Most of you have seen Sean (dude in all black) around the gym over the last few weeks or have taken one of his classes. Here is a little bit about Sean and who he is:
First and foremost, I’d like to thank Jared and Tracy for this opportunity. Without the two of you, this would not be possible.
For those of you who have not yet met me, my name is Sean O’Hara, and I have been a friend and supporter of CrossFit Route 1 since its beginnings. In fact, I was Jared’s first coach. The start to this relationship was rather serendipitous, so for those of you who don’t believe in lucky timing, I’d beg to differ. At the time, I was a student at Harvard, where I studied government and was a member of the baseball team. That summer, I had elected, to the dismay of my coaches, to forgo playing summer baseball- a decision you will come to understand very shortly. A few days after arriving home from school, I began training at the gym of our mutual alma mater, St. John’s Prep. It was there that a coach and teacher referred me to Jared.
I showed up the next day, a scorcher if I recall correctly, just as the truck pulled in with all the equipment. In the days, weeks, and months to follow that the foundation of my friendship with Jared, Tracy, and the Monaco family would develop. At the time, the CrossFit Route 1 that you all now know today, was nothing but an empty space and twinkle in Jared’s eye. In the next six years, through hard work and persistence that twinkle would go from nothing, to something. Today, that something is a beautiful expression of community, that something is each and every one of you.
During my days at school, I spent a quarter of my time ranging between being an inconsistently poor, mediocre, and above average athlete, all at the same time. My collegiate athletic career would be best characterized as fearful, uninspired, and defeated. Despite having my unequal share of physical ability, my mental game lagged far behind. For that reason alone, I truly did not enjoy my on-the-field experience. Although this may seem net negative (and it certainly felt that way at the time), in retrospect I’ve grown to appreciate the experience for what it was. For all the fear and mental stress that I put on myself, there was an even greater amount of positives. What I recall the most from my time as a college athlete has absolutely nothing to do with baseball, instead it is the relationships, the camaraderie, and the collective struggle. The wins, the losses, the results are but an afterthought. I am sure I would think differently about these results if they had been different, but the better question is whether I would have learned as much.
The next quarter of my time at school was spent haphazardly attending or skipping classes, cramming for tests, and lazily writing papers. At one point, I was specifically asked by my TA where my books were- and I meekly, yet in a sense proudly, responded that I had never bought them. This is a fine example of my efforts as a student; I’d rather spend my family’s money on 30 racks than the materials for my classes. In retrospect, I wish I had been less intimidated by the academic environment. I wish I had leaned into the discomfort of not being as academically capable as those who surrounded me, of not knowing things.
The remaining half of my time at school was spent sleeping, drinking everything, bonding with my teammates, chasing girls, and- well- being a privileged, white, male. There isn’t a ton to say about this, and frankly, although misguided, it was a lot of fun.
All of this was done on my late grandfather’s dime, who graciously, yet unknowingly, invested in my college experience (education doesn’t quite sum it up). I can only imagine he was rolling over in his grave, but perhaps he wasn’t. Perhaps he understood. I can only wonder.
Until only recently, my attitude toward my own intellect and mental capabilities was negative and self-defeating. I leaned on a crutch of athleticism. There is something intensely discouraging about our own and others perception of what we are good and bad at. After 27 years of experience, I can now say with confidence that these perceptions hold little to no truth. Nowadays I would consider my mind and its ability to learn new things far more capable than my body- the precise opposite of what I thought for 99% of my life. In essence, I have moved away from the ‘fixed’ mindset towards the ‘growth’ mindset.
In June of 2011, I was handed a diploma, shook some hands, and walked off stage. For the first time in my life I had no clue what was next and to make it worse I had the worst hangover of my life. Literally. I would go on to be borderline depressed (and I mean no disrespect to those who struggle with this very real condition) for the next 3 1/2 years of my life. I would spend most of this time inside my own head, despite giving off the façade that I was having a wonderful time traveling around the world. Lost might be the best word for it.
I played baseball in Europe, road tripped the western portion of that continent, trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Rio De Janiero, explored and surfed the east coast of Australia, and continued to party. The whole operation was financed by spending half the year in Nantucket working as a lifeguard and taxi driver. A lot was learned along the way, much of which is only now beginning to express itself. It may seem odd, but for me, the majority of the things I learned traveling were recognized after the fact, sometimes years later, and not in the moment.
After 3 ½ years of wandering, I figured it was about time to work a ‘real’ job, and signed on at a local, Boston based, residential energy company. I spent the year going into peoples’ homes and attempting to make their homes more efficient- kind of like a half consulting role and half sales role. The experience was very worthwhile, but it certainly was not something I saw myself doing for an extended period of time. Furthermore, during this year, I spent a lot of time reading, learning, writing, and primarily thinking about what I was to do with this gift, the gift of being alive. Luckily (for me), 2 months ago, the business went bankrupt and every person in the company lost their job in a matter of hours. For some this must have been devastating, but for me, it opened a door.
About two weeks after being laid off, I came back to CrossFit Route 1 to catch up with Jared and an unexpected yet welcomed opportunity presented itself. Jared needed someone to help out around the gym and I jumped on the opportunity. As of now, my role is to fill in as a coach, teach prep courses, help build our online presence, clean, write, and offer some neutral insight, more or less do what I could to be helpful and earn a wage. So far, I’ve done a little bit of each of these things, and that is why some of you have seen me around, and some of you probably haven’t seen me at all. Jared and I agreed upon a 6 month commitment and we will reassess my role here at the end of that time period.
Throughout my life, I’ve had all sorts of thoughts and emotions about who I was as a person and where my interests lied. These thoughts and emotions continue to this day and I expect them to continue until the day that I can no longer do so. Although I cannot say exactly what it is that I want to do with my life, I believe it has something to do with helping other people become the truest expressions of themselves possible. This may sound like hippy nonsense, and to some extent, it probably is. After all, I do have long hair, I do enjoy yoga, I do focus a lot on breathing, and I do probably say ‘present moment’ far more often than the average person. That being said, as an individual, I believe that I hold a responsibility to everyone that has come before me and everybody who will come after me to leave this world a better place than it was when I arrived. In the big scheme of things, my life and yours may only be a small part of the larger universe, but here and now, to you and I, they are everything.
The path forward will not be easy. There will be ups and downs. We will make mistakes. We will fail. A lot. But it is our responsibility and our nature to carry on. I like to think that there are only two major decisions we need to make in our lives. The first is a commitment to becoming whoever it is we want to be, an ever evolving endeavor. The second, which will be made hundreds and thousands of times over, is a recommitment to the first.
There is about to be a true expression of this idea beginning to occur in the weeks and months to follow at CrossFit Route 1. Beckham, Jared and Tracy’s youngest son, will be learning to walk. At first, he will hold onto things and simply stand. Then, when he’s beckoned the courage to let go, he will wobble and fall. The progression will continue until he can walk effortlessly like the rest of us. Although he may fall a thousand times before he gets it, I can assure you, that each time, he will get back up, and try again.
My only expectation for all of you, for all of us, is to do the same.
1. coaches choice
2. 30 amrap
120 double unders
30 sit ups
50 super mans 1 sec hold
120 double unders