There were so many awesome moments from the CrossFit Games last weekend, from Roman Khrennikov breaking his foot but still continuing to compete and placing third, to Laura Horvath winning for the first time and using her interview time to talk about positive body images for women. Denee and the boys and I were there, soaking it all in and experiencing all of these exciting and motivating moments firsthand. But what really got me at the CrossFit Games was not one single moment, but just a vibe. Can I say vibe? Am I cool enough?
The VIBE at the CrossFit Games is one of positivity and inclusion, and it struck me and several others that I overheard that you just don’t get that vibe very much anymore. Within our own CrossFit Kent Island ecosystem, we experience it every day, and that’s a big part of what keeps us coming back to the gym for another brutal workout. It’s the fitness, for sure, but it’s also the community feeling, which when we play it up sounds a lot like a cultish thing, but call it what you want – it’s incredible. Now imagine, if you haven’t been to THE GAMES before, what that would look like at a global level, and then condense that globe into the 1 square mile that is the CrossFit Games event space in Madison, Wisconsin.
Let’s get the first part out of the way – everyone is fit. There were guys there that I don’t think brought a shirt with them. They may have been shirtless on the plane, and no one would have said anything. But all jokes aside, that’s part of it. Everyone there is fit, and because of that, they are confident. And happy. I think that says a lot about what physical fitness can do for your life in general.
Now to expand on the happiness part. When you enter the Coliseum and sit down and look around, during an event or in between when people are chatting and getting ready for the next one, everyone is not necessarily smiling, but they are exuding happiness and contentment. You can feel it. It’s not like at an NBA basketball game where people are disconnected and doing their own thing, on their phones and waiting for the game to end. They are genuinely excited to be there and connecting with each other in a very meaningful way, because they are experiencing their way of life – fitness and hard work – at the ultimate level. When we were flying to Wisconsin, I was wondering what it would be like to hang out with a bunch of workout-crazed fanatics, because honestly I was thinking I was not really into the competitive aspect of CrossFit anymore. I think that’s why I never made it to the Games over the past couple years when I had the chance to – I didn’t feel like I wanted to be around people that were SO INTO IT. But I was dead wrong. They’re not SO INTO thrusters and pull-ups. They’re so into being positive examples in their local societies, and they yearn to connect with other people that feel the same way. And I saw it, and it was amazing. I’ve been to my share of sporting events before, and left as the same person. I went to the CrossFit Games, and I understand. I understand why people that have been before insist that I go. And now I must insist.
If you are a CrossFit coach reading this, reach for the next level. Go to that next CrossFit training seminar that you want to attend to expand your knowledge. You will meet people that you’ll never forget and you will grow as a person. And you’ll be reenergized as an active member of the CrossFit global community that is so inspiring.
If you are a CrossFit Kent Island athlete reading this, go to a CrossFit event, like the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge coming up this fall. Or go to another CrossFit gym for a workout. There are three in Annapolis. Seek awareness of what CrossFit is like outside of our (outstanding) island community. Here’s a hint – it’s going to be awesome, maybe in a different way than you currently know, but you will leave with so much energy and motivation to bring back to your CFKI community and your family.
In closing, a funny but true comment that we overheard as we were entering the CrossFit Games event area for the first time. One of the ticketing staff that hadn’t been a part of the CrossFit Games staff before said to a colleague, “I love CrossFitters. They’re so nice. They may not agree with all the rules we tell them they have to follow, but they just do it. They’re not like normal people.”
Let’s keep being not like normal people. Let’s be CrossFitters. Let’s be nice, and happy, and let’s keep moving this community forward.
See you at the Games next year!