Member Spotlight: Amber Hatfield
By Michael Crespo
This month’s Member Spotlight is about the amazing Amber Hatfield. If you know Amber, then you know that she has a heart of gold. I regularly see her in my 5:30 AM class at Pacheco Valley and this week I had the opportunity to interview her so that we could get to know her a little more. I was amazed by every second of our interview during which we explored how Amber came to CrossFit, how she uses her training outside of the gym, and an amazing fact that few people know about her.
Amber began CrossFit at Pacheco Valley CrossFit during September 2016. During high school most of Amber’s friends were guys. These guys played sports and lifted weights which led to Amber lifting weights, and not bicep curls or tricep pulldowns. Amber was a Powerlifter and continued to be throughout college. After college, Amber began to attend regular gyms and they were never quite the same. Regular gyms were filled with people who had their headphones in and the things she loved about powerlifting like the camaraderie of lifting with a group of friends simply was not there.
When Amber first heard about CrossFit she wasn’t sure if she could do it, and that perhaps she was too old. Then she drove down to Pacheco Valley CrossFit. It was closed, but she walked up to the glass doors and looked inside. Amber distinctly remembers seeing the big open floor space devoid of machines and thinking “ this is my place”. This was what she had been searching for. No machines, no headphones, lots of camaraderie.
I asked Amber how she uses CrossFit outside of the gym. I expected and received some of the standard answers that you get from someone who has been doing CrossFit for a few years. Going upstairs was no big deal, increased biomechanical awareness, or in the workplace when coworkers tell her to wait for a guy to lift a heavy object and she tells them that she is capable. I also got a pretty cool not so standard answer.
Amber uses her training outside of the gym to participate in an event called The Scottish Highland Games. Amber started 2 years ago and trains with a group of participants based out of Vacaville, CA. In the SHG Amber regularly uses movements that she practices in CrossFit including Squat Cleans and other movements. The SHG uses many Strong Man elements.
In addition to the SHG Amber is also a runner. She is very aware that CrossFit enables her to be a faster runner. A really cool story about Amber takes place a few years ago in Scotland. She recalls a time when it seems lots of CrossFit Affiliates were running 3.5 miles as the workout of the day. The classic “Run 5k”. After having completed this workout at home, Amber walks into the affiliate in Scotland and sees this as the WOD again. She thinks to herself, “Is every CrossFit gym in the world doing this?” So the “3-2-1 go” happens and Amber takes off in this foreign country. It’s not long before Amber realizes that she left her phone inside the gym. Amber gets a little panicked and then realizes she has to keep up with the guy ahead of her so she doesn’t get lost in Scotland. She does, and when she crosses the finish line she finds out she has ran at a 7:15 mile pace the entire time. Impressive to say the least.
If you’ve read this far you’re probably wondering what that amazing fact about Amber is, or if it was any of the above because it’s all pretty amazing. Well, I’ll tell you that it’s yet to be disclosed, and unless you know the fact I can guarantee that it is something that you’d have never in a million years guessed.
Amber went to high school in Hawaii. She participated in a high school-college program with the University of Hawaii training dolphins. Towards the end of the program, she learned that they were looking to hire someone for a trainer position. Amber submitted her resume. She was told that the position was actually for someone who was in college, but they were willing to give her a chance because in their words “ they were once young, and someone helped them.”
I was curious, I asked her what did you train them to do? I thought maybe tricks like Marine World or Sea World. No. Amber trained the Dolphins to help in research to better understand their minds. She helped with experiments that sought to understand if Dolphins could determine left from right or if they could understand things with one eye covered. How amazing is that?
How amazing is Amber? From Dolphin Trainer to Powerlifter, to CrossFitter participating in the Scottish Highland Games. All this and one of the kindest human beings you’ll ever meet.
This series aims to teach us more about our people. The person who is sweating next to you has a story. Sometimes one beyond your wildest dreams. May we enrich each other with our collective experience, may we enrich the world with our collective strength.