Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CrossFit CULTure : I agree

I accept it, we’re are a cult

We have, on countless occasions, not allowed ourselves to be pulled into the debate.  We have walked away from conversations with a chuckle and a smile. We’ve played dumb. We’ve typed scathing wall posts only to hit delete. We have convinced ourselves that other people just don’t know enough. We have even gone as far as to stick our fingers in our ears and say “I can’t hear you”.
The debate we have so carefully tried to circumvent for the last few years, mostly because we were so aggravated by it, is the “Crossfit, oh that’s a cult where you spend too much money to injure yourself”. Today however, our silence ends. Not because I am about to go off and lambaste all of you who have told us this. Nope, I am here to graciously accept your expertly imposed label on behalf of all of us. Not only that, but I’m going to give you more ammunition for your ferocious hatred. Ready, take notes.
noun, often attributive \ˈkəlt\
: a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous
: a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much
: a small group of very devoted supporters or fans

Although I cannot say we are a religion, I fully accept and take ownership of the rest of this definition.

We are a cult. We can be easily spotted by our weird high socks, slightly offensive tee shirts, good posture and obsession with bacon. So what? The socks serve an actual purpose, bacon is yummy and the good posture just happens here. Eh, the tees shirts, you got us. To us these things are just outward identifiers. No different than hipsters, skaters, yuppies, sorority girls / frat guys, bikers, swimmers, surfers, politicians, hunters, goth chics…. the list goes on. You see, we all express who we are in different ways and I am no longer going to argue that we are not putting it out there that we are into a true sense of community and improving the lives of ourselves and others. That’s what our stupid socks say about us. You’re right, we dress funny.

We are a cult. We care about it too much, and we talk about it all the time. I make no apologies for this anymore. However, the next time you go off about how your friends only talk about Crossfit take a moment and really pay attention to what is being said. Notice this; when we talk your ear off about Crossfit the words “we” and “you” are in constant rotation. When you talk to us about how much you hate your life all we hear is “I” and “me”. For this, an apology is due; sorry we like something so much we can’t shut up about it. So once again, you are absolutely correct; it’s all we talk about.
We are a cult. We support each other in all aspects, we travel in packs (or tribes), we go out of our way to help each and we are devoted to seeing each other become healthy and happy. When a helping hand is needed we have dozens of people ready to pitch in. When one of our own is in need, we do what we can to help. There are more than 150 friends at our box and we all know each other by name. Our kids hang out together. Our parents have met each other. We take vacations together. Sounds just like your gym right? You tell me it’s fake and that we all secretly are competitive and want to beat each other…. We say your half right.  The love and devotion to community is not fake, but you are dead right that we all want to win and be one second faster or one rep better. What you fail to see, or more accurately, fail to understand is that the competition is not so much with each other but that is lies beating our own previous best. We, and you, should constantly be striving to be a little better every day. You say we are too competitive, we say you have been doing the same hour on the elliptical for five years. Dang, you are right again. I’m devoted to a group of likeminded individuals who support each other in the quest to be the best possible person inside and out while becoming stronger and faster.  

We are a cult. We spend all of our extra money on membership dues, competitions and gear. No argument here at all. The average Crossfit member is spend 5 bucks a day on membership. Is it worth it?  That’s a personal choice. But really?  You’re going to try and discredit what we are doing over 5 bucks a day while you sip a 7 dollar coffee. Being the cult that we are I guess we need to work on our priorities. Guilty again.

We are a cult. We do weird things at our boxes. First off, we call them boxes. We allow our kids to try (my old gym told me I had to leave because my 11 year old daughter was with me once …… great message), we buy whole cows.  Even stranger, we have our own lingo, women freely disclose their weight and age, boys consult girls on lifting techniques, grandmas high five college rugby players, and OMG – no one wears headphones!  How can this possibly be happening all under one roof? It has to be a cult. 

We are a cult. The next time you tell me this I will reply with a smile and a yep. I will extend my hand and let you know that for 5 bucks a day, some really hard work, desire, and a commitment to wearing hideous socks you too can become one of us.

Brad Yeckley is a coach and affiliate co-owner at CrossFit Nittany in State College PA and owns 27 CrossFit tee shirts and is wearing socks with bacon on them right now.

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