“Semper Fidelis is a Latin phrase that means ‘always faithful’ or ‘always loyal.’ Semper Fidelis is the motto of every Marine—an eternal and collective commitment to the success of our battles, the progress of our Nation, and the steadfast loyalty to the fellow Marines we fight alongside. Established in 1883, this motto distinguishes the bond developed and shared between Marines. It goes beyond words that are spoken, as it is a warriorhood that is lived.”
Steve Davis understands the meaning behind the Marine motto “Semper Fidelis,” or “Semper Fi” as it is often referred to, because he lived it, and continues to live it. An Iraq War veteran who served in the Marines from 1999-2005, Steve earned the rank of Sergeant in the USMC Infantry. He looks back on those years with appreciation, and thinks of ‘Semper Fi’ as an integral part of the Marine Corps, where “brothers” looked out for one another, and shared their “fears, challenges, disappointments, and successes” as their own. Steve was looking for physical and mental challenges similar to what he’d experienced in the military, when he found RTC. He has accomplished much in the year since he joined, and credits not just his past military training, but also the coaches and the RTC community for his success.
Steve had met Coach Allie at the former RTC gym location, and was impressed with her “great reputation in the areas of health, fitness, and CrossFit.” So when he was looking to begin his CrossFit journey, he wanted someone he could trust to prioritize his health and recognize his concern about injury. “I have a lot of neck, back, and knee issues from my years in the Marine Corps, and I didn’t want to make my physical limitations worse. I was nervous about starting CrossFit, which was something that had interested me for years, but when I looked into and tried a few other gyms, none of them felt comfortable to me. From my days as a Marine, I wanted to do something that was not only physical, but that would challenge my mental toughness, and improve my overall health.” Steve felt that RTC was the perfect fit for him.
Joining RTC just weeks before the COVID pandemic changed the world was difficult, but Steve notes that the RTC coaches did a “great job” helping members “stay active while the world changed around us.” Since then, he has gotten into a consistent routine, attending the 5:30AM and weekend classes. His consistency has paid off. “I have lost 15 pounds, gained a lot of strength/muscle, and improved my mobility,” he says. “The biggest challenge for me starting out was remembering that I’m not 25 anymore. I’m 42, and my body reacts differently and recovery time is different. I’ve learned to listen to my body and set small milestones. 2021 is off to a great start. I’m achieving various weekly PR’s by eating healthier, getting more rest, and pushing myself a little more each week. Most importantly, I’m having FUN, and continue to meet new people that share the same fitness goals.”
Steve has much praise to offer the RTC coaching staff and his Fit Fam for helping him achieve such solid results. He remembers his first days at RTC, and the immediate sense of belonging that he experienced. “Early on, Allie, Stephanie Margaritakis, Andrea Harris, and Michelle Parker helped me feel comfortable by introducing me to other coaches and members,” says Steve. “They helped me out a lot during my first few weeks and let me know I was doing great. Since I work out at 5:30AM, George Treadwell is my primary coach, mentor and motivator. Every morning I walk in sleepy, and George is there to greet me with his big smile and positive energy. He has helped and inspired me to do more in CrossFit than I thought I’d ever do. George knows me. He knows when I’m pushing myself and when I’m giving basic effort. He knows when to push me and when to support me. Although he is coaching 12 plus people at a time, I always feel like I get 1 on 1 coaching from him. Without George, I wouldn’t be at the level I am today.” Steve concludes, “I love the athletes and our coaches. The facilities are amazing and it continues to bring in new athletes weekly, but it’s the coaches and the RTC family that keep people coming back.”
Steve has found that his military training is an asset when life gets tough, or even when he’s in the midst of a difficult workout. “In the Marine Corps, you are trained that your mind is your strongest muscle. If you have mental toughness, your body will fail you before your mind will. We have a saying: ‘Pain is weakness leaving your body.’ Once you gain that mental toughness, you can accomplish amazing things.” Steve notes that many people let their minds lead them in the opposite direction, which compromises their confidence. “Our mind tries to sabotage us, and take us on the road easiest traveled. It tells you that you ‘can’t do that,’ or ‘you’re not strong enough, fast enough, or smart enough.’ Because of my training in the Marine Corp, it takes a lot for me to become upset or shaken. My mind is always looking for the solution, and never dwells on the problem.” While this mental toughness carries Steve through the challenges of life, it has also hurt him on occasion, but that doesn’t deter him from moving forward. “My body has been beaten up from the Marine Corps, and as I age, it can’t sustain the pace of my mind. During Open workout 21.4, I was very happy with my 175lb lift. That determination to keep pushing myself, regardless of my limitations, caused me to move up in weight, and I strained my lower back. This sidelined me for a week, and I have had to adjust my mental toughness with the reality of my physical limitations. It won’t stop me from reaching my goals; it just might take me longer than what my mind wants.”
Above all, Steve believes in the power of serving others, a lesson ingrained in him that affects all aspects of his life. “Being a Marine is not about what you can do for your country, it’s what you can do for your fellow brothers and sisters in the armed services. We all have a purpose: serve our country, our God, our families, and protect each other.” And while many years have passed since Steve left the military, he misses his time in the service. “To this day, I miss being a Marine,” he says. “I miss my fellow Marines, how difficult being in the infantry was, and serving my country. I miss being a part of something greater than myself, knowing that everything I did challenged me and made each person around me better. In a lot of ways, CrossFit and my RTC family fills some of these voids for me.”
Steve, who works as a District Manager for TJX Companies, relishes his civilian life, and is very dedicated to his family, which includes Jill, his wife of 18 years (a former RTC member who plans a comeback), and 2 sons Jaxon, age 12, and Dylan, age 10. Both boys are active in sports, and Steve and Jill enjoy cheering them on during football, basketball, and lacrosse games. Other members of the family include dogs Scout, Paisley, and Semper, and their off-road Jeep, aptly named “Devil Dog.” Steve says they are “an active family that loves the outdoors,” and they enjoy “traveling and vacationing in Florida, Alabama, Texas, Michigan, and Cancun, Mexico.” Both Steve and Jill say their future goals include “surviving teenage kids that grow up to be wonderful, respectful young men.” He adds, “Our family has been blessed in so many ways, so taking each day as it comes and counting our many blessings is all we can ask for.”
Thank you Steve, not just for your service to your country, but for the way that you serve your family, your friends, and the entire RTC community. Congratulations on being named the April Member of the Month!