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It’s What Makes Roots Special to Me


It’s What Makes Roots Special to Me

21-15-9 reps of:
Clean 135 pounds
Ring dips

The old Roots, before the numerous walls came down, and when everyone had 109 square feet of space each to workout.

Don, This One’s For You

A year ago this evening I was out to dinner with Eric and a friend and headed to California the next day to visit my grandfather who had fallen ill with pneumonia.  The phone rang and I answered to say hello to my brother who I assumed was calling to discuss picking me up from the airport.  “Hey Nicole, Don passed away this evening.”

I’ll never forget my brother’s words and I’ll always remember the sad, empty, and helpless feeling.  Don was the first, and only so far, of my grandparents to pass away and death was something with which I had limited exposure.  I spent the evening crying, laughing, and remembering my grandfather with Eric sitting in the chairs my grandparents had sent to us and which I had sat in with my grandfather as a little girl.

The next morning the alarm went off at 5:00am.  I felt lost and didn’t know how I could coach.  Eric told me he would cover my classes but the idea of being alone was unappealing so I went with him and sat by the computer through the 5:30 class.

I sat there remembering the phone conversation I had with Don where I told him that I was quitting my job and starting my own business.  He was unquestionably supportive.  Don had made his living and provided for his family with his small business. Gibson Paint Company was my great grandfather’s business which my grandfather took over in 1950.  In the year before Don’s death, many of our conversations were about his experience as a business owner.  Don helped us to start Roots out of our garage in 2009.

The morning after Don passed away the only thing that made sense to me was to do a workout in the shop that he helped create.  I’ll never forget the workout, it was at 7:00am, and it was a medley of squats for a minute followed by pull-ups or push-ups, for as long as you could go.  Tracy, Jason, and Bird were there.  Eric coached the workout and I cried throughout.  The sweat probably masked the tears or everyone ignored them.  I’m still not sure which, but thanks.

Each day at Roots everyone is going through something.  The excitement of a family member visiting town, birth of a new baby, a promotion, a great day, a stressful day, sick kids, or death in the family.  For many of us, we find comfort and solstice in our workout and the camaraderie of the athletes around us. It’s what makes Roots a special place to me.

Don, this one’s for you.

9 Responses

  1. TYD

    If anybody is looking for something to do tonight, head on over to Boulder Indoor Cycling at 7:00pm for some exhibition track racing. There will be free beer and you can BYO snacks and other beverages. I posted a link to all the info on my Facebook profile.

  2. Stephanie Baltz

    Thanks, Nicole. Your grandfather sounds like a very special man.

    And I would be willing to venture a guess that there have been a few tears shed during WODs, and not just because the workout hurts! Roots is a supportive community.

  3. Stephanie Baltz

    For those of you not on FB, just wanted to say:

    Thanks, everyone for the get well card! It arrived in the mail just now and really brightened my day. I am *so* looking forward to the day when I can get back in the shop and actually work out. Right now, it feels like a long way off… guess I will be swimming some laps in the meantime! In the meantime, get after it for me!

  4. Mary

    Thank you for sharing this story about Don, Nicole. He sounds like an amazing man. And thanks to Don for his support in creating Roots; I agree that it is a special place.

  5. Bones

    Thanks for the story N – I remember crying during my workout last year, too! In fact, I did so again this morning. And get well, Stephanie – I miss having you kick my arse in the WOD, too