Most CrossFit gyms are like stepping into Cheers (A sit-com from the 80’s). It’s a place where everybody knows your name. Most Intrepids know each other, in fact that is what makes Saturdays especially fun for me. Seeing my friends who are, during the weekdays, awesome, goal getting, bar setting names on a whiteboard. Knowing everyone’s name and even a little about them is what makes this community like an extended family. I remember my first day at Intrepid. I had come from another gym across the city and didn’t know anyone on this side of town. I’m actually a very shy person, and in crowds of more than 4 people, forget it. I’m the wallflower of the year. I barely took 2 steps into the converted car shop and was immediately greeted by a fleet of strangers holding their hands out with friendly smiles. Initially my thought was, “Why are they all lining up to greet me like I’m a celebrity, are they being paid to do this?”. But by the end of the hour I was being cheered on and people knew my name! It felt great! I had felt so encouraged and welcomed. I’m so glad they all approached me. I knew this was the place I wanted to call my new home. I now call these strangers close friends.
Through my CrossFit career I have had the privilege to visit other boxes both locally and internationally. Some boxes I’ve really enjoyed, almost felt at home and others I’ve felt a little like an outcast. When I do visit a less ‘eager’ box I find it’s harder getting through workouts and much less motivating. CrossFit is intimidating and overwhelming. Can you imagine what it’s like for a new person? The clash of the bars, the grunting, the panting; it’s a lot to handle as an outsider or new person.
All of us have been a new person once, new to CrossFit or new to a box. Recently I dropped in on a box with a large community as a favor for a friend. Being well established and having bred a few Regional level athletes it was very mentally intimidating. I stepped in, found the mobility area and started my pre WOD routine rolling and stretching. Occasionally I would acknowledge another athlete with a friendly smile hoping my gesture to be reciprocated with an introduction. Nothin. I attempted to get out of my own comfort zone and introduce myself. That seemed to scare some. Am I that scary? I could practically hear my self esteem deflating. As the time came closer for the WOD I looked for the coach to make sure he knew me. I patiently waited next to him as he wrote the workout on the board. Some came up and chatted with him, most were off in their cliques talking amongst themselves. I barely had time for a handshake before class started. I was a little disappointed in this visit because I felt so unwelcome. What a horrible feeling right?
Occasionally we may get caught up talking with our friends or zoned out while rolling out attempting to not make a pain face. But lets keep our community spirit alive. if you see someone you don’t know reach out and say “Hi” or “Talofa” or “Hola”. Whatever language you choose. Tuesdays have a higher rate of newcomers, but keep an eye out at all times. You never know when you have a chance to make a new friend!