“If you have a body, you are an athlete.” – Bill Bowerman
The buzzer sounded to mark the end of the final seconds. The Bulldogs didn’t win the sectional they hosted, which was not surprising for the 7 – 13 Orleans boys basketball team. However, this loss was a little harder to swallow because it marked the end of, not only the season, but also his senior year and a 15 – year tenure with organized basketball leagues.
In the following years he played other sports and participated in other activities, from intramural frisbee in college, to Taekwondo tournaments, and boxing teams. However, nothing seemed to provide the combination of camaraderie and athletic outlet that organized sports had granted, albeit at a very amateur level. For Andrew, “finding the motivation to exercise is easier with other people, when we’re meeting to perform a fun activity . ”
Moving forward to adulthood and working as a professional, it seemed that Andrew’s workouts had become monotonous and repetitive . Running on the treadmill with headphones, doing pull-ups at home, and swimming laps in a pool didn’t really provide him with a sense of community. He felt he was still “in shape” but his workouts weren’t providing the kind of stimulus that allowed for his growing deep dish pizza habit. After a few years of working full-time while enrolled in graduate school, the time finally came to “get out of his head. ” He’d heard about CrossFit from some friends and it sounded crazy. Like the mantra he’d hear over and over in later years, he thought he’d have to “get in shape before starting CrossFit.” He even circled around the parking lot and looked into the windows of Four Barrel after they closed, trying to find the answer to “what is this all about?”
In the fall of 2013, he signed up for the Four Barrel “On-Ramp” (getting started) class and found out what it was all about. Four Barrel was the cross section of so many things he’d been looking for: positive-minded people, coaches to push him and hold him accountable, new and interesting workouts, nutrition advice, guidance in moving properly — even social events.
Andrew believes that it is a supportive type of person that finds CrossFit. He says “the cost of a CrossFit gym membership is, of course, more than $1 down and $10 a month at the big box gym he drives past to get to 4B.” But, he feels, “the higher price point is a positive aspect. (It) brings in a certain type of committed person that is willing to invest in themselves — invest in their health, bring out the best in others. Paying more makes me care more and try harder. ”
Fast forward again, to four and half years later, Andrew says, “he’s in the best shape of his life.” He’s competed in over fifteen CrossFit competitions locally, “for fun.” He earned that graduate degree and claims that the physical stamina he’s gained at Four Barrel definitely aids the mental stamina required for a brain-centered career. He recently sold his house in a hurry, due to a cash offer, and he was able to move boxes of books and furniture for several days.
“Finding Four Barrel brought back that excitement I had for sports and athletics. I work out with friends, we talk during the day about the workouts, and I still get butterflies before exercising. It is a relief to know those fun days of competitive sports aren’t over.” He regularly works out with his wife Deven, who he also met at Four Barrel. He is dabbling in jiu – jitsu and they practice hot yoga together. They recently backpacked in Europe, they hike in various settings, take bike rides around New Albany, they’ve rented a rowboat, and canoed with friends. Because of their fitness level, they don’t have to sit out when these opportunities arise. Andrew recently published a book on meditation and in the foreword he states that “ finding the present moment is perhaps easiest when staring breathlessly at a heavy barbell as a coach tells you to pick it up again (and again).”