#1007 – Pamela Gagnon | Mayhem Gymnastics

Pamela Gagnon (00:00):

Connect my Bluetooth. So just give me one sec. Yeah,

Sevan Matossian (00:05):

The old connect, the Bluetooth.

Pamela Gagnon (00:08):

It should. Okay. Let’s try. All right, hold on.

Sevan Matossian (00:21):

Good morning. All good. Morning, Ernie. Robbie Rambler. Steven. Hailey. Good morning everyone. Good morning, Pamela. Of course.

Pamela Gagnon (00:27):

Good morning.

Sevan Matossian (00:28):

And of course we’re still being throttle. I’m trying to my boots. Yeah, take your time.

Pamela Gagnon (00:34):

Alright, we’re having technical difficulty.

Sevan Matossian (00:37):

Can you

Pamela Gagnon (00:37):

Hear me without,

Sevan Matossian (00:39):

I can. Do you want to log out and then connect it and log back in? You’re welcome to do that too.

Pamela Gagnon (00:45):

Let’s see. Let me just see if it picks it back up. Okay. Hold on,

Sevan Matossian (00:49):

Man. Guys, we are being throttled so hard. This is wild. I have never seen it at 20, not even on day one of the podcast. Crazy.

Pamela Gagnon (01:01):

We got it crazy,

Sevan Matossian (01:02):

Crazy, crazy. No, it’s still your phone. Oh, you do hear it in your ears.

Pamela Gagnon (01:07):

Yeah. Can you hear me?

Sevan Matossian (01:09):

Oh yeah. Yeah. Now your audio is better. Good job. Look at you technically.

Pamela Gagnon (01:12):

I mean, at 49 I still got a little tech in me.

Sevan Matossian (01:18):

Pamela, you have kids, right?

Pamela Gagnon (01:20):

I do.

Sevan Matossian (01:22):

How old are you? They are,

Pamela Gagnon (01:24):

I got one that’s 19 and one that’s 21. Both in college. They just started their sophomore year and junior year at school.

Sevan Matossian (01:33):

You have a worst injury of the kids who had the worst injury ever.

Pamela Gagnon (01:41):

You know how kids are? Well, they’re part of your D n A, so they’re very part of you. And I’m a very mild tempered person. And I had boys like that as well too. So they were not crazy rowdy. They were lovers, not fighters I guess is how I describe ’em. But with that being said, I was traveling. I worked for a CrossFit gymnastics headquarters and I was traveling on a seminar and we have this little basketball hoop in the playroom when they were little and they’re not aggressive kids, but they were having fun and one of them went to go dunk and their dad was with them. I was away and he hit the corner of the wall that jets out and just blood gushing down, gushing. And he needed four staples in his head. What’s so crazy? I don’t even remember which kid it was.


Understand. I used to my mom. I understand. I used to yell my mom when my kids were little. I was like, oh, did I do that? She’s like, I don’t remember. How would I remember? I’m like, how do you not remember? And now 20 years later, I’m like, I don’t know which kid it was. I think it was my younger one. So I was away for the whole trauma, which is a good thing. I don’t do well as a mom seeing blood gushing out of my boy’s head. So their dad was really good, very calm about it. He was a wrestler in college and he was a little more rough. And Tumblr, that type of guy.

Sevan Matossian (03:14):

Yeah, just stitches. Did he have stitches?

Pamela Gagnon (03:17):

Four staples. Staples. Staples.

Sevan Matossian (03:20):

Right, right. I’ve had some

Pamela Gagnon (03:21):

Of those nasty, right? Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (03:24):

Hey, we’re getting a little bit of hiss from your earpieces. I wonder if it’s better if we don’t use them. How was it for you without em? How was it for you without, oh, it

Pamela Gagnon (03:35):

Was great. It

Sevan Matossian (03:36):

Was fine. Let’s try without them.

Pamela Gagnon (03:38):


Sevan Matossian (03:40):

Thank you. I think they were rubbing on something, but there’s a little bit of a hiss like glassy echo.

Pamela Gagnon (03:46):

I gotcha. All right, we good?

Sevan Matossian (03:48):

Yeah, I think that’s better. I think that’s better. Maybe the sound isn’t as good, but we don’t have that little bit of his there. There’s some sort of rubbing. Last night I had yesterday morning at the skate park. I think we now have officially our worst accident. My boy broke his shin.

Pamela Gagnon (04:05):

Oh. Oh, I’m so sorry.

Sevan Matossian (04:08):

And so my wife didn’t sleep last night. First she took, we didn’t take him to the hospital until late at night till eight o’clock. It was like, okay, something’s really wrong. So he sat with it for 10 or 12 hours, but every 30 minutes he screams in agony. I know. I feel so bad for him.

Pamela Gagnon (04:26):

Oh, he’s so good. I’ve been watching him learn so cool. My kids were not daredevils like that. You got to just go for it. And my boys overthought things like probably like their mother a little.

Sevan Matossian (04:40):

Yeah. I feel like relative to the other kids at the skate park, my kids are really cautious. But man,

Pamela Gagnon (04:51):

That’s a tough injury.

Sevan Matossian (04:55):

Thank God I was right there. Yeah, thank God I was right there. I was able to just go down into the bowl, pick him up, carry him out, put him in the car. But I saw he was shaking in the car and I’m like, oh, is he going into shock? And then I got him home and he hasn’t been the same since, but we took him to the hospital yesterday, of course. They’re like, Hey, do you want to give him some narcotics? My wife’s like, no poor kid. He got parents who don’t believe in that shit. I feel sorry for him.

Pamela Gagnon (05:24):

That’s rub. My grandmother, when my kids were teething, she’s like Along whatever, bourbon on your finger. Rub it on the gums, it’ll be good. We’re all good. We

Sevan Matossian (05:36):

Got it. He’d probably rather have that. He got the parents instead of getting Oxycontin. He’s probably getting essential oils on his neck. My youngest boy, Robbie, thanks for asking. It’s Ari. And another thing that’s kind of hard but I don’t really care about is that he has a jiujitsu tournament this weekend and he’s been on a terror. His last two tournaments, he’s dominated. He was probably going to dominate this one, but whatever. I just feel he screamed all night. Every 30 minutes he screamed. And my other kids, what’s interesting is my other kids were grinding their teeth last night in their sleep. I have put them in my bed with me and I am sure it’s because their brother was, they were crying when they saw their brother got hurt.

Pamela Gagnon (06:18):

So back to my story of my youngest with the blood, and it was my youngest now who got the staples. My oldest literally was hyperventilating because he was so nervous about his brother and he sat with him all night too. And I was like, damn, that’s awesome. Love right there. I feel like that’s just innate in your nature of care and concern. And I’m like, I love that trait about my boys very, they feel, and I love that. I think that’s really cool.

Sevan Matossian (06:52):

Yeah, they don’t want to leave aside, they jumped up this morning and ran to his bedroom. He slept in his bedroom last night with my wife and they jumped up an hour earlier than they normally wake up and just ran in there. They wanted to make, yeah, it’s crazy. I

Pamela Gagnon (07:05):

Love that. I love that. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (07:08):

What do you think about, I was watching a couple of your podcasts yesterday and you were talking about parents who hover and I got crazy defensive. I’m such a hovering parent. It’s an interesting boy. It’s an interesting place to be. How I know I’m hovering is I’m the only parent who’s at all the events and I have coaches say, Hey, you need to drop your kids off and leave. And I’m like, no. You know what I mean? So I sit there, I sit there with my kids. Do you describe what you mean by hovering and then lemme see if I can wiggle around it.

Pamela Gagnon (07:53):

Okay. Alright. So

Sevan Matossian (07:54):

This is what, and don’t worry about hurting my feelings at all. Yeah, no, no, no. A friend of mine told me that e s pn shooting a pilot show called Helicopter Dad and that he’s nominated me. I said, I’m game. He’s all people are going to hate you. I’m like, it’s fine.

Pamela Gagnon (08:06):

You got to be who you’re who you

Sevan Matossian (08:08):

Are. Yeah, I’m good with it. I’m good with it. Yeah.

Pamela Gagnon (08:10):

Okay, so I’m going to go back to my childhood and my experience as a gymnast.


My parents never once said, you should work harder at practice or sat at my practice. And when we got in the car, I was like, well, why’d you do it that way? I saw Shannon do it this way, or they let me drive my train. And I never felt like I was going to disappoint them if I was like, Hey, this sport isn’t for me. Or if I was just tired and I was like, I don’t have it in me to stay at practice all day. I’ve had a really rough day. Now this works for kids, probably more like me, who are driven in their own innate nature. So what I mean by hovering is I had friends whose parents would, after the gymnastics meet, be like they’d inquire in a more, I felt demeaning way of like, well, I don’t understand why you didn’t get a 9.75. What’d you do wrong? Instead of just being like, Hey, it was so fun watching you. Did you enjoy the experience? And for me, life is about experiences, not the outcome of my podium win.

Sevan Matossian (09:41):

Was it always like that? Was it always like that?

Pamela Gagnon (09:45):

Yes. And I think that due to my hard work and my attitude of, no, I want to figure out how to get this skill, maybe that’s why I coach the way I do little details inside the skill because it brought me to a final destination without even knowing I was going to get there. It was me more like my mind is really interested in how to break things down more than the final product of the skill. So can you hear me?

Sevan Matossian (10:20):

I can totally hear you. I’m just changing your name to put your Instagram on there. That’s why I’m moving around.

Pamela Gagnon (10:26):

Okay. So if people were to ask, was I a hovering parent? I would not say I was a hovering parent. I would say I was a little bit overprotective or a nervous parent of my kids running through the neighborhood without me knowing where they were. I was like, oh, don’t go up to the white van. Don’t fall for the puppy.

Sevan Matossian (10:51):

You didn’t want to impress your parents. I still want to impress my parents. You weren’t seeking approval from your parents. I mean obviously it’s much different now, but I’m really into fruit trees. I’m really into plants. And my parents were really into plants. So when I have a tree that’s bearing good fruit, I’m excited to show my parents like, Hey look, you taught me this and you taught me to appreciate this and look what I’ve done. I followed in your steps. I’m kind of excited for that. You don’t have that?

Pamela Gagnon (11:22):

I do. And I think that my parents though, they let me again make my own path and they continually, were not smoke up my ass, but positively. I love that. This is your passion. How can I support you in this? My mom?

Sevan Matossian (11:45):

Oh, I love it. Okay.

Pamela Gagnon (11:47):

I grew up in Boston and my mom drove 30 minutes each way to drive me to practice in the dark, cold Boston winters. And my dad would miss his golf tournament to come to my gymnastics meet in Maryland and how can I support you? And that to me was them saying, I’m proud of what you’re doing. I had very, very supportive parents. I had a really just honestly beautiful childhood. I very much feel very lucky. My dad was a very soft emotional man that I could come to. I never felt that I was going to get yelled at, meaning I felt like it was more like, okay, we fucked up. How are we going to fix this or make it better? And my mom was extremely organized and driven and I got that from her too. So yes, I did love to please them, but I feel like them allowing me to drive my own train and them supporting me felt like they were proud of me.

Sevan Matossian (13:01):

How did you meet your husband?

Pamela Gagnon (13:04):

So we are divorced for two years and we were married 21 years. We’re still good friends, just kind of went different directions. But we met clubbing at the Jersey shore.

Sevan Matossian (13:17):

No shit. Wow.

Pamela Gagnon (13:19):

Yeah, yeah.

Sevan Matossian (13:19):

Is he like your dad?

Pamela Gagnon (13:25):

Yes and no. I think that’s more of a therapy session.

Sevan Matossian (13:32):

I say that because you described how your sons behaved and you described your dad in a certain way. And I’m wondering is it like that

Pamela Gagnon (13:41):

If the kid’s dads

Sevan Matossian (13:42):

Was like, you keep searching for the same. Yeah. Your son seemed like what? My mom wanted to raise me. My mom wanted to raise me as a gentleman, not a pushover or a weak man, but I dunno what the word is, but I like the way you described your sons and then in the way you sort of described your dad. And then I was just wondering, did you continue that? How do you find a man like that? Did you find a man like that?

Pamela Gagnon (14:13):

Yeah. So the people I think in my life are very open and vulnerable and allow emotion to come into their world. So yes, in that way, very much. And I continue that. I am a very open vulnerable. I feel like I want to know the depth of my friend deep in their soul. That is very important to me. And I have a very small circle. And I think that’s why, because I really like the depth of a soul more than just like, Hey, let’s go grab a drink. That’s not me. I want to sit and have deep conversations about real tough stuff or interesting stuff.

Sevan Matossian (14:56):

Were you always like that? Or did you have something switch?

Pamela Gagnon (15:00):

No, I think I was always like that. I was a very, I’m an introverted extrovert, so if you were to see me at the CrossFit games talking to people, you’d be like, oh, she’s so extroverted and outgoing. But I left at four o’clock every day and I just was like, shut the world off. So I like alone time, but I also love people, but instead of it fueling me, it drains me. Does that make sense? Yeah. So that’s why being with one person in a deep conversation, I don’t like crowds. The games overwhelms me. I feel like I’m floating around and untethered and everybody else is tethered. Does that make sense?

Sevan Matossian (15:44):

Yes. Yes. What month are you born?

Pamela Gagnon (15:49):

June. June 25th of my birthday. What do you think?

Sevan Matossian (15:52):

I don’t know. I don’t know that stuff. Me neither. But I always wonder, I look for connections or correlations like that. I really, really, really love people and enjoy people. I really like being alone. I really don’t want to be, I’m really comfortable just outside walking by myself, just chilling.

Pamela Gagnon (16:16):

Were you like that as a kid too?

Sevan Matossian (16:19):

Yeah. My mom always said it didn’t even matter. You could give me a bag of rubber bands and I would play with them for hours I didn’t need. But I like people, but I’m not really interested in, I’m very content being by myself, just my wife or my kids or just even by myself. I don’t get as much alone time as probably I need, but my kids are such good mirrors of me that it’s kind of like I’m alone.

Pamela Gagnon (16:48):

Yeah. Isn’t that cool? I love how that works. My kids and I, we get each other because we are a lot alike in many, many ways and we have a lot of things we like to do together. We all play guitar. We love two

Sevan Matossian (17:01):

Years. You got two years of guitar now, huh? Good job. I do. Yeah. Good job.

Pamela Gagnon (17:06):

I love it. Oh, love You weren’t

Sevan Matossian (17:10):

Scared. You weren’t scared. You sucked at music. And then you picked up a guitar at 47

Pamela Gagnon (17:16):


Sevan Matossian (17:16):

I get time for that.

Pamela Gagnon (17:18):

So it was,

Sevan Matossian (17:19):

Oh, you got rid of your husband and picked up a guitar. Holy shit. Kind of, right?

Pamela Gagnon (17:25):

I mean, you tend to try to fill your space with other things, right? No. Yeah. So it was during Covid, I was going batshit crazy. I don’t sit well. And that was the toughest year of my life. Or not toughest, but that was a tough year of my life and my boy.

Sevan Matossian (17:45):

Aren’t you in Cookville? Did Mayhem do You’re not in Cookville?

Pamela Gagnon (17:50):

I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sevan Matossian (17:51):

Oh, okay. You should have gone to Cookville. I don’t think they did Covid there.

Pamela Gagnon (17:56):

I know you’re right. I have to say my gym opened up fairly quickly, but I still didn’t know anything about Covid. And my dad is older, he lives here. I feel very differently now about it than I did then. And I

Sevan Matossian (18:14):

Think you were freaked out a little bit in the beginning.

Pamela Gagnon (18:17):

Yeah, I just think education is key and also not opinionated. Education. I don’t have cable news. I actually don’t have cable. I don’t listen. I like science, like facts. So anyway, so was I terrified? Yes. My children. So music is fuel to my soul. I have music on, it’s either, I rarely have TV on, meaning Netflix or something. It’s music probably 90% of the day. And I was so jealous of watching my boys just play for me. And I was like, gosh, I need to learn this. And my last experience with learning an instrument was fourth grade the violin. And this is what happened. This is the best story ever. So I’m practicing upstairs and my mom’s friends are over, and my mom, she passed away six years ago of brain cancer, but I hear her voice saying this and telling the story and she goes, Ellie was over.


And we were sitting in the kitchen and Ellie goes, what the hell is that noise? And she goes, oh gosh, that’s my daughter practicing violin. That’s how bad I was at music. No ear for it, none. So that was my last experience. So I said to my boys, I’m like, there’s no way I’m going to be able to play the guitar. I have not one musical bone in my body. And they’re like, Nope, you’re going to do it. And so I went, bought a guitar, beginner guitar, and my boys sat there with me while my fingers bled no calluses. And they’re like, practice the D-ring for 10 minutes. They’d set a timer. And I’m like, all right. And then they’re like, okay, now I want you to go ad, ad ad. And three months they sat there just patiently working with me. And I actually teared up a few times. I was like, it’s not worth it. I’m not going to do it. And my youngest son, Leo goes, mom, I was there. You’re going to get over the hump. Come on, you got this. And literally they were my cheerleaders, and then it clicked and I was like, oh my gosh, I can do ad. And then they’re like, all right, we’re going to introduce E to you. And finally, each increment, I felt like I

Sevan Matossian (20:50):

You own your own guitar. Did you own your own guitar?

Pamela Gagnon (20:53):

Yep. Yep. And so I think my children, and they were, I don’t know, 17 and 19 at the time, I think that they were the catalyst to me not giving up because they were like, no, no, no, we sucked too. It was terrible. And I was like, I don’t remember that. I just remember you now. So I got over that hump and then about maybe six months into it, I needed lessons and they went off to college and all that, our school. And then I started taking lessons from this amazing guitar teacher, Dave. And again, it’s not just a lesson, it’s like we’ve gotten to know each other on a really great personal level and it’s the brightest part of my week, going to take lessons with Dave.

Sevan Matossian (21:47):

That doesn’t annoy you. That doesn’t annoy you. He starts talking about stuff that’s not music related, or you start talking to him and you’re like, no, no, we’re here to work quiet.

Pamela Gagnon (21:55):

No, because I think it makes our music go good together. Even better.

Sevan Matossian (21:59):

Alright, alright. Sometimes my kids and their instructors will start talking and 20 minutes will pass. They’ll be like, yo, listen, I’m paying you a hundred bucks to chop my kid up.

Pamela Gagnon (22:12):

I do get that with my kids when they were little basketball practice, but I was like, why are they not doing anything? I don’t understand what’s going on. So yes, I get that from that perspective for sure. But I love guitar. I’m not good at it and I’m okay. It took me a long time to be okay, not being good at something I work really hard at, but I’m getting better.

Sevan Matossian (22:37):

Can you pronounce your last name for me?

Pamela Gagnon (22:39):

Yeah, it’s Gagnon

Sevan Matossian (22:41):

Gagnon, formerly known as in some circles, still known as Pammy, not Pam. A lot of people say Pamela, but the true way would be to say it’s sort of like your Latin, you prefer the Latin pronunciation, which you don’t get enough of. Pamela. Pamela.

Pamela Gagnon (23:00):

Pamela. When I go

Sevan Matossian (23:02):

Pamela Pamela,

Pamela Gagnon (23:04):

I have a few friends who,

Sevan Matossian (23:06):


Pamela Gagnon (23:07):

Are Colombian or speak Spanish and Pamela. It’s like about

Sevan Matossian (23:14):

Pamela. How’s my shoulder position? Pamela. Pamela. For those of you who don’t know her as a mom, guitar player and a dweller in the Carolinas, she’s also three times a games athlete. I know her from Instagram. I’ve been talking about her for years. This is a crazy, crazy cool Instagram account. I don’t think I say that very often about people’s Instagram accounts. She is the gymnastics expert over with mayhem. Is that fair to say? She works with CrossFit mayhem. I don’t think like many of us who are around, I don’t think she expected her life to be like this. There was no such thing as CrossFit when she was growing up and now she probably has fallen into some sort of dream world where she gets to move her body around and hang out with really cool people who want to move their bodies around.


I’m telling you, this Instagram account is crazy. You have to get lost on this. You have to make this your favorites. This is the one for those of you who don’t know how to subscribe and get all notifications, this is that kind of account. You want to see Pamela and you want to spend 30 seconds watching these videos every day because you will just learn from watching them and hear her talk. You’ll start, you’ll be all the pieces are there. You’re going to be inspired. You’re going to be, you’re going to learn, but you’re also going to have some sort of experience where you see something she does and you’re just going to learn it just from watching. You’re an incredible teacher man. And thank you for your gift. Yeah, yeah. You’re providing crazy stuff.

Pamela Gagnon (24:56):

Thank you. That means a lot. That means a lot.

Sevan Matossian (24:59):

Sorry, real quick here, Heidi. I was thinking that too. Private lessons with Dave. A little guitar and that’s totally what I was thinking. I’m just saying

Pamela Gagnon (25:09):

I love it. I love it. Well, thank you. That means a lot. I was a fourth and sixth grade teacher as well. Oh

Sevan Matossian (25:17):


Pamela Gagnon (25:18):

That’s when I graduated. Rutgers University. Went to grad school at Penn for my master’s in education and taught for five years before. Really? My kids were really young when I stopped teaching, but I think my mom was a teacher and my sister was a teacher. I think that we just have that in our genes and my favorite.

Sevan Matossian (25:40):

And you’re still a teacher and you’re still a teacher.

Pamela Gagnon (25:43):

I know. I love that. I think my favorite students are the ones who come to me that I have a story. When I taught fourth grade, we sit down at the end of the year with the third grade teachers and we divvy up the kids and they’re like, oh, you got Ryan, good luck with that one. And I’m like, what do you mean? He’s like, oh, he’s such a troublemaker. And I’m like, he was my favorite student that next year, Ryan just needed somebody to just understand what made him tick. And he was really into Pokemon. This is a true story. And so everything we did writing math, it was related to his Pokemon. I was like, tell me more. Who’s your favorite character? What do they do? And kids who are troublemakers just need to be loved a little bit differently. You

Sevan Matossian (26:35):

Sound like my wife. You sound like my wife.

Pamela Gagnon (26:38):

And it was like, gosh, he’s just struggling. He has trouble learning and he’s just brushed to the side. And he was my favorite student. And same here, I have 10 private lessons that come to my garage. Athletes that some are games athletes and most are just wanting to age stronger. And I have an athlete who lost 70 pounds and she came to me and said, I just want to learn a strict pullup like one, I just want to be able to do one in my life.

Sevan Matossian (27:10):

Great goal, great goal, great goal, great goal. Fuck, it’s so good to do one pull up. I love it. My mom got to pull up in 70 or some shit.

Pamela Gagnon (27:21):


Sevan Matossian (27:21):

Way. Yeah. Crazy, crazy. Love that. Crazy great goal. Change your whole life. Change your whole life.

Pamela Gagnon (27:27):

And it’s not more about the pull up, it’s about the journey to it. Believing that she’s like, no way I’m going to ever get a pull up. I’m like, no, no, we’re going to work every step of the way. And she’s halfway there and now she can pull, hang and bend just a quarter of the way. And she was mind blown that she’s even made that progress. And so it’s more like, how can we relate this? And that’s how I teach my drills. It’s not about the handstand, it’s about if I apply small steps to anything I want to do in life, then it’s doable and it’s not overwhelming. And that’s how I approach all my drills too.

Sevan Matossian (28:12):

There’s, I’m going to take this a little bit of a different direction here. Bear with me here. There’s this book called Siddhartha. It was written by a guy named Herman Hessa. And it’s the story of, you could say it’s the story of the Buddha. And one of the things Hessa says, the character in there, Siddhartha says is he says, I can breathe and I can fast and breathing. We know what breathing and meditation is. Just awareness. Just being aware, whether it’s being aware of your thoughts or being aware of the outside, but it’s not on autopilot. It’s basically being still right the way that the bug stays still. And then of course fasting is watching your need for consumption of food and realizing maybe you don’t need food, just watch it. When I was a kid, I’m going back to the parenting thing. When I was a kid, almost my entire identity was fabricated, meaning I was given the name Sevan, I was told I was Armenian. My parents, I was the kid who always had money in his pocket and could buy video games for the other kids. It was all just superficial or made up shit.


And I don’t say that in a derogatory way, but I didn’t earn anything. That was my identity. I didn’t really earn anything. And then when I was 20 and I was on ecstasy in my backyard one time in college, I had a friend who was way into bodybuilding. He was on steroids and always on meth and just crazy wound up dude. And he was doing a pull up, we’re in the backyard high on drugs. And I’m like, oh, I’ve always wanted to do a pull-up. And he said, it’s not a a misnomer, it’s a contraction of the back. I’m like the contraction of the back. And he goes, go ahead and hang from that branch. And I was probably 20 pounds lighter than I normally was. I was high on so many drugs for a month and.

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