In the olden days if you were a CrossFitter it felt like you were part of a secret society. Maybe without the handshake but certainly we spoke in code. And when we met, whether passing in an airport or standing in line at a Starbucks, the things we cared about and shared were universally understood. “What is your Fran time?” moved on to what CrossFit had done for us, our family and the people we loved. Conversations between strangers would involve such things as how much weight we had lost and how CrossFit had helped our jobs, even our marriages. I’ve even discussed improvements in blood lipids with someone I had just met five minutes before at a restaurant 1500 miles from home.
Lately though things have changed. More often than not now the opening discussion goes something like this:
“Hey, do you CrossFit? I do too. At XYZ box. Our owner came in fourth at the Regionals.”
While I am glad the person is CrossFitting, it is really hard to care about the direction of the conversation.
Like everyone in CrossFit I love the Games. I might like the Regionals even better because that is about up-and-coming talent. But having one or two people in your gym that made the Regionals is probably more about gym location, previous athletic experience and genetic potential than anything else. Now if you tell me that you have four or five people that made it, I am going to ask for video and, as an avid program tinkerer, will probably want to see what you have been doing.
But if you tell me your team got to Regionals I will really start to perk up because we are getting to something I am interested in and believe is vital to the survival of a gym. Team speaks to community, and the best gyms out there understand that a good community is vital to us being able to do our job. If the community is great, people want to come back. There is greater buy-in to do the hard work where our magic, the magic of making people move better, can be performed.
You know what I really want to talk about? I want to talk about lives that have been changed. Families that are reconnecting not just in the gym but around the dinner table as well. I want to hear about kids who are no longer shy, able to stand confidently in front of a group and explain or demonstrate a movement. The moment that woman who said, “I can’t do a pull-up. I’ll never be able to do that,” pulls her chin over the bar for the first time and forever her view of herself is changed. I want to talk about that.
I miss the days when the excitement of CrossFit was the first thing mentioned. I still want to know about the community in other boxes. What are the success stories? Tell me about the seniors and kids in your box. Talk to me about the families. How many mommies do you have that deadlift over 200 pounds? How many grandfathers can play with their grandkids again because of CrossFit? Do you look around your gym and see the 9:00 class laughing and talking at 10:45 because they just don’t want to leave? Is the gym filled with people laughing and kids running around after class? Do your members hang out with each other on the weekend?
These are the things I am interested in. They are the things that last. Let’s talk about them.