My first day at Starke

By Ben Fransoo

I first came into Starke for an appointment with a physiotherapist that worked in the same building, Kevin. Right away the class in progress greeted me, I pretended to play along as if I was just late, and to my surprise, I was welcomed into the circle that barely fit the original Starke 1.0 gym. After my appointment, Paul introduced himself to me, but not as the owner of the gym, just as, “Paul.” Not knowing he was the owner, I started asking about the facility, as I had recently started doing CrossFit at another gym at the other end of town where I lived. It didn’t take long for him and I to get acquainted; both of us having raced Motocross and Triathlon previous to CrossFit, I right away saw that we had a lot in common. I asked him if he was about to train, and he said he was about to do Double DT. Double DT is 10 Rounds for time of 12 Deadlifts, 9 Hang Power Cleans and 6 Push Jerks at 155 lbs, not exactly a beginner workout. However, I was not about to back down from a challenge. I considered myself decent at the movements, so without much hesitation… Or warm up, I threw some weight on the bar and got started.

Carefully pacing myself off of Paul at every interval, I would be listening to his bar to land and let go of the bar at the same time. As we got to the fifth round I decided I wanted to push the pace a little, I wasn’t feeling too beat up and Paul was showing no sign of slowing down. To my surprise, Paul stuck to his pace, opting to still break up both the deadlifts and hang power cleans. It wasn’t long before I realized my mistake, after one round of going straight through on the movements, I was smoked, and the small lead on him I had built up was closing. I managed to slog through the rest of the workout, but it wasn’t pretty. When I finished the workout I looked over at Paul, each of his reps looking clean and precise, as if he had a judge watching every single repetition. It was in that moment I realized I probably hadn’t fully stood up on a single rep of the entire workout. All of a sudden I realized how much I still had to learn, and how much I could still grow as an athlete. Once Paul was done as well, we shook bloody hands and I told him I wanted to become a member of his gym. Since then I’ve completely remodeled myself as an athlete, prioritizing my movement and always trying to set a good example for my fellow athletes. As a by-product, I’ve made huge improvements as an athlete, and can’t thank Paul enough for that fresh serving of humble pie almost two years ago.