John Badaracco got the idea of having an Athlete of the Month from several Affiliate friends, including Ben Bergeron.
As the co-owner of CrossFit Synergistics in Ashland, Massachusetts, Badaracco and his wife, Elizabeth, started the Athlete of the Month with a desire to acknowledge their Box’s members. “It’s recognizing the hard work our athletes put in and having other athletes see that,” explained Badaracco.
Synergistics’ first Athlete of the Month was in October. Since then, Badaracco said his membership has responded positively about this monthly highlight. They get to learn more about their fellow WOD partners through the posts on the website.
For example, the Athlete of the Month looks to reveal the athlete in and out of the Box. Badaracco asks standard questions like, ‘What is your favorite class time?’ and ‘What has been your biggest accomplishment since joining the Box?’ But, he will also tailor the questions to the member.
In April, the Athlete of the Month was Roland Bauer. Badaracco explained Bauer was a big fan of cars, so he asked him what would be his dream car. “It’s great for the community to get to know the athletes outside of just the workouts,” said Badaracco. “They get to know a little bit about their personal life … My belief in CrossFit is yes, we’re in there working out, but it’s also the conversations you have before the workouts, after the workouts, how the families are doing, how life is and really getting to know them on a deeper level.”
He said it’s also a chance for experienced athletes to show new members at the Box where they came from and how they got to where they are now. Sometimes, he will even ask if the Athlete of the Month has advice for CrossFitters who just started. “The newer athletes get to read that and say, ‘Oh, you know what? I can relate to that,’” explained Badaracco. “I think it makes the athletes more relatable to each other. Outside, a lot of people see CrossFit as elite athletes and this basically helps people understand that the Average Joe can do CrossFit.”
In order to keep on top of the Athlete of the Month, Badaracco has made it part of his monthly Coaches meeting. Plus, his staff will weigh in on who they think should be the next athlete chosen.
He said it’s not too difficult to maintain because he sees tremendous benefit in having the Athlete of the Month post. “It means something to me, and my Coaches know it means something to them, and it means something to the athletes,” he said. “Just wanting to keep it going, I think that says a lot to the athlete.”