High School athlete.
It was rare to witness me as a recipient for a "main event" award as I was usually coming in 2nd place or below or there was always someone faster, stronger, better, or more improved than I was, and I never dared to enter contests which involved food for fear that I WOULD win.
Here are some accolades however, that, if they existed, I would highly expect to receive:
“Most Likely To Bitch About a WOD”
“Most Sarcastic” (kind of a no-brainer here, don’t you think?)
“Female Sweat Angel” (there has to be some upside to menopause!)
“Best Use of Profanity” (my personal favorite)
If these were up for grabs at this past weekend's Wildfire CrossFit Anniversary party, I would have bet the house on my winning them all and I would have been chomping at the bit to hear my name called. “The Tom Casella Spirit of Wildfire” award, however, was NOT something I expected. Don’t get me wrong. I am so grateful but had I had even an inkling this might be the case, I would have stood closer to the front of the room and turned my hearing aid up so I could tune-in to what Skip was saying. (*Note for next time Wildfire owners…use a microphone. Too many damn drunks yapping during the awards. I know. This probably makes me seem high maintenance, but….) I figured that standing in the back would make more room for the actual winner.
So, while I could not hear a lot of what was being said, I do know enough about Tom Casella to tell you that this award makes all the difference in the world to me. For my readers who don’t have the pleasure of knowing this amazing man, let me give you a very brief glimpse (brief because this blog is about ME after all; sorry, Tom, but it is what it is.)
Tom is a coach at Wildfire. I didn’t have the opportunity to take as many classes with him as I had wanted due to scheduling conflicts, but, the few times he did coach me, I always walked out of there feeling like a better athlete. He would always take the time to work with me on my form, help me scale the workout so that I could keep up with the class yet still be competitive, answer my lame ass questions, laugh at my even lamer jokes, and yet still manage to do the same for others and always with a smile on his face. I remember watching him compete with his son a few times and I was in awe of his abilities. I remember asking myself, “is there anything this man CAN’T do?” He coaches, he inspires, he leads by example, he lifts heavy shit, he’s the father to amazing young men, he was as good, if not better than, any Masters Regional athlete out there, and he has great legs to boot! Everyone in the community adores him and to meet him, even if it’s just once, it’s easy to see why.
About 6 months ago, Tom suffered a stroke and has been facing new battles, yet, with sheer determination and an iron willpower, he has made amazing progress! So, to answer my own question, “NO! There is NOTHING this man can’t do!” Tom “Superman” Casella, I am in awe of you, and you inspire me to be, not only a better athlete, but a better person. But now…your time is up. Back to me.
So I won the award. I guess the powers-that-be and the athletes in the gym figured that my mouth far outweighed my BMI and anything I can lift overhead. Apparently all my chatting, yelling, and getting up in people's faces is considered motivational. Perhaps nobody heard me cursing out the coaches and their friends and family members under my breath during an exceptionally difficult WOD (and by difficult I mean anything that included legs, arms, or Burpees.) I guess walking up to random newbies and striking up smack talk about my shitty NFL team is different than the "don't talk to strangers" lecture I was given as a child. I can’t help myself though. It’s part of who I am. I was the kid that always got her seat moved because she was talking too much to the person next to her. My report card always read “Tiffany is a pleasure to have in class, but she needs to stop chatting; it’s disturbing the other children.” I am also the adult that welcomed some random shit-talker to come up to me and introduce themselves when I was new. It helped to ease the anxiety. I am merely paying it forward. All the time. Constantly. Whether you want to hear it or not.
I have to admit though; it feels wonderful to be recognized with this beautiful gesture. I am truly humbled because this could have been gifted to just about anybody in the gym. The Wildfire community is all about spirit and inclusion. I honestly cannot think of one person at the box who doesn’t take time out to cheer on another athlete, encourage someone when they’re down, or just give that knowing glance that says “suck it up…you’ve GOT this!” We are a product of our environment and our environment has been created and maintained by the heart and soul of our owners, Skip and Tiffany (affectionately "Skippany".) We just all picked up what they both were putting down.
But I won the award. And people wanted a speech. Which is quite stupid and let me tell you why: My basic vocabulary starts and ends with the word “fuck” with some “bitches” and “bullshits” thrown in for good measure. I am extremely self-conscious and could feel every eyeball in the place drilling a hole through my soul with a scorching poker, which, by the by, only turns up my internal thermometer, makes my face and neck flush, and produces millions of beads of sweat to drip down into places where I can no longer confidently define it as “glistening.” AND….I would rather swallow a bucket full of chalk while sky diving onto a floor full of Kettle Bells than do anything even remotely related to public speaking. Hence this blog post, which I promised to do instead. I hope it made up for my duck and run after accepting this most spirited award.
Thank you, once again, to my Wildfire family for accepting me into the fold and embracing the shit-show that is ME!