You may call me “Sir.” Or “Sir Mount.”

Elf off the shelf!
Elf off the shelf!
100# snatch.
100# snatch.
Back it up!
Back it up!

My gift to all of you this holiday season? I very lengthy post.

Nikki (!) led this morning’s 6am session at CFBC, and while we were talking about Wednesday’s WOD I was reminded of a childhood event.

As part of a parent/teacher assembly the second graders at St. Joseph’s Elementary School were to perform a variety of activities that we learned in (our very limited) gym class. Sister Mary Henrietta, my teacher, selected me to demonstrate how to climb a rope. Keep in mind that I was the shortest boy in my class, yet somehow I always managed to climb to the top of the rope the fastest. The day before the BIG EVENT, we held our very last practice run. I, however, had forgotten my sneakers (that’s what we called them in New Jersey) at home, and had to attempt to climb the rope wearing my patent leather dress shoes. Perhaps needless to say, I failed to climb to the top of the rope. I became exceedingly upset, and even cried a little. Yes, I cried. I was only 7 years old, so give me a damn break! Sister Mary Henrietta tried to encourage me, and I tried to convince her to not make me climb that damn rope during the next day’s assembly. She sternly told me that this was not an option.

The day of the BIG EVENT arrived, and it was all that I could do to keep from throwing up. It was finally my turn to demonstrate my rope climbing abilities. I did remember to bring and wear my sneakers! I was introduced. I walked to the rope. I looked up at the rope. I bowed my head. I made the sign of the cross. I said a Hail Mary. The audience erupted into laughter, and I was convinced that they were laughing at me and thinking, “How can that little boy climb that rope!” I finished my prayer, grabbed the rope, and quickly climbed up and slid down. The audience erupted into very loud applause, and some people even rose to their feet. I smiled a very wide smile and felt very, very proud. I didn’t realize at the time that the audience was laughing at me saying a Hail Mary and not at my height and perceived physical abilities.

I should remind myself of this, you know, because I’m so insecure and all.

I coached the 6 and 7pm sessions at CFD yesterday evening, and discovered that I can be quite talkative when I coach. The focus was on the dead-lift, and athletes completed 5 sets of 2 reps @ 85% of 1RM. I explained my rationale for doing so, and then had each athlete perform her/his reps solo, asking the other athletes to observe form and provide feedback. Gwen and Rebecca have near-perfect form. Andrew is strong – when he keeps a neutral neck. Katie and Amanda are also very strong – when they don’t round their backs. Two of my favorites, Sandra and Rona, were also in attendance, so I had a wonderful time coaching! (I’m still not sure, though, why folks attending open gym insist upon working out in the main area instead of off to the side where the barbell club takes place.)

I just had a thought. Stay with me on this one.

I’m loud when I teach and/or coach. I know that. I offer no apologies. When I first began teaching as a 23-year-old at NCSU, I would close the door as soon as the class began so as to not interfere with the teaching going on in the other rooms. Almost every day that I taught, the door would be opened; evidently by someone in the hallway. I would close the door. The door would be opened. I began to become very insecure, thinking that people were listening to my teaching and then reporting bad things to by boss. It wasn’t until the end of my first semester teaching that I discovered what was happening. At the end of my very first performance review my boss asked, “Do you who keeps opening your door when you teach, and do you know why?” “I have no idea,” I replied. “The other teachers have heard such great things about your teaching that they make it a point to stop by and listen. I hear nothing but wonderful things about your teaching abilities.” I’ll leave it at that. No I won’t. I won the Teacher of the Year Award every year that I was eligible. The awards are packed in a box. I might have to hang them on the walls of my office.

Aaaaaand, I’m back.

Today’s focus at CFBC was the snatch and nothing but the snatch. And I liked it! I might be 20/80.

Nikki did a wonderful job of leading us through the requirements of the snatch.

Snatch Balance

I warmed up, and then successfully did sets @ 75, 80, 85, 95, 100, and 105#. Nikki provided great direction. Michael Kelley reviewed the set @ 105# and even he said (with his trained eye) that the snatches were good. “I can’t believe how quickly you dropped under the bar!” said Michael Kelley as he = wiped donut crumbs from his mouth.


I warmed up with 75 and 85, and then completed singles @ 90, 95, and 100#. I failed an attempt at 105#. And that’s okay. Uhm, I just realized that my previous snatch 1RM was 85#, so I got a PR today, bitches. A 15# PR. Bitches.

Perform 2 snatches at 85% of 1RM every minute for 5 minutes

Eighty-five percent of 100 is 85. I’m that good at math. I successfully completed all 10 reps, although quite a few were power snatches.

Today was the most secure that I have ever felt with snatches (of any kind). Maybe I’m 21/79.

My former (I haven’t told him yet) best friend, Michael Kelley, asked me to stop by Zeal this morning so that he could  give me something. Let you imagination run wild, as mine most certainly did. I quietly entered the box as he was providing “coaching” to an athlete. He was, of course, seated on a box as he was providing this “coaching”. When he stood up and walked to the other end of the box, I quietly sat down where he had just been seated. He turned around and eventually noticed me – and almost peed himself. “I’m an elf on the shelf. Did I surprise you, Michael Kelley?” I asked. CrossFit Zeal gave me a gift certificate to Starbucks. Thanks, Tom! (And Michael Kelley, too, I suppose.)

Get ready for some very good news! CrossFit HQ accepted my affiliation request, although the name “Apogee” was taken. I was asked to submit up to 3 additional names, and asked my friends to offer their suggestions. They ranged from the stellar (Culmination, Leviathan, Centaur, and Errantry) to the sublime (RamRod, No Rep, Van Damme). After I sent my request, my good friend, Darren, suggested CrossFit Surmount.


  1. Overcome (a difficulty or obstacle).
  2. Stand or be placed on top of.
Synonyms:  Overcome – vanquish – master – overpower – get over – top




How awesome of a name is that? I modified my request, and the name CrossFit Surmount was approved. I can’t begin to communicate how exciting all of this is.

Now I just need to find the location. If you have any specific suggestions, please send them my way!


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