Here we are folks, time for the 2nd CFSBK Athlete of the Month honor to be announced. We figured this one would be easier than the first since we’d already broken the ice, but so many of you kept coming up in the conversation. In the end we came to agreement on this special guy for a slew of reasons. Here are a few of them…
– He’s Old School SBK. He’s been with the program since early on
– He’s come a LONG way since those early days
– He shows emphatic support of fellow athletes
– He is very coachable, and always looking to improve
– He makes his training schedule work around family life and responsibilities, and has in fact managed to make his wife, daughter, and now son a part of the SBK community as well
Ladies and Gents, I give you David McGrath!
Fox – Thanks for staying late McG. I wanted to sit down with you because you’re our Athlete of the Month, so, congrats!
DMG – Shite! Really? I’m honored. Holy Cow…/turns away and maybe wells up a bit/
Fox – Yeah man. You’re it. So now you get to sit on the couch and get interrogated by me. Here we go. Tell me a bit about your backround and how you came to CrossFit?
DMG – Basically, I was fed up with globo-gyms. I wasn’t getting anything out of them. The short version of a long story (note: there are no short Irish stories) is this… As a kid I was a competitive swimmer for 12 years, quite a good one, My brother Jason and I tried out for the Irish Olympic swim team and fell short. After spending a bit of youth I went to school for animation, moved to Germany for work, partied and got fat and lazy. Liese and I had a blast over there. Eventually we moved to the States and somewhere along the way started running together. We first used the Galloway Method of run/walk and ran the Marine Corps Marathon and then the NYC together. I soon got tired of the one sport and decided to try triathlon. I did a sprint tri with literally no training. Figured to do the NYC Olympic distance with a little more training. That went well and I decided to do the Lake Placid Ironman next. I didn’t know him at the time, but I was actually stationed at Lake Placid right next to the fellow who would eventually introduce me to CFSBK, Rob Maldonado. He was a member of the Brooklyn Triathlete Club (BTC), as was I. I remember a thread on the BTC site saying to check out CrossFit and a visceral response by a few members who said it was dangerous, blah blah blah…Like I said I was fed up at my globo, so I gave it a shot. I started out at another CF for a spell and wasn’t enamored. That’s when Rob recommended I check out David Osorio at the Brooklyn Lyceum, said he was the real deal and there was lots of good folks over there. I haven’t looked back since.
Fox –What was it like transitioning from endurance sports to CrossFit, culture and training alike
DMG – At first the short stuff KILLED me. Left me flat on my back. It was the stuff like Murph that I could break down into pieces that I had an easier time with. That stuff is mental in a way similar to endurance sports. CrossFit was the first time since competitive swimming that I felt that push. That didn’t happen for me in endurance. The cultures of the two though are actually pretty similar. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but supportive members of both communities always surrounded me. People want to see you do better and have success. It’s one of the things that I love most about CFSBK is the community. David has created a high caliber of community with coaches second to none, and it shows. (note: I did not prompt or pay DMG so say that, it was totally unprovoked).
Fox – We all know and love Lucy Goosey, and now Finn, and the CrossFit bug has bitten even Liese. What’s it like having your family be a part of the gym?
DMG – It’s a blast. We’re fortunate to work freelance so it frees us up a bit schedule wise to be able to be here. I think it’s so great to have our kids exposed to the physical culture at an early age. Look at us (gestures to me), we didn’t find CrossFit until later. Just imagine what these kids are gonna be able to do later in life. Lucy can’t WAIT to begin CrossFit Kids, and I already told Shane he’s gonna have to lower the age requirement for Finn! Rest and recovery is tough though, with a little one at home. Finn still doesn’t sleep the night.
Fox – You came from endurance, then did SBK’s Strength and GPP for 2 years or so, and are now doing coach Jeremy’s Strength cycle. What’s that like?
DMG – I can squat now! Back in the globo days, I used to be the leg trifecta guy: Leg Extension, Leg Curl, and Leg Press. I had a knee injury that prevented me from squatting blow parallel safely for quite a while and now I’m there. (Jeremy’s note: DMG has also been doing a ton of mobility work to help get him there, including the MWOD). It is hard concentrating on the same lifts, week in and week out. I used to love it when the blog would be posted late and I had no idea what I was walking into at the gym. I am however, thoroughly enjoying the tight Strength community and the gains I’m making there.
Fox – David, what’s you’re favorite CrossFit moment or accomplishment?
DMG – There’s a few. Doing the gymnastics cert, that was huge. I had always been afraid of being inverted. Also being able to do pull ups. When I first started I had Shane pushing my ass up with the green band, poor bastard. Doing most WODs Rx’d or even scaling up. When I first started I had to scale it all down. And finally having Liese, Lucy, and Finn there and seeing how much fun they have.
Fox – Alright David, last thing. Tell us a little about your life outside CrossFit.
DMG – Liese and the kids (laughs)…that’s really most of it. I do love movies and music, and taking photos (if you’re facebook friends with David you’ve no doubt seen some of his great shots). I actually wrote a horror film I’ve been shopping around, and am currently writing Speed Racer, the animated kids version. I am really fortunate to be able to do work I enjoy, and be freelance. I also love music of all kinds, I’m pretty eclectic there.
*We discovered that David used to have a career in Ireland as model. Liese tells me that he was in fact, quite a popular pin up in many young girl’s bedrooms! His folks eventually told him to find a real job and he fell into animation. We searched hard for photographic proof of the fact but came up empty. David says that all proof of his modeling days is 20,000 leagues under the Atlantic somewhere…maybe.
Thanks again David for sitting down with me, especially at 9 pm after a grueling Strength session under the bar. We coaches are proud of what you’ve accomplished in the last few years and look forward to seeing more of it. You’re an inspiration and a fantastic presence in the gym. It will be both sad and glorious when one day your kids can squat more than you or us!