What an unbelievably tight community Prescott, Arizona and Captain Crossfit are lucky enough to be a part of. I travel to events for Gnarly all the time. I’m lucky enough to meet different athletes competing in the different sports that Gnarly supports on a pretty regular basis. Some are small, local events and some have been pretty big. Usually I’m helping set up our booth, passing out samples and making sure everyone’s questions about Gnarly Whey are answered. I’ll be honest with you, sometimes it’s tough to work these shows. I love talking to people and getting the word out about our clean stuff, but they can be long days. Usually I’ve lost my voice and my feet are aching from standing for so long. Sometimes staff at events can be a little cranky trying to make sure everyone of us that has a booth showing off our wares has what we need. Simple things like getting a power cord or trying to get things organized, set up, taken down, etc, can really start to grind on you. After events, I’m usually left pretty whipped and ready crawl back behind my desk and just be content to write for a while.
But that wasn’t the case this past weekend. Everyone that came out to volunteer their time, help Captain Crossfit set up the memorial WOD and honor the 19 dead firefighters from their small community had a smile on their face and was eager to help. Everyone there knew what they were doing was important. Everyone there was happy and excited that a community, a sport, a gym and firefighters from everywhere could come together and honor these 19 fallen ‘Hotshots’ and the sacrifice they made for their community. At the time of this writing, the event has raised over $220,000 in donations.
Heading into Prescott, I had no idea what to expect. I could tell you about the hero WOD, how 500 competitors showed up to take part in it, how insanely hard it was for me to get through the workout, the great night trail run I went on with the Gnarly Czar afterwards -where I cut my head open climbing the granite rocks that make up Thumb Butte, the beautiful night view I would’ve missed out if I hadn’t kept going at the Czar’s behest, the fried cookie dough we ate in town, the gorgeous Arizona scenery in general, the excitement of watching big names like Chris Spealler and Lindsey Valenzuela compete –I could tell you about a lot of things.
But I want to tell you about this:
There’s a memorial wall that stretches probably close to 100 yards end to end with shirts from different fire stations across the country. Posters with prayers, notes with well wishes, candles, pictures, crosses and flags –they all were on display, hooked into a chain link fence that rounds the corner across the street from the gym and the Granite Mountain Fire Station where these firefighters worked from. A lot of them worked out at Captain Crossfit. Families, athletes and spectators all wandered over to the makeshift memorial at some point during the day. When I finally did, I not only realized the size of the loss this community must be feeling, but I knew that this was one of those rare moments where sport can transcend simply being a competition between athletes and become something more. This weekend, this event, the money raised, it meant that heroes were honored by a community they served. It meant that their spirit and their courage were not taken for granted. I’m glad I was there.
Thank you to Captain Crossfit for hosting us. Thank you, Prescott for letting us hang out. And thank you, crossfitters, firefighters, and everyone else for coming together and being a part of something bigger than all of us.
Watch how the pro’s handled the hero WOD here.
Photo Credit: Matt Hinshaw Prescott Daily Courier