In Tribute to Travis

I don't know if I would have made it if he hadn't done that, sir. It made me embarrassed to be afraid when he wasn't afraid. I guess that's leadership, sir." - A Sense of Honor

This quote about leadership stood out the second I read it. I've saved many quotes from this book not knowing if I'd ever use 'em but that wasn't the goal. Collecting intelligent and inspiring verbiage was.

I have a reason to use it now and that reason has a name. His name is Travis.

Travis, for those that are yet to meet him, is someone that came into our lives when he joined Tribute Strength a year ago. However, joining TS doesn't make him the "reason".

This is the "reason"...

It will be so worth it though. Its one year. It isn't that bad for the rest of my life. I make that trade." - Travis

Travis CrossFits while carrying an oxygen tank. Travis struggles to walk 50' without stopping. Travis has Cystic Fibrosis...Travis is getting a lung transplant.

Read that paragraph over again and read it slower this time. Comprehend it, let it sink in and now read his quote again.

Travis is facing a fight for his life on a daily basis. It's not some 12 minute AMRAP or some long chipper. He's not fabricating some inspirational story to motivate himself to "get another round in". This is real life. Life with consequences that matter more than your time or weight on the chalkboard.

Yet when I spoke to Travis about this pending and immediate need for transplant surgery all he focused on was the fact that he "will be running miles" a year from now. Overlooking the major surgery he's embarking on, the 3 months in complete 100% isolation post-surgery or the 3 months spent in limited isolation after that.

Remember his quote I told you to read over again? Well, read it over one more time...

Personally speaking there are more people in this world that end up disappointing me than impressing me. With that being said, there are certain character traits in people that not only impress me but even more so inspire me.

Well, Travis has them. In spades. And I'm embarrassed to be afraid of anything now. And that's leadership.

So from all of us at Tribute Strength here's to your incredible outlook, attitude, and a brand new set of lungs. In September 2017 we'll run miles together when we complete "Travis" in tribute to you, sir.


Words That Come Later

Updated Beginning To This Blog: It’s kind of emotional that my last entry was announcing the opening of Tribute Strength. Fast forward a fast five months and my next post is this…

I mentioned “words come later” the other day in one of the Tribute instagrams and it seems that “later” is right now. Saturday was a whirlwind of a day for obvious reasons and I’m pretty sure the nerves and adrenaline didn’t quite begin to calm down until Sunday morning. For those that stayed from start to finish you heard me say a few things at the end that you’ll recognize now. Personally, I see no harm in repeating myself since every word out of my mouth I meant. And every word out of my mouth that day came from the heart not the mind.

Thank you. Again, thank YOU. First and foremost. I’ve said it before when I’ve had the floor and I’ll continue to say it for as long as I’m able. Tribute Strength may be the name on the check that goes to Sgt. Wishnia and the money may have come via a fundraiser that TS held but there is no dollar figure on that check and no 8 minute AMRAP in that gym if there are no willing participants. 

It’s the community, and not just the CrossFit community, that deserves all the credit in the world for helping make “Tough Love” happen. We received donations from friends and family from all over. And personally, every time someone reached out to me my heart would skip a beat.

When this idea was in the planning stages we were thinking we’d be thrilled if we could be a part of raising some money and saw 40 teams as a dream! 60 teams later and the dream not only materialized but it multiplied. Multiplied to the point of secret concern about whether or not we could be efficient in event planning as well as ensuring event fun. I’ll leave the opinion of how the event was run to others but I’ll say this - I could not be more thankful for the people involved. Specifically people that are not only great event organizers but also great people. People that I can trust. People that stick to their word and will have your back no matter what. People I can legitimately call friends. People that I love. People like Aimee and Marlon Dungo, Jen Guiliano, John and Colleen Frank and my beautiful wife, Michelle Greco.

Countless other people that offered and provided assistance without being asked. People that shared the event and told friends and family. People that reached out and wished good luck if they could not attend. People that genuinely cared.

This all may seem like a dramatic thank you but for me it’s not. It’s honesty. Like I said earlier, I don’t speak from the mind. I speak from the heart. My heart was heavy on Saturday. Seeing a group of people come out to support a friend in ridiculously cold temperatures on an early Saturday morning is humbling. It’s special. It’s selfless. In the world of CrossFit where “community” is thrown around almost as much as “PR videos” are posted to social media it’s refreshing to see an ACTUAL community gather.

Which leads me to repeating myself once again. Thank you again to the following gym owners that not only supported verbally and financially but supported physically as well.  Joe Romano and Mission Fitness, Jason Reo and CrossFit Nutley, Martha Mistretta and CrossFit Caldwell, Rick Buro and Full Dimension CrossFit, Karen Agrifolio and Exit 153, Jamie and Pete Hasselberger and CrossFit Passaic Valley, and Cornell Hunt and Hunt For Strength.

Gym owners coming together to support a single cause that doesn’t involve a podium finish. Gratifying.

Not to be left out are those that participated representing other gyms in the area. Your support is something that we cannot adequately convey with just words.

Thank you also to Lululemon Athletica Montclair – Bloomfield Ave for assisting in the planning and logistics of the event. Including but not limited to, providing the Kettlebell Kitchen treats, the tremendous DJ Anthony Colon and generous gifts for the raffle. Specifically Brittany Burlazzi and Christian Lee-Fatt. Lulu has a great team in Montclair that also includes the likes of Julie Derosa, Kelly Corcoran, Renee Mlynaryk and Alex Schulien that are tremendous supporters of Tribute and for that we are grateful.

Thank you to our great friends at Iron Physical Therapy in Caldwell. Geno Mayes and Co. reached out offering to help in any way and help out they did. Geno is all class and so are the people that work alongside him.

Thank you to Israel Cronk and Bangz Salon and Spa for an incredible no questions asked donation that someone was lucky enough to take home.

Last but certainly not least. Thank you to the Wishnia family for being supportive and open with their story. That may be something that gets overlooked in all of this. It’s no easy task to open your soul up for public evaluation and opinion. Especially a wounded soul. Thank you Michael. Thank you Linda and Bernie. Thank you Dave and John. Any little bit helps so I hope this bit helps. Love you guys.

Next up – a podium finish for your country as opposed to your ego. #RoadToRio #TeamUSA