By Cathy Kimmel-Srock
Review Staff Writer
Most people use the internet, and YouTube specifically, to search for funny cat videos, but 15-year-old Dylan Kade used it to change his life.
Dylan, who will be a sophomore at Lake Orion High School in the fall, taught himself about CrossFit with the help of YouTube, not only qualifying himself for the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games in Carson, California, but also finding himself ranked third in the world in his division.
“I saw this video on the internet of the 2012 CrossFit Games and I just wanted to be there one day,” Dylan said. “But I was pretty hesitant to start though because I was so into my routine.”
A natural athlete, Dylan first started working out after a speech from his youth football coach, Kevin McCormick, about leading a healthy lifestyle. The speech resonated with Dylan, who decided to embrace his health.
“I wanted to start working out to help me in my other sports,” said Dylan, who is involved in football, baseball and wrestling.
According to Dylan’s mom, Mary Kay, he was always athletic but wasn’t really into working out and enjoyed his “goodies.”
“He just decided that he wanted to become more physically fit and so he just started working out,” Mary Kay said, noting that his family wasn’t aware of Dylan’s change and commitment at first.
“We just noticed, wow, he’s not eating waffles, I’m not buying all this syrup like before.”
For Dylan, he realized that if he was going to make the commitment, he wanted to go all in.
“I ate a lot healthier, I was more dedicated to other things, like school, and I was just more committed to everything that I did,” Dylan said.
As for CrossFit?
“I just one day decided to try one of the workouts and I just fell in love with it,” he added.
“I just like the improvement, being able to test yourself every day, to push past your limits and, you know at the end of the day when you’re laying on the ground, you just know you got better after a workout.”
According to his mom, they’ve seen a transformation in Dylan with this new commitment in his life.
“Crossfit seems like a culture; they are just very dedicated to whatever they do,” Mary Kay added, saying they don’t have to ask Dylan to do things, like his homework, anymore.
“He does his homework on the way to practices and games and stuff like that,” she added. “He’s very serious about things.”
The family, which consists of Mary Kay, Dylan’s dad Erv and older brother, Chris, finally learned of Dylan’s commitment to CrossFit when he started wanting to compete in online competitions.
In order to compete, the family would have to film him doing various workouts and submit them online.
Described as a “fiasco” by his mom, they would have to follow certain rules while taping, like including a clock in the video shot so the judges knew the tape had not been stopped.
“It was quite comical, me and Erv taping him,” Mary Kay said.
Dylan placed in several of these online competitions, typically taking first or second in his age of 14- to 15-year-olds. That is when he decided he wanted to get really serious about competing but knew he needed a gym to help him get there.
According to Dylan, LOHS teachers Kelly Day and Jim Couretas both told him about CrossFit Maven, located in Rochester. Couretas has previously done CrossFit at the gym, and Day currently does.
“They told me it was a really good gym, so I looked it up on the internet and saw some good reviews on it and decided to come here,” Dylan said.
In order to get involved at the gym, Dylan’s parents told him he had to raise the $50 fee, which would cover his five weeks of being able to get videotaped to qualify for the next level of competition.
“He ended up shoveling snow, made his $50, and said, Mom, this is where I want to do it,” Mary Kay said of Dylan starting at CrossFit Maven.
It was a good fit for Dylan as he credits the people at Maven for helping him with his weaknesses in his workouts. He has also gotten good leadership and direction from the gym’s owner, Brad Berlin, who quickly noticed Dylan’s talent.
“After two weeks of it, Brad said pack your bags, he’s probably going to go (to the CrossFit Games),” Mary Kay said. “Brad took up him under his wing, and everybody here has been really great and encouraging.”
In addition to qualifying for the games, Dylan found out his ranking — third place in the world.
“Out of 1,700 kids, that is amazing,” his mom added. “I don’t think he realizes how big this really is. It’s really big.”
For Dylan though, he is just excited to be doing CrossFit.
“I was proud of myself for learning all this stuff on the internet and teaching it to myself,” he said. “To be able to be at that high of a level, it’s made me really happy.”
The family will be traveling to California for the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games for Dylan to compete in the world championships on July 19-21.
“Our kids are very athletic and they’re in a lot of sports, so we’ve been on every field, but this, we have no clue what to expect,” said Mary Kay of the games.
Unfortunately, one thing they are aware of is the huge expense, so a GoFundMe page has been set-up to help the family. According to Mary Kay, since teens do not get sponsors like the adult competitors do, the monies raised will help with airfare, hotel accommodations, competition registration, and of the greatest expenses – Dylan’s food.
“He eats healthy and won’t eat out,” she added with a chuckle.
At the competition next month, in addition to sporting his required competition shirt, Dylan hopes to wear his green and white Lake Orion Dragons socks.
“It’s important to get our community out there,” he added.
Community members or businesses that would like to help Dylan out can made a donation at https://www.gofundme.com/24w5be7s.
By Cathy Kimmel-Srock