“GOOD” byes: Chris O’Connell or, “Hockey Chris”

8 Jun

This is a feature we’ll be introducing to the blog to officially wax nostalgic about the members who will be leaving us this summer. While we are sad to see you go, we are also so grateful for the time we’ve spent with you and all of the things that you have taught us as coaches, and as members. Every “GOOD” bye will be a short exploration of some of the lessons I’ve learned specifically from each person’s passing through CFCC and you are all, of course, welcome to add your own words in the comments section.

What can you do with 2 years of your life? What can you change? How can you better yourself? …because the truth of the matter is, that if you’re not going somewhere you’re going nowhere. 

Chris O’Connell came to CrossFit Center City having trained for many years with sports specific performance in mind.  In fact, he had officially been training with the folks over at Mike Boyle’s place (one of the best sports performance centers in the country, in my humble opinion) before he moved to Philly to attend school and found us.

Chris came to us with great athleticism, precision, and agility.  In his first 8 months of CrossFit (his first year of school) he advanced steadily and performed well. Upon returning from his summer vacation however I remember literally having to ask Chris if something dramatic had happened over his summer. All he said was, “I just know if I don’t keep showing up as often as possible I won’t get here at all.”

He attended CFCC with such dedication and began every session with such resolve that I was seriously wondering what he was up to.

The results?

Chris gained a number of impressive personal records before leaving us last week.  With him, he takes: a 400lb.+ Deadlift, a 300lb.+ Squat, a better press, double unders, a muscle up (and a sub-10 time for 30 muscle-ups), a Power Clean over 200lbs., and a weighted pull-up pushing 100lbs. over his bodyweight. Besides all that, Chris is also one of the fastest and most well-rounded athletes we have in our gym.

Seeing as how that’s not the Chris that walked into our doors on Camac Street way back when, I have to conclude: this stuff works – but only if you show up to work.

Dan John said, “The number one rule to being successful is showing up.” Although Chris has been known to show up a little too often (“Do you EVER take rest days?!?!?!” – me) I will say, that on the days when he has come in slightly sluggish either from work or play, he still gives every movement, every moment, and every rep his absolute best.

From an athlete’s perspective – I’m in awe and admiration of this kind of resolve. From a coach’s perspective – I can only hope for more athletes like Chris in my career.

The simple truth of the matter is that if you want something, you should simply start acting like it; start doing the things that it will take to get it and stop imagining that the right moment, the right skill, or the right circumstances are just going to fall into your lap. Begin with what you have – and be relentless.

Show up.  We’ll take care of the rest.

I am sad to see Hockey Chris go (for real, yo – who’s gonna follow up my every phrase with “that’s what she said…”???) but so grateful for the inspiration that he has given me throughout the last two years: to do my best even when I am exhausted, even when I know that it will not be my best, and even though I know I will not be the best.

Chris, we wish you the best in everything you do - and whatever you're doing, don't stop! "_____ ______ ___ ____." (go ahead, fill in the blank - I know you want to... :))


7 Responses to ““GOOD” byes: Chris O’Connell or, “Hockey Chris””

  1. Meghan June 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    I will gladly take up the role of “That’s What She Said” – er. No seriously, it’s no trouble.

  2. Rachel June 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Well said Erin!!! And I’m so sad to see you go, Chris! Hope you’ll come back for a visit and stop in to crush us all as usual 🙂

  3. Drew June 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    chris, you’re awesome!!!! we’ll miss you and we hope you come back for a visit whenever you’re in town 🙂

  4. Todd June 8, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Good luck Chris. Your workout times and loads are so strong that I thought “hockey Chris” was Chris Pronger for my first 4 months. I was very confused the first time I trained with you.

  5. sammaurelio June 8, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    CHRIS I MISS YOU ALREADY!!!! Thanks for being such an amazing light in our lives. I’ll hit you up next time I’m in LA!!!! Safe travels =)

  6. Chris Santaniello June 9, 2011 at 2:37 am #

    Erin you are a great writer. Well said. Chris good luck with your new ventures in life. If you take on everything you encounter in life with that humble, no quit attitude you brought to crossfit everyday you will be a very happy and successful person. Best wishes.

  7. jpap June 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    Chris, good luck with everything.

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