I will start by saying that I was not very close to Pat Padgett. I wish we had crossed paths sooner. I met him on September 11, 2014 for the first time at The Swamp after one of his chemo and radiation treatments. He came back on April 29, 2015 for another afternoon throwdown. I will remember that day for as long as I live. I had found out either a few days or a week before that day that Pat's cancer was back and that he was terminal. The feeling that I had that day knowing that I was working out with someone that was most likely going to be dead in 6-9 months was emotional on many levels to say the least. It was eery, sad, humbling, and most of all inspiring. Pat kicked my ass that day in a WOD of deadlifts, box jumps, and handstand pushups. Then he kicked my ass in a bar muscle up and running WOD ten minutes later. This dude was incredible. Superhuman really. It was a roller coaster of emotions that day for me, and I'll never forget it. I left inspired though. Pat loved CrossFit, he loved throwing down with his boys and girls, and nothing was going to get in the way of that as long as he was in control. That was the feeling that won out.
Although my heart aches for this tragic loss of an amazing human being, it pales in comparison to the sadness that his family and close friends feel right now as they watched him fight the final weeks and months. Pat was able to get the most out of his time on this planet, and that was his mission until the very end. Matt O'Keefe (to whom I owe the gratitude for even being able to meet Pat) and I went to his memorial this past Sunday at CrossFit Southie. There were 200+ people there. It was amazing. This man touched so many people's lives, it's incredible. As I stood there listening to Amy Gosler (owner of CF Southie) and Pat's three best friends give their heartfelt and touching tributes to Pat, I just could not stop thinking about how lucky these guys were that they had so much time with Pat. And then they started his tribute video, and as I fought back tears, I was even more drawn to this man because of his courage. This guy was courageous in everything that he did....until the very end. Talking, walking, dressing, exercising, dancing, teaching, coaching, everything. His courageous battle with cancer was the culmination of a life filled with amazing relationships and memories built on the foundation of courage....the courage to love. He did anything that he wanted to because he loved putting himself out there on every level. That takes courage. Pat's battle against cancer was probably the most courageous thing I have ever seen in my life, and I really only experienced it through Facebook and the conversations that Matt O'Keefe shared with me. I can't even imagine what it looked like from inside his inner circle. He was such a special guy. For someone that didn't know him well, I've thought about him so much in the last few months. In a short time, he taught me a lot. He will be missed by so many people. Thank you Pat.
I wanted to share a Facebook exchange that he and I had on July 31st. Uncensored....because that is what Pat was.
Me: Hey Pat, happy belated birthday. I spent the day with my son and wasn't on FB much, so I didn't see it alert me. I read your post and as it did everyone else, it got me pretty emotional. Then I started thinking about the first time I saw you....long before I actually met you. I think it was the 2012 Regionals. I had just started CF in January that year and went down to cheer on CFNE, as that is where we started. I remembered your name for some reason because you stood out. I honestly don't remember why. Maybe it was your name, the double "P", maybe it was the way you competed your balls off, the way you walked, or carried yourself, or maybe it was because a lot of the other dudes were just yoked and you had more of a taller, wiry build but you still crushed it. I don't know. But there was something special about you. Then I think I saw you again at the Love Em or Leave Em in 2013 and I was like, man who is that dude? He looks like a cool motherfucker, kind of a badass, maybe a punk (haha), I don't know. He's obviously a really good CFer, better than me. I remember when I first heard you were sick and they were doing the fundraiser for you. I was like, no fucking brainer, we are in. Then I remember O'Keefe telling us that you wanted to come to The Swamp. I was honored. It made me really happy that you would take time to come throw down. Then he said you were coming again, and I was even more excited. You kicked my ass and I'll always remember it. I think about you and what you are going through, and you give me strength. I want you to know that. You give a lot of people strength. You're a great fucking man, and I'm grateful that I've met you and sad/jealous that I haven't known you longer. I am grateful and humbled that you have the courage to stare this right in the face, be so open with everyone, and just cherish every moment. I'm sorry I missed saying happy birthday to you on Tuesday. It was a missed opportunity to tell someone I care about that I was thinking about them. And you've already taught me that those are the important things/times in our lives that we need to embrace. You're the man, Pat. Thank you.
Pat: Mike this message was so great and so cool man. I really appreciate it. I've been getting a lot of messages this last week or so but some stand out more than others. Yours is a standout, it totally put a smile on my face and the feelings are mutual man. I love the swamp and the welcoming feeling I've gotten from my visits there. Just keep doing what you're doing man and I'll do the same, I feel like crossfit brings out good people and brings out the best in those people and I'm validated of this theory all the time. Hope to see you some time soon bud.
RIP Pat. This one's for you, man.
"Patilac" 40/30 Chest To Bar Pullups 75 Double Unders 50/40 Calorie Row 75 Double Unders 40/30 Toes To Bar