Every year I look forward to watching the top athletes in the world compete in the CrossFit GAMES. The movements they do are similar to what we teach every day in our CrossFit classes. Obviously, they vary in degree but I am always amazed at the beauty of the GAMES athletes technique and the enormous amount of weight on the barbell is inspiring.
At this year’s CrossFit Games, Dave Castro, the Director of the GAMES, posted an inspiring message “Go ahead. Beat the boys. We love to see it.” The picture showed Emily Rolfe of Canada beating the men’s GAMES winner; I was reminded again I had landed in the right community. I love the message so much I made it into a t-shirt!
Over the past 14 years CrossFit has been central to my life and a great experience. Sure, there are movements I can’t do like a muscle up and there have been times I have doubted myself both as an athlete and an affiliate owner. I didn’t think I was a good enough athlete to bring together a CrossFit community. I thought no one would take me serious or listen to me. However the post by Dave Castro served as a reminder, I belong.
More importantly, it drove home another resounding message: YOU BELONG.
Regardless of your ability or your athletic experience you belong in these walls. You belong on the floor striving to get better every day. No matter who you are there are days you will amaze yourself and there are days you will simply show up to get away from the stress. Most days you will be working on your strength and your skills, you won’t even know your score, but you showed up and your effort counts.
“Go ahead. Beat the boys” isn’t even about winning or beating any one, it embodies the principles I learned in high school from my coach. Not only did they teach me if I worked hard I could accomplish anything but these principles are central to our CrossFit community.
Don’t cut corners. It can be difficult to accept feedback from the coach on the floor but if you allow yourself to be coached, you will get better. If we tell you to bring down the weight, it’s for your own safety. If we demand, you work on your squat depth before getting “heavy” it’s because we want to see you to get better. We encourage most people to scale and at times we will push you to add more weight, reach for that edge. We will always want to see you do better, we will sacrifice our own “training time” to help you.
Be honest. You can’t get better by cutting reps and giving yourself an RX score. You did what you could do and that’s enough. CrossFit isn’t supposed to be easy; it’s meant to challenge you physically, emotionally, and physiologically. Your score on the board is a personal achievement but it’s the community that supports that score, being the fastest doesn’t matter if you cut reps. Your community deserves better.
Support the last person to finish. We have seen this over and over at the highest level, the last person to finish gets the loudest cheer. It’s called community. If you are the last person on the floor, don’t pull away from this honor, just the opposite, we invite you to lean into it.
Give back in some way. It’s easy to stay in our familiar community but giving back to those less fortunate or different from yourself gives you a wider perspective of the world and the humanity we need to sustain us in our disconnected society. I believe so much in this principle that I practice a random act of kindness once a week. It’s my little way of giving back for the incredible life I have been fortunate to live.
Show up, give your best effort, and allow humility to be your guide. There are days you will have to muster every ounce of strength to get into the gym, and yes, there are days you will beat the boys (or you will beat someone 20 years younger) and that’s celebrated here!
You earned it!