This Is Not Goodbye

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Some random photos from my time at CrossFit West Santa Cruz and CrossFit Watsonville. Many fond memories! Tomorrow (Monday) is my official last day at West. Please join me in either the 6:00 am or 7:00 am class if you are able. I would love to see you!

This Is Not Goodbye

First off, I just want to say, “THANK YOU!”  Thank you to all the members of the CrossFit West Santa Cruz and CrossFit Watsonville community.  You have no idea how happy I was to have the opportunity to Coach you and personally get to know you.  It’s hard to accurately put into words just how much you mean to me and how much you have greatly improved the quality of my life just by being in it.  I have so much love for you all.  I’m not gonna lie, I’ve teared up (ok, “cried!”, whatever!) more than once over the thought of no longer being able to Coach you or have you in my life the way that I have for so long, but owning my own CrossFit Affiliate is something I’ve always wanted and has been a long time coming.  I am very excited about the future.  Know that I still love you and appreciate you and am still here for you.  To all those who pulled me aside during the holiday party to tell me how you felt, …I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to hear what each of you shared with me.  Thank you!!!

I want to personally thank Sam and Cliff for giving me the opportunity to Coach here at CrossFit West and CrossFit Watsonville.  I have been so stoked and honored to serve this community and help them grow and forge this community, this family, together.  It has been a great opportunity and experience every step of the way and I likely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet and forge the amazing relationships with so many of you if I wasn’t given the opportunity to be a coach here for so long.  Cliff and Sam have been some the very best CrossFit Affiliate owners I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing or working with.  You should all know that it was just as important to Cliff and Sam as it was to myself that we each maintain a healthy and strong friendship both personally and professionally as I make this transition into the next phase of my life.  After all, before I was ever their employee or they my employer, we were friends.  We ARE friends.  Cliff, Sam and I all have a great deal of mutual respect, appreciation and love for each other and we are each making this difficult transition with our friendship still fully in tact and just as strong as it was before.

It was equally important to all three of us that you, our beloved community, are given the very best coaches available in my stead.  Coaches who will coach you, challenge you, respect you, understand you, appreciate you, care about you.  It takes a lot of different qualities to be a great coach.  Not just a good eye, or good technical knowledge.  Or good people skills, or a passion for the craft, or compassion for your clients.  It takes all those things and more.  Much more.  It is difficult to find great Coaches.  In all sincerity, I think Cliff and Sam were very successful in finding you the very best Coaches available to take over my classes.  Brooke, Chris, Kayla and Brit will all take good care of the CrossFit West and CrossFit Watsonville communities.

Brooke has come SO far in the last year as a Coach and is maturing into one of the finest Coaches I’ve seen in a very long time.  She has completely submersed herself in her craft over the past year and her tenacious dedication to honing her craft is obvious every time she Coaches.  Whether it be running a group warm-up, leading the class through empty bar work while teaching the technical lifts, or making her way around the gym to engage every athlete in the class during the WOD, regardless of the situation, her many strength’s as a Coach shine through and are readily apparent.  Knowing that there are coaches like her out there to preserve our craft and carry it into the future is very promising.  To top it all off, she’s a total bad ass!!

Chris is one of the nicest, most compassionate, understanding and thorough Coaches to ever come through CrossFit West, CrossFit Watsonville, or any other affiliate I’ve ever worked.  I am so grateful I’ve had the opportunity to work with him all these years.  He is a fierce competitor and BEAST of an athlete, yet he is able to balance that competitive ferocity with such a sincere compassion for the athletes he Coaches and has an incredible patience and understanding of their athletic pursuits, struggles and successes.  Anyone who’s ever watched him run elements will see this is true.  As an Athlete, he has as much heart as any of the top Games competitors I’ve seen.  This was exemplified during the most recent Santa Cruz Affiliate Cup where despite tearing a hamstring on the first event, he fought through every WOD of the competition to help the CrossFit West team secure a podium finish.  Chris is the longest standing Coach here at CrossFit West, aside from myself, and has developed a very deep, strong and sincere connection with our amazing community over that time.

Kayla too is a fierce competitor.  She has competed in multiple competitions all over the State, been teammates to athletes such as 2013 CrossFit Games runner up, Lindsey Valenzuela, and even competed as an Individual in last years NorCal Regionals.  Her most recent CrossFit comp was the incredibly competitive “Deuces Wild” partner competition hosted by the outstanding Diablo CrossFit affiliate where her and her teammate earned a 1st place finish winning the competition.  Even though she is new to the CrossFit West/Watsonville team, I can personally vouch for Kayla’s dedication and tenacity as both Athlete and Coach.  Kayla would regularly drive to Santa Cruz from Chico on the weekends to do privates with me when I was programming for her.  Kayla isn’t just a great athlete, she is an accomplished Coach who has been Coaching regularly at multiple affiliates and has even had the opportunity to be personally Coached by Olympian, Chad Vaughn.  Kayla appeared on the main site, crossfit.com, in an awesome Slo-Mo video doing the beautiful tribute WOD, “Amanda.”  I recommend you check it out!

Brittany has been actively Coaching athletics for over 15 years and has worked with athletes from a wide range of sports.  She has also been a teacher in Watsonville for many years.  She started CrossFitting 4 years ago and started Coaching CrossFit shortly after.  Brittany has competed in many CrossFit Competitions around the state, including the local Santa Cruz Affiliate Cup, the Femme Royale, the Fittest of Sierras and the Legendary Competitor at the Fit Expo to name a few.  Hence, Brittany brings a great balance of competitive CrossFit experience and extensive coaching and teaching experience to the table.  She has, and implements, great ideas (“Red Light!”) in her Coaching and she has already endeared herself to the CrossFit Watsonville community.

As the title of this post states, this is not goodbye.  Cliff and Sam said I can still train here when I can (if I ever get the time, haha), and, if it works out, can even possibly drop in once in a great while to “Guest-Coach” for a day.  Even though I won’t be running classes regularly at CrossFit West or CrossFit Watsonville, I will indeed still be stopping in on occasion to train, take a group class, hit up a WOD or just say hello.  You will see me again at both Watsonville and West.  And, more importantly, I will get to see all of YOU again!  🙂

I’m still a part of the amazing Community that Sam, Cliff, my fellow Coaches and I have all helped build along with the help, strength and support of this amazing community.  We are still family.  🙂

Thank you ALL for the great relationships and memories.  I love you all!

Sincerely,

Jason Highbarger