How many families do you have? One? Two? Ten? Do you define family by the blood that you share? Are your family members those that share the same struggles as you? Can you truly be yourself with anyone outside your family?
I have multiple families. Some of my family members have the same last name as me. Some of them sweat with me at CrossFit 865. What defines family for you?
If we want to get technical about family, Webster defines family as a group of people who are related to each other. Such a beautifully simple definition that lends itself to multiple interpretations.
I’m fortunate. My blood/name family loves me. I don’t come from a broken home. Sure we have our disagreements and differences, but what real relationship doesn’t? I didn’t choose this family, I was born into it. But given the chance, I would choose them anyways. I love this family.
We all have this blood family and although the dynamics may be different, generally this type of family bond is the strongest, that blood is thicker than water. Every other family we have in our lives, however, is a choice. I’m also extremely fortunate with the families I have chosen.
Let’s go back to that definition of family – a group of people related to each other – and focus on the related part.
Brothers from another mother. Sisters from a different mister. Many variations of these saying exist and they all mean the same thing; we consider the person we are talking about to be equal to a blood family member. Soldiers call themselves a band of brothers. Athletic teams use family as a bonding agent. Whatever the thing relating a group of people is – be it blood, humor, passion, suffering – if it is unique and specific then it can be called family. It doesn’t have to be a good family, but we generally like it to be.
And that brings me to my point – there is an undeniable family bond amongst CrossFitters.
My home box, CrossFit 865, is the pinnacle of family oriented. Anyone is welcome, everyone is important. They even offer CrossFit kids to promote health and fitness at an early age! Of course, the main ingredient in family is people and 865 is the Bobby Flay of that CrossFit kitchen.
My first WOD at 865 was Fight Gone Bad. It was modified somewhat given that this was the box’s grand opening and a lot of people new to CrossFit were in attendance. During those three lovely rounds, each and every trainer/coach in attendance addressed me by name and offered either encouragement or instruction. I felt truly at home in a gym for the first time ever.
It just so happens that some of my best friends are members of CrossFit 865. The owners are good friends of mine. The coaches too. Many Saturday nights are spent hanging out with the same people I train with. Sometimes things get a little interesting when alcohol and fitness-minded people meet… but that’s the subject of a future post(s). I don’t know which is more motivating; trying to beat your friends at something or making sure they don’t totally wipe you out along the way! But wait, what is a name for really good friends? We’ve covered it… family.
Sometimes it’s just a special connection you share with one person. Maybe that person just gets you. They can be family. You can have a family of just you and that one special person. It can be anyone. You always meet that person for a reason. What is it that relates you to that person? They push you to be better. Unequivocally, they push you to want to be better.
CrossFit pushes you to want to be better.
One of my favorite aspects about the CrossFit approach to fitness is the stripped down version of the traditional gym. There aren’t any meatheads mindlessly curling away in front of a mirror, no hour-long plod sessions on the treadmills, no d-bags with YOLO shirts. What there is is a contagious, pack-like hunger to excel. To be awesome. To push and to be pushed. That is the family bond of the CrossFit family; the give and take of sweat equity.
The CrossFit family is there to pass friendly judgement. They witness. They witness you busting your butt and will cheer you on and congratulate you when you finish. They witness your struggles and lend support when needed. And if you don’t pay your dues in that sweat equity, you will know that this family knows your payment came up short. For myself, that’s all the motivation I need. I won’t let my family down.
I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting any other boxes (yet), but I’m sure most are the same way. Do members go to our boxes for huge tires to flip and giant balls to throw against the wall? Maybe. Do we go for the sweet Rogue rigs and beeping clock countdowns? Probably not. Do we go to meet lovely ladies like Fran and Diane? … Hell no! We go because we relate to our group, our family in fitness.
When I do visit other boxes, one on my list is Pin Up CrossFit of Houston, TX. They shared a link to this blog on their Facebook account. I don’t know a single soul that works out there. They somehow stumbled upon this blog six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon-style and thought it worthy of sharing. (super grateful by the way!!) It’s all just being a part of the CrossFit family. Shout out to the 713!
Look at the CrossFit Games. What other sporting event can you go to and not hear a single boo? Tennis? Maybe bowling? I remember going to a NASCAR race at the Bristol Motor Speedway when I was younger and seeing an anti Dale Earnhardt hat – a number 3 with a line through it. Someone wanted to root against someone more than they wanted to cheer on another driver. Think you would see any anti Rich Froning apparel at the Games? How about an ‘Annie Thorisdottir Sucks’ t-shirt? I don’t think so. You know what you’ll see? You’ll see Rich cheering on another guy he is competing against because that’s what CrossFitters do.
That’s what family does.
From the local box to the CrossFit Games, CrossFitters lift each other up and cheer one another along. We are family. In our sport, finishing last is still finishing. We cheer effort, not just the sole strongest and fastest. We cheer being better than yesterday. We cheer our family.