August 2015 – Carl Sandridge runs me through the toughest workout of my life. I want to cry. I want to stop. I want to die on the padded floor. But, he doesn’t let me. He cheers me on. He pushes me. I start Crossfit shortly after because he got me hooked.
October 2015 – Carl tells me I don’t look scared and he doesn’t like it.
March 2015 – My best friend and his fiancee ask me to stand up in their wedding. I panic. I ask Carl to train me and to get me to where I need to be. He agrees, happily. Thus begins my Flash: Athlete Zero gimmick.
I was never part of CTOWN. It’s not my box. Lemont is my box. But, CTOWN was my second home. I could walk in and know that it was safe to be there and that I could work out without judgment. I didn’t feel like a stranger when I went there. Larry, R.E., Speed, and Carl all were loving and caring. Larry and Carl especially.
My coaches became my friends. The other members became my friends. In under a year, I was able to start reaching my goals. I picked up a less than part-time job helping them with graphics for their social media and website. I started to really enjoy my time spent talking to the coaches – even though it was mostly work.
On Monday, Carl asked me to work on a logo with him. It was for Athlete Zero and how he wanted to make this a real deal. I sent my ideas to him immediately and was so excited to be helping out another coach with designs. It made me feel amazing and I couldn’t wait to see where it would take him.
As of Wednesday, Coach Carl is no longer with CTOWN.
The news was sudden, quick, and vague. Carl posted to the gym’s FB about it and was flooded with words of support and confusion all mixed into one. I just stared at it for probably five minutes without saying a word.
I know that the decision of Carl no longer being there was not malicious and I hold no anger or ill will towards CTOWN. Sometimes, things don’t work out as well as you’d like them to and that is no one’s fault. There’s no reason to be angry at a situation that is completely natural and out of people’s control.
I texted Carl, immediately after, in hopes of hearing some life out of him. Nothing.
I went through my workouts that he sent me for the week and hoped he would reach out in some form. Text, phone call, social media. It didn’t matter. Carl may be my coach, but he’s my friend, too. I wasn’t as close with him as some of my other Crossfit Partners were but it still stings. It’s still confusing.
Part of me is worried about him. I don’t want him to feel alone. I am angry about it a little bit, too, because I just need some form of response. But, I know that he is probably going through the motions and figuring out what he is going to do.
Part of me wants to just express how much I need him with me for this process. How important he is – though he might not think he is.
Part of me is terrified for the future and I feel terribly selfish about it.
You can workout without Carl! A lot of people have told me. You got the tools. You got the resources.
The reason why Carl was my Coach was because he was different from every other coach I have ever dealt with. He was the person who pushed you so hard and challenged you till your body was drenched in sweat and raw for days. He came at you, knowing your limits, and knew if you weren’t doing your best. He got so disappointed in my cleans that he made me want to fight harder. Before I picked up the 275# deadlift, I thought of him and it got me to pull it up. He inspires me daily.
Carl wasn’t just one of my many coaches. He was my Coach for Life.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with my other coaches. Coach Carl is just the Coach that works best with me. His military style is one that is not replicated. His stupid jokes. How he knew that you would red-line in a workout but would keep pushing you.
I want to be able to put my feelings out there but it’s hard to when you don’t know how you feel. Every time I even think about it, I get upset and my motivation to do anything. I have done terrible on my WODs for the rest of the week and barely have found the reason to do them.
If I had to put my feelings down – I’ll simply say – I am a wreck over it.
If he lets me know he’s okay and that our program is terminated? I am okay with that. I’ll keep moving on. I’ll be raw about it for a bit. But, I am going to keep moving on.
I was able to finally – talk – about it with Lesley. Lesley has become my confidant for Crossfit. I am able to get angry or frustrated with her (same goes for her) and not feel like I am being judged. She is supportive and suggests things but she never ever pushes me away or tells me I am doing it wrong. She listened and just let me be raw about it and I am pretty grateful for her. I finally got all that stored up hurt and was able to just release it. I feel better to be able to get it out, finally.
It’s insane how much a person impacts your life and you don’t realize it till they’re gone.