This is the essay that was submitted to CrossFit HQ in March of 2019 with my application to affiliate along with my request for the name “Southpaw”
Affiliation Essay – Nicholas Bock
Affiliate Name for application: CrossFit Southpaw
Just three short years later, it was time to pack my life into a series of square boxes and begin another chapter as my family relocated. This seemed to be the theme of my childhood and early adolescence. Different states, different countries, and different people were about the only constants in my life. Two things, however, broke that mold: family and exercise. My earliest memories involve flopping around on the floor next to my dad as my frail young frame tried to keep up with him on a set of pushups or riding my bike next to him while he ran. As I got older, every geographical move brought with it new trails to run, parks where I could perform calisthenics, and gyms to experience.
For a teenager with a stutter and no friend base, fitting in and trying to develop relationships was a constant challenge. Exercise allowed me to express myself physically since my stutter impeded my verbal expression and exercise was the one thing that I could always count on regardless of my living situation. The lessons the dirt roads and iron weights taught me were invaluable: the importance of discipline, the beauty of simplicity, and the value of hard work. In high school, I took to track and cross country, and in college, I boxed for the Fighting Irish as a lefty – a “Southpaw”.
I felt an element of my life go dark after I graduated from college and took a job in politics. I soon realized what was missing: my social network had been tied to sports. Working out at the local L.A. Fitness was not a sufficient substitute for the community I had been surrounded by on my collegiate boxing team. I joined my first CrossFit box in Indianapolis and fell in love with the methodology and efficacy of the workouts and the strength and camaraderie of the community. CrossFit quickly started consuming my life: giving purpose to the mundane, providing a social network, and teaching me to overcome adversity.
After moving up to Minnesota in 2014 and floating around between some sales, management, and consulting jobs, I became a part-time CrossFit coach at a local box, where I quickly learned that coaching felt more like a vocation than a job.
I have heard “vocation” defined as the point that your interests and talent intersect with the needs of the world. Exercise has taught me about life. I learned about mental toughness, humility, discipline, perspective, and balance (to name a few) and I found that my coaching style quickly morphed into one with a more holistic view of the human: developing the body and the mind. As a CrossFit coach, I was simultaneously able to act as a personal trainer, a leader, and a social worker. I was able to use the knowledge I have gained in aspects of leadership and fitness to convey the importance of mindset, relationships, and physicality to the athletes in my classes.
Within the next year, I was coaching full time and eventually transitioned into the position of gym manager. Managing a gym taught me many valuable lessons about owning and operating a CrossFit gym. Two lessons, in particular, stood out to me from my experience: 1) I know little about the nature of entrepreneurship and 2) business and financial acumen are not enough to open and run a successful gym. Longevity in the industry is contingent upon a foundational desire to serve.
While I am not a business guru, I have the requisite belief in myself, the foundational knowledge, and the necessary capital to open the doors of my own CrossFit affiliate – intent on building a successful business that will help people develop their minds, bodies, and spirits. More than anything, I am keenly aware of what I do know and what I am good at, and what I do not know and where I need to seek assistance. I plan to build a gym that focuses on creating an interdependent community that develops individuals who are dedicated to maximizing their potential as humans.
The front room the day we signed the lease
Inside the gym a few months later!
Our grand opening!