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I can remember as a child sitting and dreaming of a future in professional sports. In fact, growing up the hard part was figuring out which sport I would play at the professional level. I wanted to play every sport and made plans to do so. As an adult I enjoy hearing stories of unexpected people making their dreams a reality. One of my favorite movies of all time is “Rocky”. I know, I know, but I can’t help it. The story of a guy from little getting his opportunity to take a chance and do the unthinkable, in fact the unexpected. Remember, he was supposed to lose. 

When I see two guys cutting grass all morning and working out all evening, I can’t help but think of the young Italian guy working in the meat plant to survive and training where he can. These two guys I speak of are Donovan and Christian Ruiz, brothers, friends, and partners. ImageDonavan and Christian work in the elements all day, the only two working a lawn service with the occasional help of their younger brother Jordan, only to spend the rest of the evening in the box working out and training for the future. The future that until a little over a month ago was just a dream. 

Christian and Donovan are two of the coaches at Finish Strong CrossFit in Slidell, LA. If you ask them, they will tell you that if they can make CrossFit regionals, anyone can. It is all about putting in the effort, working hard, and having faith. What I love about these guys is that they believe that they have been placed in CrossFit to serve a greater purpose. They have been put there to impact the lives of those they are in contact with through the sport of fitness. Last night as I sat in the gymnastics gym where they spend extra time once per week working on the gymnastics element of their craft they sit in wonder, trying to soak in the fact that they will be driving out tomorrow on their way to CrossFit regionals. Humbled, excited, confident, and above all grateful for the opportunity and support they have been given to live out a dream. 

It is an amazing sight, and I am sure a more amazing experience to become a sponsored athlete, a pro athlete. These two men would tell you that they are just a couple of regular guys, shying away from the recognition and almost refusing to be recognized as pro athletes.  More than athletes, these two are an inspiration. An inspiration to me, and to those they are in contact with, refusing to believe that anyone out there “can’t do it”. They tell you that you can, and beyond that show you that it is possible. They encourage you and push you, and would give the shirt off of their back if you needed it. 

Donovan and Christian are my coaches, but they are also my friends. The fact that they will be finishing off a day of work before they leave tomorrow, had to have a fundraiser and donations to even make the trip to regionals, and still can’t believe that they are even going, shows me the character that represents Finish Strong CrossFit. So watch the CrossFit regionals and look for Donovan and Christian, when you see them know that those two represent all things good and right with the sport of fitness. Image

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