• The Very Coolest Photos of 2016 (Section IV)

    Welp this is the last post I’ll be making in 2016.

    Man… 4 posts in like 8 days… that’s maybe like more than 50% of all the blog posts I posted this year.  Eeeep.

    Thank you to everyone for being such good sports.  Honestly.  I would never openly make fun of anyone for whom I do not have great love and respect.  And if you did not make the list, I have love and respect for you too…  you’re probably just more photogenic than these idiots.

    You are all impressive and wonderful and beautiful people.  I could easily choose to make this a “real” highlight reel every year, but really … we are a gym… the best in the world…  we turn people into really good exercisers… that’s just what happens here…. so I just don’t see how all of that stuff we do every day is noteworthy.  And of course that is a lie.  I find it all noteworthy.  I just find this stuff to be “better.”  We spend enough time on Instagram and Facebook watching nerds videoing themselves working out in warehouses and doing “outrageous” things.

    I think that when I was growing up, odd years were usually better than even years for me.  So I’m really looking forward to 2017.  Thank you for sharing some of your 2016 with me and I look forward to the next 365 days with all of you.




    In case you missed the first three parts (I may make a reference or three to them here)… here are links…

    Part A

    Chapter II

    Volume 3



    Don’t you wanna imitate that face?   .I am wrihg now tuyping with my eysuls closed

    I also like picturing Erika RIGHT in her face to take this photo.  I wasn’t there but I hope she hit her in the face with a pie afterwards.  Doesn’t it just look like that is what should happen next?

    If you don’t know, Brynn trains 178 hours per week and has been the only person I’ve ever known to say that an Assault Bike / Thruster workout “feels good.”

    Brynn started coming here for her senior project for high school, got an A on it, and continued to keep coming and getting quite darn good at this CrossFit stuff.  I don’t think she understands that CrossFit is painful and terrible because she always wants to do more.

    She’s going to college next fall on a beach volleyball scholarship… and I heard that they’ve added kipping handstand bumping/setting/spiking to beach volleyball now.  So we are glad we got her in time.

    She also made this sweet otter magnet!



    When I was trying to decide between this and several other Mike pics from the year, I stared at this for sooooo long.  His totally distorted face and frightening expression just really drew me in.   It is sort of like a Magic Eye 3D image… if you let your eyes “un-focus” and just stare “through” it… his eye and creepy mouth and weird nose start moving around and all of a sudden you see a hot air balloon or a spaceship or something.  BUT ALSO… if you KEEP your eyes focused… and just stare somewhere in the middle… things start to look weiiiiiiiird.  At one point I saw his arm turn into someone else’s leg … someone who is torturing him and holding his head in place so someone else can smash his forehead with a rusty barbell.  I mean I know my brain and thoughts might be different (more advanced) than most folks.  Or maybe I’m huffing too much shoe polish…. but honestly.  I’ve spent a LOT of time staring at/through this photo.  It’s beautifully disturbing and grotesque.



    We had an Olympics gathering at the Hayes Household on the night of the Opening Ceremonies.

    And Liz dressed up like Dracula…

    …sort of….?

    Dracula with some kind of Christmas t-shirt?

    I no doubt found it compelling and was zooming my phone camera from across the room.

    I think it is also worth mentioning that several years ago, Liz attended some kind of “pirate”-themed race.

    She was supposed to dress up as a pirate.

    A pirate

    as in…

    “Yarrrrr ahoy mateyyyyy.”

    Now when you hear that…

    ….do you think about bratwursts and sauerkraut?

    Because she showed up like this…

    …wearing a lederhosen t-shirt and a fake goatee…?

    She and Tiffany had a “murder mystery” at their house once.  It was 1920s themed.  I had just shaved my beard so I could go wearing a sweet mustache.  I put all the hair in a Ziploc bag and hid it under Liz’s pillow.

    I waited a week before I finally just asked, “Did you ever find a bag of hair?”


    And that was it.

    Something about the way this girl, her brain, and “theme parties” mix together… I don’t know…. but it’s very confusing… to me.  It obviously all makes sense in her brain… because she puts time, effort, and money into preparing her costumes for these things.  It’s not like she gets there and says, “Ohhhhh I thought you said GERMAN partyyyyyyy.”  Nope she knew it was pirate-themed.  She knew and she did it anyway.

    That bag of hair thing though… that was very anti-climactic.  I was so proud of myself.  She thought it was “normal.”



    Is this actually considered “running”?

    How big of steps can they ACTually be taking here?  Is this even “power walking.”

    And this…

    This is definitely that underutilized method of running in which the runner does no swinging of the arms.

    Actually now that I’ve cropped that pic like that all I can picture is a centaur.  If Erika was a centaur, then I could imagine this being a fine position for running fast and hard…

    And Morgan…

    Poor Morgan.




    I think It’d be hard for a lot of folks to pick one of these over the other.  For me, it’s a no-brainer.

    The first one.

    DON’T get me wrong.  The second one is totally fine.

    I imagine this is what he looks like driving to work or sitting in court or waiting for his TV dinner to cook in the microwave.

    And it looks good.  It looks really good.

    But man that first one.

    You may think it looks like he’s got his eyes closed and he’s just chillin’, but…


    You can see his left eye is slightly more open than his right and that real creepy left eyeball is in there peekin’ out… and whatever his lower jaw and teeth are doing, I’m not into it.  Basically, it’s just classic Merritt…  lookin’ like a huge idiot.

    He wasn’t going to make it out of the year without a spot on the Top 10.



    At what point during a bar facing burpee are you supposed to do this?

    I have ALWAYS imagined this as some kind of dance… I see more than just a still photo here… I see a LOT of movement.

    He is shaking his head “no” a LOT, he swings his arms to his left and back to his right several times, and shuffles & stomps his feet… all while muttering incoherently  and spitting occasional curse words through his teeth.  But I cannot decide if it is to some kind of bluegrass music or some kind of rap music.  I think definitely one of those though.

    But seriously… is he on his way down to the ground?  Or did he just stand and is about to walk to the bar?  If you picture him walking to the bar… don’t you picture him shaking his head “no” a LOT and muttering incoherently and stomping his feet hard?

    I really do love this one.



    Handstand pic #3.

    Like I said… I don’t think it’s fair to pick on someone for what they look like when gravity is pulling their face in the opposite direction of what it is used to.  So I’m going to try not to comment on any of the things gravity and the act of trying to do handstand push ups are hilariously doing to Erin’s face.

    But I also think this one begs for imitation.  When you look at this, don’t your lips and eyes automatically sort of get into those shapes/positions?  You were probably doing it and didn’t even know… like when I was little and my dad would feed me food… why would he open his mouth when my mouth opened?


    … that person does NOT look like the owner of the photography shoppe next to the bagel place in Hampstead, USA.  This looks more like Dave Castro than it does Erin.



    This one is so frustrating to me.

    I wish the top of Troy’s head didn’t get cut off and I wish the bottom half of Mike didn’t get cut off.  It’s a pic that maybe should have been deleted.  MAYBE some would say, “Pffff like all the rest on this list?”

    No.  Not like all the others.  This one truly is a bad photo.

    But maybe those things that would normally make me delete this really add to it… it leaves us needing more.  I just want this one to be so good, but I do feel it is missing things or makes us ask a lot of questions.  Like… are the kids in the back symbolic of anything?  But like that “grotesque” Mike C pic on #11, I have stared at this one a lot.  And just the amount of time I’ve devoted to this… studying it, analyzing it… that alone forced me to put this so high on the list.

    The camera chose to focus on Troy so let’s look at him first.


    There’s really not a whole lot going on.  He’s just standing there… a good calm expression…  and in a workout with 2 miles of running and 600 other contractions, that really is a good thing.  And maybe the whole reason for that is to contrast with / distract us from what is really going on here.

    Which is this…

    (Hahah I love the watermark.)

    Remember how I said Mike might have that thing Benjamin Button had?

    This might actually be the beginning of Mike’s life…. before he’s learned to walk or before he’s even learned how to crawl or breathe …. when he came into this world as a 70 year old infant.



    I hear a lot of picture-taker people say you shouldn’t always put your “subject” in the center of the photo.

    And I totally get that.  I found this one to be a really good one for “non center”-ness… leaving the dark blue right side open so it could  kind of be a “dead” area for which the zombie would slowly be walking into and through…

    But something else happened.

    And I hope Mike contacts me soon to help make him business cards to let everyone know he’s  a tooth doctor.

    Or maybe I could use this as my business card for advertising that I’d be a really good business card maker.

    Or what if this was on a banner maybe?


    Definitely a billboard.



    You hear us say things like, “If you don’t use hook grip do you even care about trying to lift a lot of weight at all or are you just a big dumb jerk?”

    Jeremy is using what is knows as the “meathook” grip.  Not even using his precious opposable thumbs.

    And that’s a pretty good amount of weight.  I doubt a lot of other folks in the IT department are capable of such a feat.

    And to do it after just inhaling whatever fumes this guy just put into his system…

    I KNOW I talk a LOT about people relaxing their faces and how that’s a “good thing.”  And I do believe that…. why put energy into scrunching up your face when you need all the power you can generate to pick up heavy things?  But holy cow.  THIS goes waaaaay beyond that.

    Mark in the background has a pretty OK balance of “getting fired up for a heavy ass clean” and “still keeping a somewhat relaxed face.”

    Jeremy has an “I wonder if I can just drink my lunch through a straw because I’m too lazy to chew anything right now” expression on his face AND IS STILL meathook cleaning over 200 pounds.

    Very impressive.




    I feel kind of like an ass for putting this one so high on the list.  But dammit… the whole “attitude” of this pic is “screw everyone.”  And there is a part of me that needs more of that in my life.

    I really am proud of what we’ve done here and am happy with the things I have accomplished since getting into CrossFit over 8 and a half years ago and experimenting on my own [and hurting myself] at “globo gyms,” coaching classes for 8 years, competing for almost 7, programming for individuals for 5, and owning my own shoppe for 4 and a half…. STILL improving my own athletic capabilities ALL WHILE falling victim to the inevitability of aging.

    When I was younger people used to say I was “casual and indifferent.”  And I went along with that because I thought that was “cool.”  But I’m really neither of those things.  You can’t be “indifferent” and live a life where you are willingly at your “office” for 70+ hours a week (and then up until midnight working at home), paying yourself in nickels and protein powder (that you technically paid for anyway), and going through so much physical (and mental and emotional) pain and just be like, “Yeah you know man… like… whatever.”

    No… I really do care about this shit.

    One of my “goals” on the goal wall is “[the] splits.”  I haven’t devoted as much time to achieving that goal as I had been this summer, but I mean… I was pretty close to getting my ass on the floor, y’know?  The only thing I feel I am “naturally” good at in this life is being stubborn.  So you know man… I’ll like… get there or whatever.



    My favorite part of this is not what it looks like… but what it “sounds” like. I can hear this photo… and I’m listening… I’m listening so closely…. and I can’t stop laughing.  Can you hear him?  Look at the close-up then go back to the original and just imagine the sound(s) coming out of Mike’s face … I imagine kind of like a Goofy sound (the Disney character).   But also…. try to imagine the background noises…. do you hear a bunch of honks and bonks and clonks and clatters and novelty horns and slide whistles? I do. I wish I could somehow show you what I …

    Oh wait I think I can try…

    …hold on…



    Something like that kinda.


    Time to party.

    See you soon.





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