Stoneway Crossfit in Mount Shasta
By Gary VanDeWalker
By Gary VanDeWalker
Photos by Taryn Burkleo
Behind the huge roll-up doors is the Box—a large space with padded floors, weights and a rack of pullup bars. It is a silent cavern, but when found at the right moment, it is host to a community of diverse individuals, dreams and activities. Young and old, thin and thick, outgoing and shy, each person who comes here is considered an athlete. Their qualifications are a willingness to work hard, a dedication to their own fitness and their joining a team of people with a like heart. At the center of the Box is Scott Rodriguez.
“Nineteen years ago I left Mount Shasta on a journey,” Rodriguez says. “My life was centered around the question of what will I do?” Three years in the Navy and Rodriguez came back to the same question.
He began to train in nursing, but then transitioned to exercise science. After graduation, he found work as a personal trainer in downtown Seattle. “I married my wife Katie. I worked a lot of hours, spending my day at the job, and earning extra money doing exercise boot camps at the park before and after work,” Rodriguez says. “A new boss called me in and said I couldn’t do both jobs. I had to make a choice, and that became my last day working for someone else. It was just the right timing to make a change.”
CrossFit was introduced by Greg Glassman in 2000, and there are now more than 13,000 “boxes” worldwide. CrossFit is a combination of everything: Weight lifting, stretching, cardio, gymnastics. “The exciting thing about CrossFit is it’s for everyone,” Rodriguez says. “It doesn’t matter your age, height, weight or strength. It begins exactly where you are.” For Rodriguez, the world of CrossFit became an opportunity to begin where he was now in life.
The search for a location in Seattle to open his own “box” began. Rodriguez found a place, wondering if he would even make rent. “I didn’t realize how loyal my clients from my old job would be. I had enough people to support the ‘box’ from day one and for the past seven and a half years.”
Rodriguez thought his journey was complete. Married, a successful business, he found his rhythm in Seattle, far from where he grew up. In 2016, he took his family to Mount Shasta to visit his parents over the Fourth of July. The mountains, forest and old friends brought Rodriguez to wonder if he could move back. “I wanted my children to have the same opportunities and experiences growing up that I had in this community.”
“I talked to Katie and we decided to try it for one year. We found a location for a new box. I made arrangements with my Seattle business, and on Aug. 20, StoneWay CrossFit opened in Mount Shasta,” Rodriguez says. “Here I was in a much smaller community, with a new idea. The first month, I had more clients than I had in Seattle after the first year. We are the only CrossFit Facility between Redding and Yreka, where in Seattle there are 20 places within three miles.”
The people in CrossFit become a unique family. Together they go through the WOD (workout of the day), each person taking on the task at their level. Teenagers to seniors, everywhere in the physical spectrum move together. “Age and ability aren’t the focus,” says Rodriguez. “It’s about each person achieving a quality of life, gaining strength, flexibility and a healthy life.”
StoneWay CrossFit offers the first week free so anyone can get a glimpse into what CrossFit has to offer. It’s a way of getting to know the sport and the family who go there.
At the start or end of each session, the athletes gather in a circle for an icebreaker. “I want to get to know our athletes,” Rodriguez says. “An athlete is usually judged by their ability, but we care about who you are outside of the box and not only when you are here. I want us to choose to grow together.”
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