I saw this post in the Tabata Times and thought it was worth a share. Give it a read and let share what it means to you to be a part of a CrossFit community? What does it mean to be a part of the UB community specifically?
Ask any CrossFitter why they continue to do CrossFit, and somewhere in their response you will hear the word “community.” As a whole, we use this word a lot. We love our CrossFit community, from our personal box to all CrossFitters all over the world. We are our own special breed, aren’t we? There are those who live in the community. Surrounded by all the glory and love that comes with it are those athletes who love every aspect of the CrossFit community. Then there are those on the outside. The haters. The ones who just don’t get it. So, we have to ask ourselves, what is the community? When we say this, what do we mean? How can we translate this into something those haters can understand?
A Common Understanding
In what gym are you going to find the level of support you find in a CrossFit box? Whether it is a newcomer to the gym or a veteran, maybe even a rival, we dig deep and pat everyone on the back. You see, we get it. No matter how heavy or light your load is during a WOD, we get it. No matter how fast or slow your time is, we get it. We all just suffered through the same grueling WOD. We did the same amount of pull ups or squats or snatches. We all felt the same burning in our lungs, or legs, or arms. Some may have done it faster, or better, or heavier, but we all did it, and we know what it is like and what you felt. You can’t go through that kind of pain and not feel a mutual respect for each other. I’m going to pat you on the back and give you a “good job today” no matter your time or your load, because I saw your pain, just like you saw mine. I saw your determination and that moment you thought about quitting or taking weight off, and you saw mine. We suffered together. We get it.
Honoring the Sport
This is also very much a sport of honor and honesty. You count your own reps, and you judge your own movements. It’s all on you. We are a community because we can trust one another. I watched you hit the bottom of your squat every rep, while I was taking a chalk break or a water break. I watched you count your reps, and throw in an extra, just to be sure. You watched me do the same. Of course, there are the athletes in your gym, and mine, who do not follow this same level of integrity. It’s frustrating to watch them complete box jumps while never standing up at the top, or do handstand push ups while not actually touching a target at the bottom — and then calling it RX. It’s infuriating.
What we see, though, is that most of the athletes in that gym are there for the right reasons. Not to post a quick time on the whiteboard, but to do the work with full range of motion so they can look their fellow athletes — as well as themselves — in the eye.
We will lie on the floor, high five (when our arms work again) and support each other, because we know we did everything we could. Not for the glory of the whiteboard, but for the honor of the sport.
It is very likely that CrossFit is not your first stab at fitness. You have probably purchased a Tae-bo video or P-90X. Possibly you ran for miles around your town. It’s even more of a possibility that you were a member at a local gym. Typically, if you are working out with videos at home there is very little judgement (except from the dog, which sometimes can suck). The other two previous methods can be riddled with judgement. Whether from your neighbors who counted your laps as you ran by or from fellow gym rats who critiqued your every movement. These actions are pretty commonplace. So it’s not uncommon to see an athlete who is new to CrossFit set themselves up in the back and mention to those around them that they are new. You learn pretty quickly in the box that no one is judging you. We are all too concerned about keeping ourselves alive to worry about what you are doing and how you are doing it. We’ve all been new. No matter what background you came from, everyone who starts CrossFit is a little lost. Your fellow athletes will not judge you because you are new. We will not judge your time or the load on your barbell. We will not judge your double under technique or your pull ups. We may offer advice (that’s part of the support I mentioned previously), but there is never judgement. We all start somewhere, and we all have good and bad days. The best part of this is that if you are doing it right, you will have too much sweat in your eyes to see if someone is judging you.
The CrossFit community is unparalleled. Whether you are new or veteran, novice or elite, the community is the same. Even in a competition setting we cheer for max lifts, no matter who lifted it. We do the extra 10 burpees with the last one finished, so s/he won’t have to do it alone. We hug, we high five, and we celebrate any achievement with our fellow athletes. We get it. This is community.