Interview by Chris Fox
I can hardly believe that October is over already. That means November is here and it’s time for a new Athlete on the Month! This month we looked for someone who had really stepped his or her game up as of late, someone who seemed to have developed a new confidence and commitment to their training. We found exactly the right person in Jessica Bailey (aka, J-Bay-Lo or J-Bails ). A native East Coaster from Boston, she came to Brooklyn via San Diego. Jess has been CrossFitting with us for a little over a year but more recently seemed to be hitting the lifts and WODs a bit fiercer. Just last week she hit triple digits in her front squat and we the coaching staff at CFSBK could not be prouder. So I sent Jess a (creepy, apparently) Facebook message and a follow up email and asked her to meet with me for a bit. She though she was in trouble and responded with an apology for spilling some water in the gym. Once that was cleared up we set a time to meet. We ran into each other (actually, I walked right passed her in my haste) on the way to the gym so I ended the suspense on our walk. After the initial surprise and disbelief that our first 2 AOTMs shared, this is what I got.
Fox – Congratulations! We chose you as Athlete of the Month! We’ve noticed a real change in your approach at the gym lately. You’ve been more aggressive in everything and have been improving quite a bit. It’s been really nice to see.
JB – THANKS! You guys are so nice. I really can’t believe I’m athlete of the month. I’ve never won anything.
Fox – Well you have now! So, let’s start at the beginning. When did you start CrossFitting with us? And how did you get started?
JB – I started Foundations in September ’09. A good friend and her boyfriend told me about it. They were doing CrossFit at CrossFit East Bay in California and would tell me about all this crazy stuff they were doing in the gym. I was bored with the regular “gym and spin” routine and wanted something fun. I searched online and CFSBK was a few blocks from home. So I signed up.
Fox – What were your goals when you started? And how have they changed?
JB – Every spring and summer I’d run, swim, and cycle a lot and be in good shape. Then every fall into winter the cold weather would come and I’d ditch the routine and backtrack. I needed something to keep me consistent. I really just wanted to be fit and do something that wasn’t spinning. I was an active kid; I skied, swam in high school (the 500m and 200m) and had a bit of competitiveness. CrossFit seemed good for that. Now, after a year I want to do the things that for a long time I figured I’d never do. I want to do Murph Rx’d! It was awesome to see Jess and Charlotte do that this summer. It’s great, the women in this community and the things they can do. And the best part of it is how supportive we all are of each other.
Fox – Do you find that to be in contrast with other arenas where women compete? It seems like the SBK gals aren’t “catty” like I’ve seen in some other places. You guys hang out outside of the gym, and you’ve made some close friends through the gym, right?
JB – Totally. I think the ladies here truly want to see the others succeed. It’s inspiring to see each other perform well.
Fox – You’ve been pretty inspiring as of late, too. Triple digits on your front squat! How’d that feel.
JB – Awesome! That’s one of those things I never thought I’d accomplish.
Fox – What helped change your mindset? Where did this come from?
JB – I guess I finally started trusting the coaches, and myself.. You guys believed for a while that I was better, and then I started believing it too. The community here is great and the coaches are all so supportive. It’s helped me to push it a bit. Seeing people push through physical adversity, like David after his injury, inspires me to do better also. I have a fully capable body and feel like it’s my responsibility to use it.
Fox – Do you think CrossFit has bled through to any other areas in your life?
JB – Definitely. It’s helped me at work (Jess is a teacher) to realize that just because a student doesn’t understand something right away doesn’t mean they can’t. Sometimes it just takes a different approach. I can’t remember the cue, but one day I was doing cleans and Margie said something that just clicked for me. I look for moments like that now when I teach.
Fox – Tell me some stuff that most of our members wouldn’t know.
JB – Hmmm…I did a sprint triathlon this summer. 1/3 mile swim, 15 mile bike, and 3 mile run. It was pretty hard, but I did it. What else? I sew. Not as much as I used to but I like to make clothing. I moved back east from San Diego 3 years ago to be closer to my family. I was really done with the west coast but I’ve always been close with my 3 sisters. Also, I am a T-Rex.
Fox – Last thing. What should we look for in our next Athlete of the Month?
JB – Easy. Someone who tries hard and is nice.
Well there you have it folks. Congratulations, J-Bay-Lo, on being CFSBK’s November Athlete of the Month. Thanks for meeting with me, in a non-creepy way, and we look forward to watching you continue to crush it on a weekly basis. 3 cheers to our T-Rex!