Just before CI joined us we had another young upstart by the name of Dave Stalsbroten. Dave came to us with the expressed intent of joining a gym that promoted community and learning the fundamentals of CrossFit in order to share them with other folks. With Irvine and Dave both itching to learn from the shallow trough of my training wisdom I rounded up one other gifted athlete and we started our own little training co-op. I would instruct these three on the basics of CrossFit and training and they would come ready to learn and leave willing to share their little bit of knowledge with the world. All three became trainers at XCF but you know you lasted the longest. Kim is now kicking ass elsewhere, Dave is now saving Nicaragua, and CI gave us three awesome years before he decided to take the next big step in his journey. The three of us worked and trained together and became friends in the process. Dave and Irvine were both groomsmen in my wedding. CI has had an impact on every part of my life and has served me with the humility, compassion, loyalty, and pugnacity of Azeem. As a trainer CI started out incredibly green. The programming at the gym wasn’t as structured back then and he would put some workouts on the board that I was certain the expressed intent was to actually kill the weaker athletes. He loves CrossFit and he certainly loves people though and those two things will get you a lot of mileage. So many of us, myself included, benefit so much from any varied stimulus as long as we have some one pushing us to succeed day after day can’t help but get better. His enthusiasm and vested interest in the success of the athletes here is undeniable. He is also an incredibly gifted athlete. He is so talented in fact I was actually forced to start secretly hating him. I found that carrying around this hatred when everyone else was madly in love with him was unhealthy so I decided to be open about my distaste. I started the I Hate CI Club a few years ago and it is still going strong. Granted we only have two members and one of them is CI. That just goes to show what a good friend he is which makes me hate him all the more. Every other time he disagrees with me I fire him which has led to his termination and subsequent re-hire at lease 288 times since he started working here. In fact I just fired him two minutes ago for telling me to shut up while he is training a client. I immediately had to re-hire him so he could finish training since I was busy writing this post. I will probably give him his final walking papers on Friday, most likely after the 4pm class. Getting back to CI as an athlete we trained together often sometimes twice a day getting ready for the zombie appocolypse or some other impossible situation that would actually require the level of fitness we were trying to achieve. As luck would have it there is in fact a reason to be that fit and it is so that you can win the CrossFit games and declare yourself the fittest man alive. We trained for sectionals in 2010 in hopes of at least getting to regionals if not full CrossFit glory as the games champ. CI kicked so much ass at sectionals I was actually approached by the CrossFit games grand marshal asked me if CI was interested in skipping regionals and the Games altogether and just declaring him the fittest man alive. I told him where he could and I threw a medicine ball at his face for good measure. It turned out to be the wrong choice because CI never made it to regionals. He broke his hand a few weeks later and wasn’t able to compete in the next round. The silver lining though is that we were able to get tons of experience working with injured athletes. The beauty of it was the fact that not only was he a good athlete already but he was also fearless so there was nothing that I could suggest that he wouldn’t try at least once. An example of one of my finer ideas was to tether his casted arm to the lat pull down bar and put the pin super low in the stack. He pulled so hard on that thing his cast started to come off. This was certainly less dangerous than kettlebell I poorly tied to his cast that almost knocked his teeth out during a press or the 135# sandbag that fell on his face during a failed WOD that pinned his good arm down and started to suffocate him. I stood there for almost 30 seconds without doing anything because I wasn’t sure if he was mustering his strength or actually dying. He didn’t die though thanks to me and after the second broken hand later that year we had compiled so much data that we could train an army of amputees. Bring me your poor, wretched, armless masses yearning to be strong!