“Rest in peace...the Italian Greyhound of Canada. Eh,” were the words spoken by Outlaw Way’s Rudy Nielsen last week at the start of his 16.1 workout tips video.
Nielson was referring to one of his most overachieving athletes from last year’s CrossFit Games season—and Blonyx-sponsored athlete—Joe Scali, in response to Scali’s public announcement that injuries will prevent him competing in the CrossFit Games this year.
A bulging disc in his back and a nagging shoulder injury are keeping Scali out of the 2016 CrossFit Games season
Scali’s presence will be greatly missed. Not because he’s one of the top athletes in the world—which he proved last year by qualifying and competing at the 2015 CrossFit Games—but because he is great for the sport.
Because Scali portrays a refreshing fun-loving, light-heartedness, which comes through in his quirky humour and reminds those around him to have fun and enjoy the process—even during stressful time likes the Open. Last year, he gained notoriety by publicly entertaining the CrossFit world with his friendly, trash-talking with other top Canada West athletes Brent Fikowski and Mitch Barnard—trash-talking that essentially reminded followers everywhere to focus on enjoyment instead of stress.
Behind the trash talking is an undeniable bromance that captured the hearts of the CrossFit community during last year's Open
And entertained us, too
Despite his usual upbeat demeanour, Scali is currently dealing with the serious blow to both his CrossFit Games career and spirit. The bulging disc is an injury he discovered three months ago, and the lingering shoulder problems stem from a torn labrum, which he suffered at last year’s CrossFit Games, causing him to withdraw from the competition.
Scali admitted the injuries have been a difficult pill to swallow.
“(It’s my) first time not competing in four years, so you can guess I’m pretty upset. It’s very tough to wrap my head around not (trying to qualify) to the 2016 Games. I was so upset about my 2015 Games showing (having to withdraw because of injury). I wanted redemption...it left a very sour taste in my mouth,” he said.
Scali would do anything for another opportunity to hit Murph in a weighted vest in the California summer heat
Scali explained that up until last week he was feeling somewhat at peace with having to take a year off, but that all changed last Thursday when 16.1 was announced. Since that moment, it has been emotionally “very difficult,” he said.
Knowing the Open was going on in front of him and he wouldn’t be participating made him realize how much CrossFit means to him.
“When I quit hockey, I was lost and had nothing to train for. CrossFit makes me feel alive...I live for competing,” Scali explained. “And knowing I (wouldn’t be able to) kick Brent Fikowski’s ass. He might have gotten me, though,” Scali joked, giving props to Fikowski’s whopping 329-rep performance that sits atop the leaderboard in Canada West.
Even though he's not competing himself, as the owner of CrossFit Semiahmoo, the Open will still play big role in Scali's life this year
Although disappointed, Scali does see a silver lining: He now has an entire year to work on the things he really knows he needs to improve.
“I need to fix my body mechanics. Lots of mobility and stability training,” Scali said. “I have some good people in my corner right now fixing me up. We will call this the rebuilding year.”
And although it’s a long way away, Scali is already thinking about the future.
“I will be back to make another push for the 2017 Games season,” he said.