Ben’s Dad, Paul, has a boat that he keeps in Marina Bay in Boston. In the summertime, especially after the Games are over and done with, it’s one of our favorite date nights. Sometimes we go by ourselves, but other times we meet up there with his Dad and invite a couple of friends to spend the night cruising around Boston harbor, eating dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants, or even just sitting around at the dock listening to music and drinking summer shandy’s.
We went out there tonight with The Giorgio’s and Paul. After a great night of site-seeing, eating dinner in the North End, and hanging out in Bubba’s super freaky cool top-floor apartment, we took our time driving back to the harbor. It was the perfect pace to soak in the night skyline, feel an easy steady breeze, and feel like life is so right that it almost doesn’t feel real.
It sort of felt like one of those super rare moments in life when you can imagine you’re acting out one of those dreamy scenes in a romantic movie, except it’s really your life. It’s your own real life romantic movie.
And, Ben Bergeron’s my dreamy co-star.
Everyone else is up in the front of the boat while Mike navigates through Boston harbor with Paul’s watchful eye making sure we don’t go all Titanic and end up sinking ship, while Ben and I are out on the back going back and forth between watching the dark sky line and watching the pattern the waves make as they endlessly chase down our boat.
I’m sitting on one of the corner steps in my favorite cozy cashmere sweater and Ben’s sitting on the floor looking straight off on the water behind us.
I turn back to look at him, almost as if to check and make sure that this man I’ve ended up with is real and not a figment of my imagination. That he is there with me, as in love with me as he constantly tells me he is.
And, yes, he’s right there…looking right at me with those soft, genuine eyes that never leave me wondering.
Ben motions to me to come over and sit next to him. Without hesitation, I crawl under his arm that he holds up for me to fold into.
For a good period of time, nothing is said. Not because the engine is roaring too loud right underneath us. Not because we have nothing to talk about. And, not because it’s past 8pm and, therefore, beyond my bedtime…which is usually the case, but for some reason I’m surprisingly wide awake.
Finally, I break the silence with, “Babe, what do you think makes you a great coach?”
It’s something I think about often. I know what my take is on the matter because I know why he’s a great coach for me, but l would imagine it’s like any relationship: what’s great for one relationship, isn’t necessarily the same situation for another one.
But, at this point in Ben’s career, it’s hard to not recognize that a lot of people would consider him a “great” coach: elite Games athletes, general competitors within CrossFit, our CFNE regulars whose goals are to get fit and hang out with really cool people every morning, and even special population athletes like the elderly and people who need to lose 100+ pounds.
His coaching “greatness” is appreciated by a lot more than just me and Katrin.
But, I’ve never actually asked him why he thinks he’s been so successful as a coach.
When I asked him, he laughed and just said, “Ha. That’s a nice question.” And, then he went quiet for a while as he thought it through.
While I could go on in detail about everything we talked about, the thing that really sort of captures the essence of what we both think is the answer to that question is this: people trust him.
It may sound clichè, but it’s the simplest way to pull together all of the many examples of why people love being coached by him.
And, it’s the answer I like the most because it’s something we talk about with each other, with our family, with friends, and even with total strangers.
When you can fully and freely trust someone, you’re able to break through the layers and layers of walls that keep other people from reaching their real potential. And, when you doubt someone or question their motives on any level, there will forever be that something there stopping you from moving forward and accomplishing some really, really cool things.
But, as we all know whether we want to admit it or not, trust isn’t something you can just demand from someone. You can’t just tell someone that you’re trustworthy.
Trust, like real trust, has to be proven.
If you meet someone and immediately think you can “trust” them, you’re kidding yourself. There’s a difference between having “faith” in someone, and truly being able to “trust” them.
I am notorious for having faith in people too soon. But, there are very few people that I have grown to have real, raw, genuine trust in.
And, whether you’re talking about my relationship with Ben Bergeron as his athlete, as his wife, as someone who is a parent with him, as his best friend, as someone who helps him run a business, as a coach on a staff with him, as someone who seeks his opinion on nutrition, as someone who I’ve asked to be the step-father of Maya and Jonah…all of it…all of me…there is one thing that I know for sure.
Ben Bergeron has earned my trust. He has earned the trust of every one of his elite Games athletes. He has earned the trust of so many athletes within CrossFit that train and compete at local and on-line competitions. He has earned the trust of his 8:30 class athletes and every member of our CrossFit New England community. And, he has earned the trust of people like his 90 year old grandmother and Aaron, our CFNE member who has dropped from 385 pounds to 215 pounds, both who believe in his words and his mission.
Ben Bergeron is a great coach because we all trust him.