10 years ago this week, I packed my bags after finishing school in London, Ontario and moved back home to B.C. with no clear idea of what I was going to do next.
My political science undergrad degree and my MA in journalism were proving useless in terms of providing employment, and I was starting to think the time had come to let go of my rowing dreams. It was a confusing and stressful time navigating post-student life, but every time I showed up for a class at MadLab my stress levels decreased and I felt a strength within me that I’d figure things out.
As a sidenote, I still remember the first time I walked through the doors here. It was actually in June 10 years ago when I was still living in London but was home for a visit. Andy coached the class, and like 90 percent of the women who walk through the door here, a small to medium-sized crush started to grow. But. that. is. a. story. for. another. time.
Two or three months in to training here, Patty approached me and asked me if I’d be interested in becoming his apprentice coach.
What the hell? I don’t have anything else going on, I thought to myself.
Though my decision to start coaching here was a spontaneous, and not really well thought out one, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. In fact, committing to something for 10 years and counting is the longest time I have ever stuck with one thing, be it a sport, a school, a relationship…
The point is, I never dreamed about being a coach. I never dreamed I’d even work in the fitness industry, per se. But I truly get so much out of it. So much out of bringing fitness and health and happiness to others, and I'd be lying if I didn't also mention, a huge reason I love it here, and why I have no intention of stopping coaching at MadLab, is because of what this community gives me.
The last decade has been formative, and a lot of this has to do with this community. I have gone from only knowing what it was like to be a broke student to becoming a functioning adult in her mid-30s thanks to this place. I experienced the greatest athletic achievement of my life in 2014 when I qualified to the CrossFit Games thanks to this place. I have figured out how to become an entrepreneur and make a professional wage thanks to this place. I fell in love, and have watched others fall in love, thanks to this place. And I have made lifelong friends, much thanks to this place.
After 10 years, I couldn’t be more thankful. To my clients. To other coach's clients who are great friends, and especially to the other coaches. In light of this, I want to give a few personal thank yous to the other coaches…I wouldn’t be here without all of your contributions.
Patty and his apprentices back in 2010
In 10 years, I have never had a single issue with you. That’s pretty insane in a workplace. You are consistent and low maintenance and a joy to work with. No drama BEAR! Much appreciated.
See T-Bear… Also, your sense of humour is under-appreciated, to say the least. You are so smart, so witty, so capable with so much to teach, and yet you flaunt none of that. In a world of humble bragging—especially on social media—you are a breath of fresh air.
Dashie, you make our lives so much easier. I know much of what you do is thankless, but we do realize it, and we do know we wouldn’t survive without it. I mean, without you, we might not actually have a payroll day! (Back in the day, payday was, well, whenever Patty felt the energy from the great wave to cut our cheques. I’d be in the middle of coaching and Patty would sidle up to me unexpectedly, shake my hand and hand me my cheque). But more importantly, the compassion and patience you show me specifically is above what I could ever expect.
You challenge me in a way that nobody else does: You make me want to be a better coach! (Sorry for the Jerry McGuire line). You aren't afraid to be honest and stand for something and call people on things—on areas they need to improve—and this pushes me to be better. And on the other side of that push is a real warmth and friend who has been there for me through multiple tearful times. We are due for a Bourgoo lunch, my friend.
I have always been drawn to how raw, real, authentic and genuine you are. Back in the day when I was an apprentice coach learning the ropes, it was YOU I looked to to see how to develop real relationships with clients. In 10 years, our relationship has evolved from colleagues, to coach-client to becoming legitimate friends. I value your friendship so so much and appreciate and admire your ability to truly connect with others. It's a rare, rare quality and it makes you a contagious person I just want to be around.
Because I know you appreciate brevity and probably don’t want me going into details, I’ll keep it short and sweet. You have more integrity than any other human being I know. Like legitimately, I have the most respect for you. Period.
I have learned more from you than from any other single human being I have ever had in my life. Granted, sometimes in the moment I want to punch you in the face (and even after the moment sometimes), but it’s always worth it because of how much I learn on the other side of the challenge you provide. You have opened my eyes and changed the way I see the world and have helped me grow into the work-in-progress I still am today, and have provided so many laughs (and tears) along the way. What more could I ask for in a boss and a great friend?
This is us 2019: