Author: Ross Oberlin
In the beginning, what RC actually stood for was an ‘insider thing’. Some people pieced together that our logo, the Rooster, was part of it. But even if they figured out that RC stood for the ‘Rooster’s Crow’, that still left a lot of blank space about what that meant, and why it was important to our members and community.
Over time, we realized that we shouldn’t hold onto the story like some precious secret. It's important for people to hear. It’s a simple, yet powerful story about finding happiness, purpose, and meaning in life. It’s the compass with which we orient ourselves when making decisions about where to lead the gym. It’s a reminder that we all inherently know what’s important to us, and damn anyone that thinks their values are ‘more right’ than our own.
So, ladies and gentlemen, the story of the Rooster’s Crow…
In the Summer of 2013, I had made the decision to leave training at a corporate gym and open my own 1-on-1 training studio. While we existed in a 500 square foot space in the back of Tutaj Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, there was always an eye on the future, and what we could eventually grow into.
Our family has a small cabin on a lake, and I spent a good chunk of time at the cabin that summer working on my business plan. (You have lots of free time when you’re essentially unemployed). As my vision came together, I needed to determine what I would name this place. I knew from the start that Ross’ gym, or something like that wouldn’t cut it. While it might stroke my ego plenty, my vision for this gym from day one was to grow into a place, a thing, much bigger than myself. Knowing that, it just wouldn’t have been right to put my name on the marquee.
As I finished another long day of planning and working, I headed down to the lake to float in an inner tube and enjoy a glass of wine. (It helps me think, okay!?)
My mental faculties spent, I floated around and took in the view. To my left, there was a guy, probably in his late thirties, learning to water ski. For those who have picked up this skill, you know it’s difficult enough as a kid, but as a grown adult, learning new, novel, physical skills is damn near impossible.
I watched, over and over: the guy gave the thumbs up, the boat engine would roar, our hero would be dragged forward, swallowing a gallon of lake water, the engine would cut, and he would be no closer to actually water skiing. This went on for some time, and as much as I was rooting for him, eventually I resigned that he wasn’t going to make it. I hopped up onto the dock and started walking back to prepare my dinner.
At that very moment, with my back turned, I heard the engine roar as it has countless times before. This time however, the engine didn’t cut out! I turned around, and there he was, up on his skis!
And you know what he was doing?
He was crowing!
It’s the only way I could describe it. This involuntary verbal expression of pure joy. He bounced around the lake on his skis for a few more seconds, but there was no doubt; he had gotten up, and he was water skiing!
He clipped a wave, splashed down into the water, and resurfaced moments later. And still, he was crowing! It was awesome to see. I didn’t know this guy. As far as I’m aware, haven’t seen him again once in my life. But I was so happy for him, and here’s why:
He wasn’t the first person to ever water ski.
He wasn’t the youngest person to ever water ski.
He was in his late thirties. The ship has sailed on him being the best water skier of all time.
But screw all that! He just learned how to water ski! When he wakes up tomorrow, he’ll have a new definition of who he is, and what he can do.
Nevermind, what other people think. Nevermind if that’s impressive to someone else or not.
It was a big deal to him, and he deserved to be proud of himself - and damnit, crow at the top of his lungs!
And in that moment, I thought; “THAT. That right there is everything this gym will be about.” In that moment, I knew that we would be RC Training & Fitness. I knew that people would identify with this idea. I knew that people were hungry to chase a better version of themselves, not someone else.
It paid off, big time. Today, RC Training & Fitness is stronger than it’s ever been. Our mission has stayed the same, and we have been fortunate to train so many amazing members of our community. We are honored when those people walk through our doors each and every day.
The next time you’re setting your fitness goals, don’t think about someone else you’d like to be more like. Think about what the better version of yourself looks like, acts, like, feels like. That’s the person you want to pursue. Screw what anyone else thinks of that.
Set your course and achieve your goal. When you get there, if you feel like it, go ahead and let out a loud crow. I promise we’ll crow back with you.