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To Dance With His Daughter by Steven Ritza - CrossFit Journal

To Dance With His Daughter

By Steven Ritza

In Coaching, CrossFit, HD Videos, Medical/Injuries

December 25, 2012

Video Article

For Steven Ritza, CrossFit isn’t about Fran times and deadlift PRs.

Ritza, 61, was active in a host of sports until he had a stroke about four and a half years ago. Suddenly, his lifestyle changed and it became a task just to get out of bed. Ritza has been training with Tyler Belanger at CrossFit Catalyst in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. For about a year, and he’s been working hard to regain capacity and improve his life.

The challenges are more than just physical. An engineer by trade, Ritza now struggles with words and numbers, and he admits it can be very depressing. Stroke recovery, he explains, takes you right back to grade-school activities.

“It drives you nuts because you know that your capacity for doing this stuff is way beyond that, but you’re stuck where you are,” he says.

With CrossFit, Ritza has regained his sense of balance and now has the confidence to pick things up, but his main goal was walking his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.

“You’ve got to look at those things and say, ‘Well, is the effort worth it?’ And it is worth it,” he says.

Ritza has another daughter, and he plans to walk her down the aisle, too.

Video by RabbitView.

10min 31sec

HD file size: 282 MB
SD wmv file size: 126 MB
SD mov file size: 144 MB

Please note: These files are larger than normal Journal videos. For smoother viewing, please download the entire file to your hard drive before watching it (right-click and choose Save Link As...).

Additional reading: CrossFit Is for Everyone by Lynne Knapman, published March 16, 2012.

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12 Comments on “To Dance With His Daughter”


wrote …

What an inspiration! Steven, keep doing what you are doing and know the entire crossfit community is behind you!

-Corey Lunney


wrote …

Awesome work. Great athlete, great trainer. Your beautiful daughter's smile says it all. Great reason to dig deep!


wrote …

Steven Ritza, you are a wonderful example of all that's best about Crossfit and Crossfitters.

Tyler Belanger, you are a saint and one helluva coach.

God bless you both.


wrote …

Steven, I thank God for your determination and perseverance. You are an encouragement to all of us in the wonderful CrossFit family. I'm a crusty old man and I got teary-eyed watching you dance with your daughter.

Tyler, your patience and gentleness combined with your toughness pushes people beyond what they believe they are capable of.

Keep up the great work in 2013, we will be looking for a sequel this time next year.


wrote …

Steven, thank you for sharing your story. You gave me a gift of insight into my mother's thoughts.

After 20 years of dialysis and countless operations, she shared her wish to dance with me on my wedding day. In 3 months she went from the hospital bed, to a wheelchair, to a walker, a cane and finally the dance floor. The room filled with tears and applause.

She taught me and you have reminded us all, the power of goal setting. Angels come in many forms, including coaches. Thank you again and I wish you all the best.


wrote …

I hope CrossFit Inc. sends this man Steven Ritza a pair of 2013 CrossFit Games Tickets with a back stage pass to meet everyone :)

Awesome story. Even more awesome of a guy!

Keep up the kick ass work Steven!


wrote …

I love the stories coming out of CrossFit Catalyst. Tyler, you are doing wonderful things: your patience and understanding are so admirable. You continue to demonstrate that CrossFit is for everyone.

Steven you are an inspiration! As a daughter, I can only imagine how much your determination means to your "little" girls, and their little ones too. Thank you for sharing your story :)


Michael Saveth wrote …

Incredible video! SUCH an inspiration. Not letting anything stop you. EFFORT like you said. Thank you for posting!

Crossfit Bellator


wrote …

Well. Now I just got all choked up at work......

Keep up the awesome work and dedication.

Thanks for such a good video.



wrote …

Keep training hard Steve!


wrote …

Thanks all. Again, this is the product of our Ignite program, which uses CrossFit to deliver cognitive rehab and other therapies. - if there's something on there that will help YOUR clients, take it and use it. Please.


wrote …

Really puts things into perspective.


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