What's in a Name?

The name “Crossroads Personal Training” might have you assume that I train people near a physical crossroads. In fact, the name has nothing to do with the location of my work. Rather, it was inspired by my interest in the blues and the metaphor that I believe "The Crossroads" has come to represent. But it’s a concept that I think has transparency beyond music.

The idea of “The Crossroads” in the blues is more superstition than reality when taken at face value. According to legend, a struggling young guitarist from the Mississippi Delta region named Robert Johnson met with the devil at a local crossroads in the 1920s and exchanged his soul for eternal blues fame. An unimpressive guitarist at the time of their meeting, Johnson became a talented performer in blues hotbeds around the south before dying at age 27. His work would experience a revival in the decades after he passed, influencing countless other musicians and helping to lay the foundation for what would become rock music.

As his legacy grew over time the supposed transaction between Johnson and the devil at the crossroads took on a life of its own, inspiring songs and stories to the point where the term “crossroads” would become synonymous with the blues itself.  

This tale is almost assuredly a myth. Johnson was indeed a great guitarist and an innovative musician, but it’s doubtful that he had a mystical encounter with the devil. However, I would argue that he did come to a crossroads before his ascension into music lore; just not in the literal sense.

What truly happened was that Johnson decided to change his unremarkable life by focusing on his musicianship and working toward excellence. He concentrated and practiced his craft to a level where he could satisfy his audiences, impress his peers and create something unique. His soul was not traded to the devil. It was given to his passion.

People to this day will theorize and debate about the existence and location of the crossroads where Johnson may have gone. But it doesn’t matter if he physically went there or not. He chose his destiny when he reached a crossroads in his own life.

The crossroads is something that transcends beyond Robert Johnson and the blues. They are everywhere, waiting before us when we must decide to either stay on our current path or change direction.

Everyone who has sought help from me or any other trainer has done so because they wanted to change something about themselves. And although everybody’s paths will be different, the first step in a new direction is taken at the crossroads.

-Bobby Gartrell