When I originally heard that Lacey Stone would be returning to NYC to host a Nike event, my immediate reaction was I have to go. I mean seriously? How could it not be amazing? The event was part of a series that Nike was doing all over the country to celebrate the passage of Title IX and the effect it had on women in sports. As a former Division 1 player, a celebrated trainer who brings an infectious joy to every workout, it is no wonder that Nike asked Lacey Stone to return to her passionate New York fan base and lead that day’s event. The fact that Holly Rilinger, who is always joyous and inspiring herself, was going to be a support trainer as part of Lacey’s Nike event, made it seem seriously like a NYC Dream Team. I didn’t know the third trainer, Chelsey Pagana, but I was pretty sure if she was part of that team, she is someone who I should be keeping an eye out for.
My friend, SINworkouts, set about corralling a huge group of us to get together and attend the event. Everyone’s immediate answer was “Oh HELL yes, I’ll be there” and it turned out we were a rowdy, raucous group of women. The event itself was an all day thing but the crew I was with really came for Lacey’s workout, the one that was wrapping up the event. A few of the group made it to the workout before but I didn’t, since really, except for special exceptions, if it doesn’t relate to training for the Tri, it just isn’t happening right now. Because I was ridiculously excited about this event, I got there over an hour before Lacey and Holly were supposed to take the stage. I registered and was handed a #MakeTheRules tank top, which was awesome because I didn’t have any Nike gear on and at a Nike event, that just seemed wrong! I slipped on my rocking new tank and made my way into the event, which was taking place on Pier 46, a cool Astroturf workout space on the West Side Highway. The field was outfitted for the day with a huge stage and the event was filled with all sorts of kick-ass, fit people who had come to celebrate women in sports. Since I wasn’t remotely the only one who had showed up early, the hour flew by hanging out with the rowdy crew.
When it was finally time to head out to the field, our crew was first out and we made our way over to where Holly was and promptly formed a pre-game huddle around her. Holly was fully reveling in the magnitude of the Nike Women event and led us in a dancing, clapping celebration of the moment. People started flooding the field around us and the wave of joy had spread out like a wildfire.
Lacey was introduced and the crowd erupted and moved forward towards the stage. She talked about the idea of #MakeThe Rules and not letting anyone dictate what you are capable of and in total Lacey style, summarized it as “trust your magic” – which really is a pretty perfect statement (You can watch the video of that moment on her blog). As Lacey took in the crowd, she also noticed how the crowd was now ahead of the platforms that Holly and Chelsea, her two teammates for the event, were stationed on and just wasn’t having it. Lacey, who easily could have kept that big Nike stage and spotlight for herself, yelled at them to get up there with her so everyone could see them. I imagine it never occurred to her that to do anything else. It was the right thing to do. However, when it boils down to it, the star player often forgets that and what she did in a split second was act as a TEAMMATE and during an event celebrating women’s sports, it was a beautiful thing to witness.
I have taken only a handful of classes with Lacey and while I have loved them all, she truly shined at this one. The workout was based on the Nike Training Club app and the images of famous athletes doing the same moves would flash on the side screens. But really, there was no way to take your eyes off the dynamos in front of us. I will say that for a 1/2 hour workout, it was REALLY hard! (I obviously will have to actually start using my NTC app because geeze, who knew it was really that good?). The fact that she made following along to a computer monitor workout feel like her own is such a crazy, impressive skill. It is hard enough to be challenging, fun and engaging with a crowd that large – which she is brilliant at – but to do it with an extra disconnecting step of following something else is stunning. Lacey made the workout fun and had fun with it. Holly and Chelsea, who were un-miked behind her, did the moves with a fierce energy and commitment, occasionally jumping out into the crowd to spur people on, which was awesome. It was hard to take your eyes off the three of them up there on that stage. They seriously killed it. As a crowd, we cheered almost continuously, even through the pushups and squats. It was just one of those days when the energy of the moment and the people assembled is just so special, you could practically see it vibrating. At the end of the workout, the electric energy had settled over everyone and we all knew that we had gotten the chance to participate in something that was truly epic.
All photos taken by Eric C Stafford for the FBS blog