The Story Behind CrossFit Sacrifice
Now that we’ve heard the story behind Columbus, Georgia’s very first CrossFit box, it’s about time we pull up a chair across the table from Mark, Chris, and a few of the coaches to learn more about the next box to enter the scene in the southeast: CrossFit Sacrifice.
As you can imagine, after their introduction to CrossFit via Inception, the locals were hooked. The economy had shifted in a positive direction and CrossFit Inception was packed, so Mark Kane and Chris Kowalewski, the owners of the box, sought to open a gym that would serve the members who made the long, daily drive from northern Columbus to UpTown.
When they stumbled across the MMA gym, the former first sergeants knew that the location would be a good fit for those members. CrossFit Sacrifice, endearingly called the CrossFit country club due to the fact that it’s the only box in Columbus that has air conditioning, also offers unique programming, like CrossFit Kids, and provides opportunities for members to practice Olympic weightlifting in the afternoons with Justin, the longest standing coach in the box.
To this day, Chris and Mark still have a presence on the floor at CrossFit Sacrifice, as well as the other boxes they’ve opened in Columbus. Like most great leaders, they hope to lead by example by being the first coaches to arrive in the morning as well as the last coaches to leave as they travel between the three boxes they have opened in the southeast region.
Most know have heard of the unique coaching presence within each of these boxes. The coaches at Sacrifice, Justin Townsend and Ange Bieron are two distinguishing factors that set the box apart. Justin honed his CrossFit knowledge and skills as a member and early coach at CrossFit Inception, while Ange proudly holds her position as the only transplant coaching for Mark and Chris. Both coaches are obviously passionate about building community within the box, providing a strong sense of encouragement to the members, and supplying quality instruction on all things CrossFit.
Today, Sacrifice stands as a tribute to the ultimate sacrifice that the first responder’s paid for our nation. The name also serves as a reminder that sacrifice is involved in achieving physical gains. Both sides of the meaning were represented on January 14, 2012 in the very first WOD at CrossFit Sacrifice: Hidalgo. This WOD, one of over 1,200 hero WODs taken on by the three local boxes that make up CrossFit Columbus, honored U.S. Army First lieutenant Daren M. Hidalgo, 24, of Waukesha, Wisconsin, who died on February 20, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. His brother, Darren Hidalgo, was present to honor his little brother who left us too soon. Today, the box continues to honor heroes like Daren Hidalgo every Friday.
Written by: Hunter Beless
Photos by: Hunter Beless and Ange Bieron