My company (the insurance shop who gets me from 9 - 5 Monday through Friday) is also sponsoring my efforts, covering my vacation time and making a donation to Operation Phoenix and Steve's Club. I'm happy to be able to give a little something back to both of these groups, whose support will be greatly responsible for making this trip a success.
Of course, we can't conduct gymnastics training without the appropriate gymnastics supplies too. As most of you know, things like pull-ups, skin the cats and muscle-ups are pretty tough on your hands, wrists and forearms. We wanted to bring materials over to keep these soldiers in good working order - chalk, tape and hand protective gear. Enter Rage Fitness Supply, a CrossFit affiliate and equipment supplier based out of Denver, CO. Todd Halderman and Tamera Smith immediately rose to the challenge, writing:
"We are happy to make a donation to support our troops! We will be donating three cases of tape, one case of chalk, and 15 sets of gymnastics grips.
Rage Fitness is honored to contribute training equipment to this incredible group of people. It makes us feel closer to our troops abroad knowing that we are all training together. The big difference is that at the end of our day we are back in our cozy homes, while our troops are out there in the field defending our country. That is why we are happy to support these amazing men and women however we can."
A big thank you to Todd, Tamara and the folks at Rage Fitness Supply for their support. And another big thank you to you, the CrossFit community, for your continued reading, comments and support of this effort.
On a personal note, I'm stressed about the logistics of a trip of this magnitude, worried about how it's all going to work, and excited about the amazing opportunities we'll have to work with these men and women. (Mostly the last part, although every time I review the paperwork we have to complete, I revert back to stressed and worried.) We've been so busy completing all the requirements for obtaining clearance from the Army that none of us have had time to think about the practical stuff. What's the weather like? (Kind of like New Hampshire, actually.) What should we wear? (Hiking-style gear is acceptable, normal training clothes for coaching, bring plenty of warm stuff, and yes, there's laundry.) What stuff haven't we thought of? (Ambien and ear plugs for the plane ride over.)
I've also been in touch with some men and women stationed at Bagram, to ask some questions about how the base works and what we should know before our visit. I'm mostly interested in what else we could bring that would make a difference. I've heard requests for everything from calling cards to sunflower seeds, but we've also received plenty of requests for tobacco products. I have some objections to a volunteer mission based around health and fitness showing up with a suitcase full of Kodiak. Sorry, but not my suitcase.
I think I expected the base to be more... rustic. But apparently, we have heated barracks, nice shower areas and laundry facilities. I've heard there's even a Subway and a Dairy Queen on base. Huh. There are also computer facilities, which is good because I'd really like to blog every day and keep a record of what we're doing at the certs, and what I'm learning from the soldiers.
That's it for now... not my usual put together post, but we're all scrambling to get two months worth of work done in two weeks time. Stay tuned for more updates, and to hear more about some of the cool gear we're bringing over with us as the result of generous sponsor donations.