Bench Press 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Tire Flip 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Carry farmers’ walk handles 100ft between each round.
Before Catalyst, we had a bench press club.
On Monday nights, sometimes, Nick would show up and lift weights with us.
Nick was a big man, from his hands to his beard to his belly laugh. His generosity made him larger than life. When Catalyst opened over a wedding store, Nick would stomp up the back staircase at 8pm on Monday nights, usually carrying coffee for everyone. When I was struggling with the weight, he’d be my spotter. When the business got too heavy, he’d be my mentor (and sometimes, my therapist.) More than once, I went to his house to eat cured meat and drink rye, and feel better about life on the way home. I wrote about one such experience here. Nick was my business mentor before I knew what the title meant.
When we opened the Park, Nick would show up Mondays and Thursdays to bench press and pull the truck. He’d spend most of the night pushing the truck into place so that others could pull it. He’d come straight from his garage to the gym, never late, always still in his work clothes but ready to go.
His wife, Wilma, died suddenly a few years ago. She was a peach. They’d been together since high school-“I’ve never had to ask a woman on a date in my life,” he told me often-and a piece of him went with her. I walked up the street from the gym to the funeral home to see Nick, and found him alone on the porch. He asked how I was doing. I was speechless. That was Nick.
Every Hallowe’en, my kids were trekked far out of the way to go to Nick’s house, where Duke would try to lick their feet and Nick would tease them until they made eye contact. His favourite topic was his own girls, Sarah and Marissa, who you probably know. He had a grapevine outside that he’d brought from Italy, and a woodpile that he’d split himself.
Nick built our first pullup rig, which now stands in front of the garage door. He welded it from scratch.
After Wilma passed, Nick pulled a muscle splitting wood. After several days in pain, Sarah forced him to the ER, where they took a chest X-Ray. He’d had a heart attack, and it wasn’t the first: the attending physician asked Nick when his previous MRI had been. “Never had a heart attack before,” Nick told him, “but I did pull some muscles in my back a few years ago.” It HAD been a heart attack, and Nick had just toughed it out. Both times, he went back to work right away, but after his second, his doctor told him to stick to walking. He sold the bench press he kept in his basement (for emergencies, understand.)
Nick died yesterday. He’ll be missed. You may not have met him, but if you look, you’ll see his mark everywhere in this gym. Walk slowly from the bench press rack to the tire today.
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