Born: Mt. Sinai Hospital, NYC
Grew Up: NYC and Jersey
Place of Higher Learning: University of Wisconsin - Madison; Political Science with Integrated Liberal Studies
He owns a lion suit, among other costumes. There’s a collection of motorcycles. He nearly published a book and is fascinated by the morality of war. According to his roommate, Noah is a vault when it comes to secrets; apparently his own as well.
I remember being gently suspicious of Noah when he arrived at SBK in the spring of 2010. A bright eyed guy, he jumped right into the community. It was Park Slope’s 5th Ave Fair and SBK had a booth. Noah the new guy volunteered to help set up early on a Sunday morning. Despite being bleary-eyed from a late night, he hung with us all day, squeezed in “Fran” at some point and demo’d cleans to the crowd. Who was this guy from Arizona? How come he was so... nice?
What I was witnessing, though, was Noah’s characteristic dedication. He’s not someone who explores an idea or activity partially. Once something takes hold of him, he makes it a point to go all the way down the road with it.
Take motorcycles. Not a vehicle Noah had had much exposure to until he decided he wanted to ride. He’d just graduated from UW and come back to NYC to help a friend open a bar while waiting to hear about a law enforcement job he’d applied for. Notorious for lengthy timelines with little communication, he still didn’t know about the job, so he bought a bike and road it across the country to Houston and then, almost inexorably, back to Madison. A month long, solo trip on a motorcycle. Kind of awesome, I know.
Noah wasn’t just in it for the Easy Rider cameo, though. In fact, one of the first things he did was buy a couple of retired bikes expressly to take them apart. It was important to him to understand the machine all the way through. He’s taken some mechanics classes since, but much of what he’s learned has come from his own tinkering. He relishes the type of problem solving fixing a bike has taught him: homing in on the problem through trial and error which forces flexibility and creative thinking. A process that has proved valuable to the rest of his life.
As a kid, Noah straddled the line between nerd and athlete; not surprisingly, he got along with most. He was “good enough at soccer to sit on the bench of the elite teams.” Chubby Noah always felt like he had to play catch up on the field, but he also had a rich intellectual life. How many teenagers are approached to author books, after all? A local writer had heard Noah give a speech for school and was impressed. She asked him to work on a nonfiction about adolescent boys; they sold the idea and a nearly finished manuscript, but unfortunately, the deal fell through. It was an exciting and disappointing experience - something he rarely talks about.
Political Science at UW was not an arbitrary decision. His interest in the US’s position in the world and public service nearly led him to join the army out of high school. Instead, he thought he might like to be in politics as a speech writer. But after an arduous turn as a New Hampshire organizer for John Edwards (post motorcycle ride), he realized that philosophy was far more compelling than the car salesmanship of real politics. Noah just isn’t a pushy guy.
Here’s a nugget: Noah’s description of organizing sounded awful: 14 hour days, 7 days a week for 6 or 7 months. When I asked him why he stuck it out, he likened it to a nasty workout: he just had to finish it. And, similar to the CF community, he was in the trenches with a diverse and vibrant group of colleagues to whom he ultimately felt more commitment than Edwards. If he left, they’d have to pick up his slack.
If not politics, then what? Noah had all but given up on the law enforcement gig and decided to go to law school. He was nearly ready to head to the University of Richmond when he got a call one day while at the gym with his Mom: the agency had an opening. They generously gave him 24 hours to decide whether to overhaul his law school plans for the job, which he did. Off he went to Academy.
Noah found CrossFit in college. It appealed to his love of endorphins and aesthetic goals. He did it badly for a while, which probably set the stage for blowing out his back while at the Academy. Keeper of secrets, Noah did not tell anyone for fear of losing his place. But, once he returned, he was out of commission for about 10 months. Sobered by the severity of the injury, he decided that when he was well, he would ease back into CrossFit intelligently. Work sent him to Arizona and, as it would happen, there was a quality affiliate nearby. When work brought him back to NYC, he went looking for a gym to replace the great community he’d found in AZ. Enter SBK.
Like fixing bikes, CrossFit has become more than just a way to look good in board shorts. For Noah, it is an externalization of his definition of self: committed, interested, unafraid, goal oriented. It’s all well and good to have a career in this and a collection of that, but Noah finds that what we express within the community of physical challenge is most compelling and truly who we are. That’s probably why he and SBK are such a good fit.
He’s got acting in his past, and he played bass in a couple of bands
He owns 4 bikes
He writes emails like we used to write letters
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