I had a wonderful moment during the Annual Rally a few weeks ago that I have been thinking about ever since. It was one of those rare times where I was able to slow down and really savor this special thing that is the ElliptiGO community. It happened at the Friday night event at Tidewaters. For about two minutes I was by myself, in the middle of the group, but not engaged in conversation with anyone. Rather than find a friend to say hi to, I consciously surveyed the room, moving my gaze from table to table and soaking in what was taking place in real time. I was surrounded by the individuals who form the groups that combine to create our community. It hit me then just how special these people are and how much meaning they have created for each other and hundreds of others around the world.
At the first table Pam and Dainah huddled close together, smiling about something. Two great ladies from Tucson who I knew had become fast friends over the past few years. Their energy is what caught my eye and caused me to notice everyone else in the room more deliberately. Surrounding the table next to them were Gerry, Steve, Erik, Carol, Didi, Sue and Bob, laughing away at something Carol or Gerry had said like old friends do. Jane, Jim, Bill, Keri, Frank and Jorge were leaning over the table in the corner, with Jane leading the laughter and finger pointing. A group of folks that have formed relationships so tight that they can seem inseparable sometimes. Tera and Michael were in front of the door, with Miles in his stroller. I thought back to Tera and Michael’s first date at ElliptiGO headquarters. I suggested they have dinner just down the beach from where we were standing. Now they are married and Miles is already 1! Michael had told me a few weeks prior that Tera was determined to win her first ElliptiGO World Championships on Sunday morning; a goal she had been chasing since before she met Michael. She looked so carefree now that it was hard to appreciate the drive and determination that had gotten her back to this spot after giving birth last year. They were talking with Jeff, Mark and Sammy (almost certainly about running, a love they all share). Earlier that day, Mark had taken down Paul Thomas’ standing-mile ElliptiGO record and I could see he was still glowing from that achievement. Bryce, Cindy, Gigi and John were circled around the next table. It looked like Bryce was telling stories about some crazy adventure he’d had with one or all of them years ago. The authentic fondness for each other was palpable. At the last table in my immediate sight sat Pete surrounded by a half-dozen folks. He was opposite Walt and together they appeared to be regaling the assembled group about the physical poetry that is the Italian Dolomites or some other majestic mountain range in Europe that the most recent European ElliptiGO tour had conquered. If you’ve met Pete, you know what I’m talking about.
There were many other wonderful people there that evening, but those were the groups I remember really observing in what turned out to be a very special two minutes for me. Just standing there alone, in the middle of the crowd, savoring the essence of the ElliptiGO community and being so grateful to feel a part of it. There was love in that room. Real relationships formed by shared experiences that have brought joy and growth and challenge and connection and achievement to the people there. In this time of thanksgiving, when I think of all the things I am grateful for, one that sits towards the top of that list is this community. The community and our team of employees are the best parts of my 17-year experience with ElliptiGO. I believe that of all of the things we have brought to the world, the most important was creating an opportunity for this community to form itself.
Thank you for being a part of the ElliptiGO community and I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.