“You forgot the Rule. Now, what is the Rule…”

I’ve been sitting here for a while, not quite sure where to even start with this.

You know those people in your life that you can never thank enough for the impact they’ve had in it? Well there’s been a few of those so far in my journey but there is one in-particular, that in more ways than one, has had an influence on shaping the person I am today and I don’t feel like I’ve done enough to say thank you.

So I guess I’ll start from the beginning. Freshman year of high school computer class; for the first time in my life I’m put in a situation, or maybe I put myself in a situation, where I didn’t think something seemed quite right and I wasn’t going to sit in quiet and just let it be. During part of the class we would have to work on our typing skills, drills like having the keyboard covered and you’d have to type certain paragraphs out of certain books so on and so forth. Well, there were certain students, who just happened to be really into computers that didn’t have to do these drills and since I thought of myself as a pretty good “typer” I didn’t think it was fair that for some reason they didn’t have to spend class time working on their typing and I did. So I approached my teacher and plead my case, he could have just given me “well life isn’t fair” or “I am the teacher and I make the rules” but no he sat me down and talked to me like I was an adult and explained how he thought it was best for me to continue to do what he was having me do, but that he respected that I came to him and talked to him about how I felt. It was the first time that I learned that I shouldn’t sit in quiet if I questioned something, to stand up for what I believed in and even if the outcome wasn’t what I had initially wanted I would learn from the situation regardless and now I know that he was truly having me do what he knew was best for me. So simply, Thank you.

Sophomore year of high school; I get invited to go on a week long Leadership Rock Climbing Trip down in RedRocks, Nevada. Of course I took the offer, little did I know at the time how much it would shape the person I am today. I was pretty quiet in school, was involved in as many groups and sports as I could be but was still pretty reserved and timid. The climbing trip was one of the best week’s of my life. I could go on and on about the trip itself, but you guys probably wouldn’t care to read about it. I have so many good memories about this time and so many little instances that helped me grow as a young individual, but there is one that really stands out. It rained the majority of the time we were down there so we didn’t get to climb as much as originally planned, but right before we were getting ready to leave we got a chance to actually climb the “big climb” of the trip. Everyone got to climb up the gully but Eric could only take a couple of us, including himself up the rest of the way and I was one of the students he picked to climb up the multi-pitch climb. This was my first actual multi-pitch climb and I was scared like no-other to continue up the slab, but he had faith in me and trusted me to make the climb. It meant more than I can explain that he chose me to go up with him, when we reached the top of our climb I had this feeling that I was invincible, this feeling that I could really do anything I put my mind to. It gave me a confidence that I was lacking in myself, and from that moment on I told myself I was going to give everything I did my everything and I owe it to you! That climb changed my life, changed my mentality, made me realize, however cliche it may seem that I was meant for something bigger than just going through the day to day motions. So, thank you…

So what does this all have to do with a post on Old Country? Fast forward a few years. I had graduated high school, had my freshman year of college under my belt, which was paid for in full on scholarships, which I owe that in part to the man who challenged me that freshman computer class and the same man who took me on that leadership trip my sophomore year. Summer going in to my sophomore year at the University of Washington, I walk into CrossFit. I had always been an athlete but after an injury that ended my throwing career I had “let myself go.” My first day that the gym, which I’m sure some of you can relate to, was a rude awakening. I wasn’t the athlete I once was, but now I was 20+ lbs heavier, I could barely do a pushup and all of that stuff. Well needless to say I realized I needed to continue and so I did. The more I did it the more I fell in love with it. A few month later I was talking to that old teacher of mine who had taken me on that climb, who you may hear me refer to as E, Eric, Old Guy, Sven, or maybe once in a while Mr. Christianson. When he told me about this girl that he knew in Spokane that was pretty badass and she competed in Lumberjack (or Lumberjill) Competitions. He, knowing my passion for athletics and competition, told me that I should look into that because he thought I’d be good at it. I won’t get into how me doing a lumberjack competition isn’t as random as it sounds, I’ll save that for another post, but after looking into it I thought to myself, “you know you should do that, you need something to train for, but you’ll never be good enough at crossfit to compete in that, so why not lumberjack stuff.” So anyways, I sent Zach a text simply saying, “I want to train to compete in a Lumberjack competition.” I believe his initial response was, “you’re shitting me.” But then he responded with, “well I can’t help you out with the specifics, but I can get you strong enough for it.” And that folks is when Zach started allowed me into what would become “Caliber Cycle.” Zach programmed differently for Johnny and myself because we needed a little bit different style of training than the general program. So I guess you could say Sven is one of the reasons we today have the program most of us love to train with. Anyways, I continued this training with the goal of competing in a Lumberjack competition, but in a few short months found myself competing on our  team at Regionals in 2010. From then on I switched from Lumberjack Competition to competing in CrossFit, but I owe it to Eric or “Sven,” for pushing me to train for something. That training is what made me fall in love with coaching people and the program. It changed my life and it redirected my path. I never thought I’d be doing what I am doing but I absolutely love  it and I can’t imagine where I would be if you would have never challenged me and pushed me on this path. So “Sven”, thank you.

I know this post isn’t much and for most of you. You may not understand the stories or think they are meaningful, but sometimes in life you can’t give much more than a simple thank you. And to me, a thank you to the “Old Guy” isn’t quite enough, nor is it all that he deserves. But it’s what I have to give. You are one of my biggest supporters and no matter what, I know you will always be there for me if I need someone there. You’ve played such a big part in this journey that I’m on and you may not even realize it, but it means the world to me. You are one of the Club’s biggest Strong is Beautiful advocates and I owe a big part of that whole idea to you pushing me so that I could truly learn the meaning of Strong Is Beautiful. So thank you. You have taught me so much and I am and will always be truly grateful.

Thank you for being such a big part of my life.

“You are a bright and beautiful lady; go out and get what you want rather than sitting back and waiting for it. Good things don’t come to those who wait, good things come to those who get off their dead ass and go get them.” -Sven

Posted by: Roo

6 Responses to ““You forgot the Rule. Now, what is the Rule…””

  1. Always wanted to see you go to town with that axe but I think you turned out pretty good in my book.

    I’d like to thank Eric or Sven too. With out his encouragement I never would have found such and amazing athlete or Coach to work with.

    I think we booth owe him a thank you.

  2. A picture of this man should be up in the gym.

  3. For the record, I still think you should do a lumberjack competition bc that would be badass!

    Great post Roo! I always knew you were a hidden treasure 😉 and these people knew too!

  4. vikingclimber@gmail.com Says:

    It is beyond a mere “honor” to have someone of the innate quality of Roo sing your praise. Thank you Roo, you too have been a bright spot in my life. There are a few things that I would note:

    First, what a well typed post from a lady with an obvious command of the keyboard and some great typing skills. One never knows what skills will be useful later in life. You can rest assured that your keyboarding teacher is proud of you.

    Second, to add context it is important for the readers to know that you were not “invited” to go on the Leadership Adventure, you were BEGGED to join us because of your obvious leadership potential. You were a kind, strong, caring leader of all around you; you were merely too shy to realize it. From the beginning you would have been one of my primary targets to get into climbing, but I had to surrender politically to the coaches of the traditional sports who had their claims on you.

    Third, let me add some context into why you were “picked” to join me on the big climb at the end. The approach to the climb is a 50 – 60 minute hike through the desert. I packed a huge pack full of ropes and gear, and every time I stopped to talk to the group, I would nonchalantly leave a rope or something and walk off. EVERY time, students would walk past and Roo would pick it up and add it to her pack, putting her at the back of the line. By the time I stopped again, Roo would be near the front, and again would end up picking up the next “present” beside the trail. By the time we finished the approach, the last 10 minutes being steep up-hill, Roo was right behind me again with a heavy pack full of EVERYTHING I had left. Roo was not “picked,” Roo earned the right to make the climb. The climb just happened to be about 1100 feet vertical (for your Seattle folks, the space needle is 600 feet) and Roo did it with a confident smile. I have video of her at the top, but I cannot find it at the moment. Soon!

    Finally, Roo’s post melts my heart. There are a handful of students who remain important to me years later, and Roo is definitely one of them. Last March I made my FIRST mental error while rock climbing and fell 40 feet. I broke my pelvis, two vertebra, and four ribs. They shipped me to Seattle to Harborview Hospital. For the first four days I was a mess, heavily sedated, and getting some great surgical scars. On about day five I finally bottomed out and decided it was time to begin my recovery. WHAT IS THE RULE ABOUT WHINING? The first person I contacted was Roo, because that was a moment that I surely needed a little Strong is Beautiful in my life and I needed her reassurance. I OFTEN watch her videos, and share her videos with my friends. Whenever I do anything physically challenging, it is Roo that I think of for motivation as my body says to quit. As you all know, Roo is a fantastic and supportive leader, coach, and FRIEND. Beautiful, strong in body and mind, bright, kind and caring. I love you Roo and you will always have my support. Sven.

    • So touching. thank you Roo for having the courage to open up your soul to all of us that look up to you and love you. I’m lucky enough to be teaching people like you, in their prime, and super motivated, doing what is hard and important. You make the world go round. Can’t say enough.

  5. Agree with everything already said, really great post Roo. I also agree with Amina when she says you should still do a lumberjack competition. Thank you for sharing this piece of your life with us!

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