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Remembrance Day Workout and a Little History

[/caption] This is one of my favorite pictures. Remembrance Day 2010 was the first holiday workout for CrossFit 204. We didn’t have our own space at that point, and we only held three classes per week in the free-weights area of the Assiniboine Athletic Club. No bumper plates, no barbells, just a bunch of gear rolling around my trunk as I drove up the parkade ramp to a gym with a pair of grinding rowing machines, three pull-up bars, and a lone set of rings we hung from a railing in a stairwell. But those workouts back in the day hold a special place in my heart because we made do with what we had, and we made some great friends while we did it. I’ll always be grateful to Neil and the AAC for letting us use the space. We invented all sorts of creative workouts and made good use of the stairwell. Someone might have even broken a light in there with a kettlebell during a particularly brutal workout. We got kicked out by security for dropping weights. We made black marks all over the walls with medicine balls. We did “sled pushes” with a decline-chest-press bench that always got stuck near the tanning beds for some reason. We did burpees until a pull-up bar was free. We stored most of our gear in a glorified hallway that was a running track of sorts. We didn’t complain when a bodybuilder stripped one of the few Olympic barbells we were using, and we kept on trucking when maintenance men stood in front of the camera as our team of one did a 2011 CrossFit Games Open workout. [caption id="attachment_2803" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Waiting for friends ... ."][/caption] CrossFit 204 was actually just a nameless “bootcamp” for much of this period. It was only after a conversation with CrossFit founder Coach Greg Glassman that we became CrossFit 204, and by November of 2010, we had a bit of momentum. Class sizes were starting to grow, Dale had built us some gear, and his heated garage was regularly home to six or seven people who shared two barbells and about 300 lb. of bumpers every Sunday morning. Kaylyn brought coffee out, Marty slept in the corner on a mat, and we often ate meat afterward. We even had a website. We posted our first workout there Oct. 26, 2010.  Shortly after that, we took the plunge and scheduled a holiday workout to go down in the hockey rink behind my house, rain or shine. We set it for 3 p.m., and at about 2 p.m. Crystal and I started moving the collection of tires from my front porch to the rink. Then we dragged two 4×6-foot rubber mats into the rink and piled about 8 assorted kettlebells on top of them. And then we waited for anyone to show up on a cool, rainy, somewhat shitty November day. I remember watching people approach and wondering if they were friends before they walked by with nary a sidelong glance at the pile of equipment. I busied myself by arranging the equipment and piling assorted garbage on top of the dog mess in the hockey rink. Then I remember wondering if anyone would show up at all. It seemed a lot colder and wetter and shittier right about then. But people showed up. And if they hadn’t, CrossFit 204 probably wouldn’t exist as it does today. And that’s why the picture is so special to me. [caption id="attachment_2804" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Barely even chipped yet!"][/caption] Here’s the workout we did: Remembrance Day 2010. The biggest tire we had was Darth Medium, but he got a workout that day. Of course, we cleaned up, went back inside and hung out for a bit, which was just as good as the workout and is always good policy after a hard one. Here’s the post on the aftermath, and the picture: Tires Have Been Flipped. It’s interesting to note that I was hoping to have a bigger tire by spring, and, as requested, Dale rescued Darth Vader from a farmer’s field and bent the side of his truck delivering it to us. Anthony, between Dale and Chris, is still doing workouts in firehalls around the city, and Toddy, the guy in the handstand, is one of the spiritual fathers of CrossFit 204. I did my first group CrossFit workout in his garage, and he’s around CrossFit 204 whenever he’s needed. He was needed for the Feb. 27, 2012, workout, and he was there. He’ll be around. You’ll recognize everyone else. Like I said, it’s one of my favorite pictures. The 2012 Remembrance Day workout takes place on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. All other classes are cancelled in honour of those who served and those who serve.

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