Member of the Month
What makes someone an extraordinary person? Some would say hard working, successful and determined while others would say caring, loyal and devoted. I would say all of the above and more. Being extraordinary also means being optimistic, humble, selfless, respectable, dependable, genuine, and a little bit goofy. If you haven’t already figured out who we are spotlighting for our member of the month let me introduce you to Cliff Musgrave: truly one of the most extraordinary people I have the pleasure of calling a friend.
In 30 days Cliff will be traveling to Madison to compete in the CrossFit Games Masters Competition for the third time. This is undoubtedly an extraordinary feat. In addition, Cliff has participated in multiple regional events as an individual and team member. As impressive at these accomplishments are; they aren’t the core of what makes Cliff extraordinary. I spoke with his wife, trainers, members and friends about Cliff. The theme of all these conversations was the same. At risk of oversimplifying a very complex man: Cliff is a man of faith, who cares deeply for others, and he gives 100% to all of life.
Cliff “Chisel Monkey” is a Lieutenant/Fire Fighter for the City of Akron. Doug introduced Cliff to CrossFit back in 2010. He was originally a runner and ran in the Boston Marathon in 2006. He started for the fitness and was quickly hooked by the community of CrossFit. He typically works out in the evenings and can be seen putting in extra time with Cody, Lolly and Jess. Cliff’s favorite movements are double-unders, bar muscle ups, and kettlebell swings and prefers long workouts. His least favorite movements are box jumps and max out lifts. His life goals include trying to honor God, take care of his family, go to work and do his best in life. His current fitness goals are to snatch over 200 lbs and improve his gymnastics movements.
Cliff has been married to his wife Kim for 28 years. Together they have two sons CJ (23) and Luke (20). His favorite hobby is hunting and he enjoys watching/supporting the US Olympic teams. He eats a peanut butter sandwich everyday and can be seen carrying around a gallon jug of milk or water.
Kim had this to say when I asked her to describe Cliff: “If I had to choose one word to describe Cliff, it would be DETERMINED. He works hard at everything he does……If I had to chose a word to describe who Cliff is… it would be that Cliff is first a Christian that wants to live his life in order to bring Glory to God. He is an incredible, father, amazing husband and a support and rock to many of us in his life. “
I asked Cliff about his journey with CrossFit, the sacrifices of being a competitive athlete and his advice for others. His journey started with fitness but said when he started coaching he realized how much he enjoyed helping others reach similar goals. “ I get so much inspiration from the gym & Utility family that I can’t even mention it all. I love effort. The effort that I see so many times in this gym just makes me want to try harder. I have had a ton of fun over the years during The Open & I hate to miss Friday Night Lights.
I cannot say enough how thankful I am for this gym and friendships I have made. Also Cody, Jess & Lolly have been a huge motivation during this games season. They have really helped keep it fun and push me when I need it. Cody knows me well and is an invaluable asset. I want to thank Bailey and Bud for the help with weightlifting.”
His advice for others “regarding fitness and other pursuits is to never give up. It is a life long journey. The competition is not the Games, or on the whiteboard, but it is against yourself and continuing to move to your fullest even on the days when it’s hard to make yourself do it. There will be ups and downs along the way, PR’s may come less often. Some days are just about getting the work in. Those days might not be as exciting as PR days, but they are the days that make a difference in the long run.”
He told me his biggest sacrifice made in reference to being a competitive athlete is time. “I want to always be a better husband, father, firefighter, coach, and despite my best efforts, when I start to focus on maximizing my output athletically. I know some of those things don’t get the same level of attention. I can’t thank my wife enough for the support.”
“I am reluctant to think (that my qualifying) is because of “my” effort. I mean yes I’m working hard, but everyone is, I feel like God has just made me adaptable to this stimulus, and healthy. Many in the gym know, some do not, that my youngest son has multiple medical problems. He depends on us for all of his care. So I live with an amazing example of how important movement and mobility are, and that they are a gift. I don’t ever want to take for granted anything that I am able to do physically. I don’t know why I have been given so much, but I hope I can use it to positively affect others. “
I would like to share some “Cliff-isms” that some of us have come to identify: he is the first to admit that he needs his cheaters/readers (age really reeks havoc on eyesight), he really loves the color teal, his favorite ice cream is deep dark chocolate, he is usually seen sporting the “dad” socks (shin height white socks), he can workout in complete silence and has been heard saying “if you need music, you’re fitnessing wrong”, he considers himself to be an average guy (we don’t agree).
Cliff you are truly extraordinary. You push yourself to places that not many people can even go mentally, once your there you setup camp! Your faith, fitness level, and character are inspiring! We are all so very proud of who you are and what you have accomplished. Now go kick some ass in Madison!!