“12 years ago I stood watching the f-15 eagles fly over campus as I stood on the 3m diving platform. It made all of us wonder what was going on. Being a New Yorker in Texas and listening to the panic in my mothers repeated voice mails really solidified that the world had changed” -Bender
So much has been said, written, recounted, revisited, stated, supported, argued, and implied about that day. When everything in our world as Americans changed.
That’s not what this is about. Its about an opportunity. That opportunity is the joy of others. We all have so many things that pull us in different directions. What I love about this job (and I use that word loosely) is the people. Everyone comes here with excitement about what the WOD will be. The unknown is exciting. What keeps me so engaged is watching people grow together as a community and change.
When it happened I was in college at SMU. Part of a campus community, an athletic community, and a creative community.
Yesterday I just got to enjoy being part of this community. So much so that I forgot to take any pictures. Watching the skeptic look (possibly confusion/fear) as I explained the workout, turn to laughter as the session started and continued made me smile, and at points almost tear up (yup I’m human for those of you that think I’m a heartless cyborg. Although sometimes the thought of bionic arms sound Epic).
It’s that laughter that makes the early mornings, long days, late nights, 7 day work weeks, stress, anxiety, and fear all OK. Because it’s about the community, this community. Seeing strangers come together to have unplanned fun…is…well… Awesome.
Success is measured not by what lies behind you but what lies in front of you.
One of the biggest reasons I opened Contemporary Athlete was to give people a place to help them get to the next step. Both my rowing athletes and everybody else who is amazing that I get to work with. This is a story of that next step for one of CA’s very own leading athletes.
Mark Rotondi is poised and ready to take that step to the next level. Today, Mark and I are driving to Boston to a US Rowing, Jr. National Team identification camp. This is one of those opportunities to see how you stack up on the National level and see if you have what it takes to represent your country, hopefully on the international level.
When I first met Mark I had just been hired as the boys rowing coach at Niskayuna High School, prior to the thoughts of Contemporary Athlete beginning. It was a new adventure for me, and ultimately a big part of why I decided to open the facility. It’s something that I am excited about everyday both in the gym and on the water.
If you have ever met Mark he is a very enthusiastic young man. Always looking forward to whatever fun challenge is put before him. Whether that is a 5k-road race, a lifting session, Spartan Race, or pretty much anything, including push up contests outside of Chinese restaurants. His enthusiasm never ceases to amaze those he is around. This trait, that everything is fun also makes him a great team leader. For this very reason (fun) he found himself training frequently with the Saturday morning 9 am Contemporary Athlete group. His roles as both a pace setter and motivator for all that are around him, have lead to so much growth for all that are involved in it.
(Spartan Race 2012)
With FNR/Niskayuna Rowing being in its 25th year I thought it would be a great time to push us to the next level on the boys side. Mark is currently the one to lead that charge. Leaving the comfort of the Mohawk and going to Boston to row and compete with some of the regions best oarsmen to find out where he fits in the National development process.
This also is a proud and validating moment for me as a trainer and coach. On some personal level you doubt everything you do. Always unsure if you’re pushing too hard, not hard enough, or you have unrealistic goals for you and your clients/athletes. At least this is my struggle as a trainer and coach, always trying to improve my craft. In order be better for those around me, so they can become the best that they can, and to have fun while doing it.
(Lightweight Finals at indoor worlds)
Contemporary Athlete is one of those places where athletes of all levels and ability can come, and take personal risks for their own gains mentally, physically, and emotionally. That will be able to set them apart from their competitors. It’s a place where goals can be set and discussed openly.
Mark’s trip to Boston is going to be stressful, physically taxing, and an emotional roller coaster. He will weather the storm just fine and knowing him as I have gotten to do over the last 2 years (roughly) will come out excited about the next part of the journey and smiling about it the whole way. That is why he is the current CA athlete profile, if it’s not fun, even when awfully hard. Than why do it?
(Royal Canadian Henley)
Good Luck Mark! Not that you need it; as luck is for those that are not well prepared, and we definitely do prepared.