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All or Nothing

story by Cassaundra Jackson

Stepping into CrossFit Dig Deep can be intimidating. Rings hang from the ceiling, weights are stacked in the corner, the equipment is bigger than the people in the gym and a giant, muscular clown adorns the wall. And then there is the gym's owner, Michael Wray, who member Missy Faughn describes as "Mighty Mouse: big man, small package." "There's an aura about him...bad-ass, military man, cop, renegade kind of guy," Missy says. "He makes you strive to do the best you can do, or he'll yell at you — in a good way." Mike, also a McCracken County deputy sheriff and a SWAT team leader, pours his heart and soul into the success of the members of his gym. He pushes them to push themselves to the next level. The gym "is what it is because of him and all the hard work that he's put into it," says JoAnna Harper, a coach at CrossFit Dig Deep. "Everybody respects him so much." "He's kind of intimidating to a degree," Missy says. "But then you get to know him a little bit, and you realize he's kind of a soft teddy bear deep down." The soft, vulnerable side of Mike shines through when he's with his 1-year-old daughter Kylee. His wife of four years, Sammy, speaks affectionately about Mike's "Mini-Me," who is such a daddy's girl. When Mike comes home, Kylee runs into his arms, lighting up in admiration of her father. "When you can come home and Kylee looks up, and she’s got her grin ear-to-ear, and she comes running up, and shortly standing behind her is Sammy, it’s probably the most rewarding thing I get on a day-to-day basis," Mike says. "For that little bit of time, everything else goes away, and you don’t have a lot of problems.” Kylee is constantly drawn to where her father is, even if he's trying to take a few quick minutes to change out of his uniform when he gets home. A month before Kylee was born, Mike and Sammy bought the gym. With a baby on the way, Mike knew that the success of the gym was now more important than ever. "Everyone has that time in their life where they’re like ‘I cannot fail,’" Mike says. "That was mine."

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Mike (center) coaches an hour-long workout session at CrossFit Dig Deep. Mike places a high value on the success of his members, whom he views as his children. Mike has owned the gym for a year and has created an environment that keeps his members coming back.

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Mike works out after coaching a session. The gym "is what it is because of him and all the hard work that he's put into it," says JoAnna Harper, a coach at CrossFit Dig Deep. "Everybody respects him so much."

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Kylee comes to the gym with her mother when Sammy does her workout. Mike embraces both roles of dad and coach.

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Mike, a veteran, owns and operates his own CrossFit gym in Paducah, Kentucky.

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Mike says goodnight to Kylee. His wife, Sammy, says Kylee speaks to her daddy "in her own little language."

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Mike plays with Kylee after coming home from work. "When you can come home and Kylee looks up, and she's got her grin ear-to-ear, and she comes running up...it's probably the most rewarding thing I get on a day-to-day basis," he says. "For that little bit of time, everything else goes away, and you don't have a lot of problems."

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Kylee is a daddy's girl and Mike says his time with her is one of those moments "you try to hang on to."

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Mike and Kylee check out a fall harvest party held by Sammy's work. Kylee scurried around the farm, followed by her doting father all night.

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Mike and Sammy wait to catch Kylee as she slides down from a bouncy house at the fall festival party.

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Mike comforts Kylee after she becomes fussy at the fall harvest party.

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Mike plays with Kylee while she sits on her mother Sammy's lap at the fall harvest party.