It’s been approximately one year.since I joined CrossFit. I can think of no other post than this one I wrote a few months back.
I truly consider CrossFit to the “bastard child” of fitness. Damn, ain’t it great being the “black sheep”!?! Lol
If you want to know what CrossFit is, in strictly technical, “I really have no idea of what it is” terms, then this is not the article for you. You should go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CrossFit or http://www.crossfit.com to find out more. Another option: Google “What is CrossFit?” and voila, instant-presto answer.
This *pause for effect*, is an “80’s baby” homage of sorts; a letter to the smart asses, nerds, geeks, gay-bi-trans, colorful folks and general social outcasts to tell them to rejoice: you have found your way and it’s through “CrossFit”.
A menagerie of unfortunate [at the time] souls, we were the Middle School weirdos because we actually studied, the High School nerds that enjoyed reading, the College upstarts that dared to ask for a change from what had been the status quo in relation to Homecoming court (auto) selections, social injustice and the availability of something better than grilled cheese, hot dogs or Rice Krispie chicken (this was a real meal…) at the campus cafeterias. Seriously. How dare we want a fair voting process, impactful volunteer experiences, and healthy food? We didn’t pick on the weakest kid because it might have been us, or someone we were friends with; we ignored or only briefly flirted with the drug(s) of choice; so not cool according to the wasted bro who can barely stand up, let alone walk. *Eyeroll*.
Essentially we aspired, and continue to aspire, to be more.
In perpetual social exile we were the kids picked last for kickball or double-dutch; the most disheveled at picture day; the most uncomfortable in our older siblings cast-offs. We reviled the well-known “fact” that pink was for girls and blue for boys and preferred summer days watching Sci-fi marathons of “StarGate” and “Star Trek: Next Generation”, riding second-hand bikes while drinking “quarter waters”, fishing in dingy streams at the “secret fort”, reading DC and Marvel comic books until our eyes bled and/or catching “light bugs” in mason jars. We avoided football two-a-days or roving packs of girls that incessantly cruised the local mall in way-too-bright-for-her-face makeup, high heels, butt-skimming skirts and attitudes that reinforced every negative thought possible about “it” teen girls with high, skin-peeling laughter that fervently reminded you of the hyenas in the “Lion King”.
However, in a Box (CrossFit Gym), during a WOD or at a competition, we are the misfits at the top of this particular food chain. If you have an issue with being close to or associated with the sexually liberated, people that represent the rainbow of cultures inherent to our country, strong willed and determined women, and/or the awkward basketcases that walk through CrossFit doors every day, you need not apply to be among the “Fittest on Earth”. Those differences that force insecure people to react so negatively, – deru kugi ha utareru ‘the nail that sticks out gets hammered down’ – are celebrated and embraced wholeheartedly. Nothing brings people together, quite like a 25 minute conditioning WOD or a partner WOD with 4 events, or just laying on the ground, heart racing, sweating and trying to suck in as much air as possible before you (think you might) pass out.
Please. Do keep walking into your globally-located, glass and chrome gym with the latest “Mark 47”, elliptical that only asks you to breathe as it does the work for you; you just need to stand there. Feed your [somewhat] absurd need for a daily lemongrass protein smoothie from a state-of-the-art juice bar at $7 a pop. That armor of familiarity that you jump into is like a warm safety blanket; a fleece snuggie complete with hood and mittens that CrossFit peels off layer by layer. “Fran” ain’t about machines, comfort, warm lavender-scented hand towels expensive training sessions that provide limited results. It’s about you, the WOD (Workout of the Day) and your drive to gut it out; to finish; to not quit; to just keep going no matter how much it might burn. Living on the fringe of acceptable society; looking at it from the outside teaches you how to take a few punches (literal and figurative), to wipe your face and to get back up. To win simply by staying in the fight. We compete with ourselves because, quite simply, we have to beat our own fears, doubts and conformist psyche into oblivion by getting incrementally better. Every. Single. Day.
We embrace our outsider, thick-as-thieves and community driven ethos that is the cultural backbone of CrossFit. We give back to members, kids and causes [Cupid’s Undie Run, Steve’s Club] in ways that we can feel, see, touch; not just writing a check. Crossfitters hang out, enjoy libations and talk in a language that will either intrigue you enough to learn more or scare you. We set and hit goals, in life and in CrossFit. We have weird meaningful comic book-based, sci-fi, and meaningfully tattoos; sleeves and otherwise (very few barb wires here…). We sport full or wacky beards, short-shorts, sparkly pants, shirts with fabled animals, interestingly placed body jewelry and truly embrace living life fully; to go up against ourselves, the elements, and others (during CrossFit Throwdowns or Competitions), and to win at the WOD by mentally compelling ourselves beyond the pain points that our brains keep throwing at us. We check our egos at the door and celebrate individualism together. That concept alone likely boggles a few minds, so let me repeat it: we celebrate individualism, together; physically, mentally and verbally willing a boxmate to keep going.
Odds are slim that you will find much in the way of private, executive-level showers at a CrossFit Box. Really, you’re lucky if there are showers available. With industrial strength soap. I’m just saying. *shrug*
What you will find are the gangly, awkward tall guys that were maligned for being exactly what they were. Tall. Right now his height and determination has him blowing through 1000M rows at about 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Crossfitters celebrate him and his accomplishment and expect him to aim for sub 3 minutes next time.
You’ll meet the former “fat girl” that was tortured for being overweight (read: not a size 4), who can deadlift and/or squat 1.5 times her weight, she’s a size 6 and she feels more confident, and looks a whole lot healthier, stronger and sexier than than that size 4 eating a romaine salad sans chicken, sans dressing, sans…everything. Crossfitters commemorate her accomplishments and can’t wait to see her hit 2X her weight and enjoy some grass fed beef burgers with center-cut bacon.
You’ll hear the about the African-American woman that is told by a parent, a friend, and/or a significant other [reality check: all of the above] that muscles aren’t attractive in her culture; that she’ll get “bulky” and look like a man if she does CrossFit. That woman realized that they attempted to cage her and define her attractiveness, her appeal, without her permission or input. Crossfitters remember every push up, pull-up and over head squat that she completes and tell her that to go live with her gun show, because if “sun’s out, guns are out”.
Cops, firemen, military, moms, dads, granddads, farmers, urban dwellers, emo’s, teachers, the home-schooled and the public raised; jocks that want to test their resolve with a chick named “Fran”; guys that never gave the smaller guy a hard time or reformed bullies that learned, through age and experience, to consider other people; people with Master’s Degrees, MD’s, PhD’s and every other level of degree. The reality is that we could give a George Clinton, in House Party, “Two tears in a bucket. Fuck it….” about all of those titles or “convenient definitions” that were so sarcastically & subtly celebrated in the “Breakfast Club”. Definitions that continue to resonate so well that I clearly used them, and other variations, in this post.
Through CrossFit you see us. You see what we’ve become regardless of the social strata that we had to, and often continue, to live with. You see us how WE want you to see us: as more just our less-than awesome years. Crossfitters are the Outsiders all grown up, with awesome bodies, determined minds and a will to try that most can’t even comprehend. We hold a hand out to help the person behind us and help them up after a body grinding WOD. Crossfitters take responsibility for their actions- the simple process of putting our own weights back; of not having the expectation that someone will clean up after us, says a lot. We don’t cheat reps (even when we absolutely, positively want to or consider it) because we understand that we are just cheating ourselves. We high-five each other in the absolute most dorkiest of ways. We yell encouragement in the highest, most squeakiest of voices. #LoveIt
Crossfit wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for some most giving people: our coaches. They are entrepreneurs that risked their futures, financial, social, etc., to do something different, to separate from the crowd and effect change in others. Rebels in the health and fitness industry that saw fireworks go off in their heads and hearts when they stepped in a square room with black floors, bumper plates and a board with a WOD on it.
We former loners are Olympic Lifters, Runners, Rowers, Gymnasts, Swimmers, and more – all around athletes and teammates that accomplish more in one hour than most do in a week at a regular gym. Our successes translate to confidence in unfamiliar situations, drive and determination to do something different, a constant feeling of sexy (yeah, I said it. We actually feel good about bodies) and we apply all that to our careers, lives, families, kids, marriages and/or partnerships.
We take pride in rebelling against expectations that seem so out of touch with what we feel…what we know we are meant to do. CrossFit is the rebellious teenager, that bastard child that understands that it will never truly be accepted in the mainstream fitness industry, even in spite of the backing of major shoe company endorsement and all (although, methinks that they http://games.crossfit.com/ know that).
That’s okay. We Crossfitters keep plugging away; pushing, chipping, taking chances, seeing opportunities to use CrossFit for our next chapter. We celebrate differences while coming together.We are more than people think possible.
We are CrossFit.
Cue the #RebelYell
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