CrossFit is a team sport. Whether you compete or not. It’s a team activity. Very few who do it alone thrive the way we all do when we do our fitness in a class or group environment. Whether it’s just that the old adage is true, “misery loves company” or that the chalk dust mixed with the sweat and tears of greater than x people = magic, there is something special about CrossFitting with others, and something even more special about CrossFitting with friends.
It is so powerful that some have come to call CrossFit a cult (#ButItsAGoodCult) as for a lot of us, especially early adopters, CrossFitters become our only friends for one of two reasons. 1) We spend most if not all of our free time at the gym or in gym related activities, so CF-ers end up being the only people we meet/know/socialize with, 2) those friends we have maintained outside of CF hear about it every.dang.day and eventually try it as a peace-treaty for you to agree to shut the heck up about it, they fall in love, and the cycle repeats itself replete with knee socks, rope burns, and calloused hands.
So much so that when you see your people in the gym you have an unspoken communication; a head nod to your strong bro means y’all are totally going to squat on the same rack, or a sideways glance to your speedy runner friend that they are so going to carry you on the run for that nasty metcon.
But every once in a while this tight knit community means someone looking to join the fold can’t find a space to fit in. And with how fit our community has become, the fold seems even more unattainable.
It’s not. Most of us would say that if any newbie fresh out of on-ramp were to ask us, we would tell them of the time we couldn’t run 400m, do a push up or pull up, or that our snatch used to look like we were having convulsions while holding onto a barbell much to the chagrin of our coaches. Most of us who are fresh out of on-ramp who went through with friends or made friends along the way would share the same thing, that we are all on a journey and everyone is welcome on the bus, but the bus looks full from the outside looking in, and although none of us may feel this way about ourselves, we all look like fit-AF freaks from that perspective.
So we all have a duty to do to pass on the gift that was given to us. To share in the community, brotherhood, sisterhood, and family forged amidst those puddles of sweat as we overcome fears and discover dreams, capabilities, and capacities we never thought possible – because for each of us the mountain seemed insurmountable at some point, and someone lent us a hand to make the climb.
Veterans, let us make the effort and take the time to meet and get to know the new athlete standing far from the whiteboard trying to make themselves small. Let us build them up and show them that we are all on this same journey together. Newer athletes let us approach the lost first to do a partner workout. Share your triumphs and your struggles.
And for those stepping foot into a CrossFit gym for the first time, know that you’re stepping in the same footsteps of each and every person you see in front of you. We all have felt that trepidation, that feeling like we don’t belong here, but just ask anyone here, you totally do and you won’t be able to imagine life without your CrossFit cult family.