By: Paul Amato

A community is, by definition, a unified body of individuals with common interests in a particular area.  For our purposes today we will be discussing our community as it is seen through the world of CrossFit.  Over the past weekend we hosted our very first Reality Games.  We had over 100 athletes competing, 250+ spectators, and about 30 volunteers from within our own community.  We had regional caliber athletes, people who just started CrossFit, and some who were somewhere in between.  But one athlete stole the show.  He didn’t steal the show because he was the next Rich Froning, no, he stole the show because he came and gave it his all.  He left every ounce of effort he could out there on that floor.  


He showed us why having excuses for not being able to workout or not making the time to workout are irrelevant.  This young man embodied the true meaning of overcoming adversity, perseverance, and living life to the fullest each and every day.  He inspired me to write this blog today and I hope that he inspires you to always put a smile on your face and put your best effort forward everyday in the gym and in life.

Dane’s Parents Mark & Nova began CrossFitting some three years ago at Heyday Elite Fitness (CrossFit Heyday).  They approached the owner, a humble and selfless coach by the name of Eddie McKenna, and inquired about having their son possibly try CrossFit.  There was a catch though, their son had Down syndrome. They had their concerns with having him jump into classes with the large groups etc…  But Coach Eddie, inspired by the works of CrossFit Coach Sam Dancer who had worked with an athlete under similar circumstances, volunteered his time and coaching to help this young man begin his fitness journey in early 2016.  
I’ve long said that our limits in what we can do in this world are confined to the walls we see ourselves having in our own minds.  If we would remove our fears and barriers we all would succeed to far greater lengths in this world.  Dane has removed those limits, and with the help of his coaches he has become a force to be reckoned with in the CrossFit world.  When I spoke with his coach I asked him a series of questions regarding Danes training and his abilities. He told me how the biggest hurdle Dane faced was teaching him to defy his limits and to never quit.  He said that when Dane first walked in he was a little overweight and didn’t quite understand how to push himself.  Eddie found the key to helping dane succeed, he found the piece to the puzzle as I like to call it, and pushed Dane to new levels.  That puzzle piece came in the form of asking Dane if he was giving up.  This of course is something Dane would never do.  So when Dane would slow down, Eddie would ask “are you giving up on me” and Dane would immediately respond with “NO!” and pick up the pace until he would finish.  Coach Eddie says that Danes greatest accomplishment is his overall transformation into becoming an athlete.  Dane has turned his disability into an ability to overcome adversity, he does not shy away from competition, he does not quit.  He is someone we should all look up to and we should all try to be more like Dane.  I hope this story, this young man, and his journey inspires you all as it has inspired me.


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There are moments in life that are so inspirational that it will forever leave an impression on your heart. Seeing #derekredmondsdad help his son finish the race in the 92 olympics was the best moment I can remember until this past weekend. This is my new favorite inspirational moment…@rickymagana and his teammate, who has #downsyndrome, grinding it out to the last rep…hearing the roar of the crowd cheer him on…listening to the announcer call out the last seconds as they squeezed in that last rep of the day – made all the work and all the time put into this event worth it. Thank you guys for letting us share in this experience. #coachrob – – #crossfit #crossfitmen #crossfitreality #crossfitteens #therealitygames #crossfitcoach #friends #family @crossfitgames

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