Crossfit: the great equalizer

These days between being a full time physician-scientist, full time mom and wife, and a full time political activist, I think 1) will I ever make up this lost sleep 2) screw Trump and his administration for taking time away from my family and my science and 3) do i still have time to crossfit?

The answer for the first one is NO and to the 2nd — this is life and sometimes, your path shifts and you got to do what you got to do. Now, to #3. yes, yes, an unmitigated yes. You must. You must keep crossfitting. But why? Well, #1 — we need you to be healthy to do all those things and #2 — it keeps you sane and #3 — crossfit is the great equalizer. In the box, while you are wodding, while you are lifting heavy shit, who you are and what you do outside of that box doesn’t matter at all.

In ‘my world’, I lead a large Maternal and Child Health Research Center. I am Vice Chair. Damn it, I am one of two tenured women professors at my Ivy institution and you know what, no one at my crossfit box gives a fucking crap. And, you know what, they shouldn’t. Because, it just doesn’t matter. Anymore than it matters that there is a top legal mind there, a fireman, a cop, an entrepreneur, a business owner, whatever. It just doesn’t matter. You see, crossfit is the great equalizer. All that most of us care about is 1) are you a decent, nice person 2) do you make the group work out fun and 3) (lets be real here) do you have integrity. Whatever else you do in your regular life, no one gives a shit. We do not care if you are Christian, Muslim, Jew, or atheist. We do not care if you are gay, straight, bisexual or figuring it all out. We do not care if you are black, brown, white or a glorious mixture of colors. All we care about is that you show up and are going to sweat it out with us.

You may be calling bullshit right now. Come on? I mean we must care who people are? It is not one big love fest. No, it is not. Similar to high school (yes, I said that), there are cliques. There is the early morning group, who the evening group, is convinced does a totally different work out or has a clock that moves at warp speed. Then there is the mid-morning group that is considered all stay at home moms (but its not). Then there is that evening group (guilty) consisting mostly of working girls and boys (yes, I said girls and boys because at crossfit we are not ladies and gentlemen, we are girls and boys. We are girls and boys on a playground, running around, testing out our agility and strength and not giving a rats ass about what you do during your real life or if you are being professional or if you yell or curse as you try to get your first pull up or that last lift). So, yeah, all these groups exist and we fall into certain ones and this is where we find our work out squads and we are happy. But, these groups are dynamic and full of flex.

The other night, our box held the weekly competition for the Crossfit Games Open. The “different groups” mingled and the time of the day that we work out melts into the background. Heats of athletes stood in front of all these people doing their best in scaled or RX to kick 17.3's ass. And, in between the “how does she Rx every wod if she can’t snatch #95” and “you know your chest actually has to touch the bar for it to be a ‘chest to bar’ (throw in tons of sarcasm)….magic happens. As the last heat winds down, time running out, there are two left on the floor. Some people know one of the guys and some people know the other — but it doesn’t matter. One is doing the work out scaled and one is doing it Rx — and it doesn’t matter. As the final minutes tick away, there is yelling and screaming and cheering — hoarse voices encouraging each one to pick up that bar, do one more lift, one more chest to bar. One of the guys is a prior gymnast. His chest to bars make the room drool with envy. But, he has not been a heavy lifter and yet there he is throwing #115 bar above his head in beautiful squat snatch form (yes, these movements can be beautiful). The other guy, I do not really know but damn is he impressive. I know his first name and I yell it with the rest of the crowd for him to keep going, to not stop. He is at a weight that would literally smother me. He is obviously running out of gas. He is red and breathing hard and I wonder if my doctoring abilities might actually need to come into play. He leans over, throws that amazingly heavy shit over his head and lands in a squat and the room erupts. The chanting of ‘stand it up, stand it up, stand it up’ begins. Perhaps more than him (ok, not that much), we SO want him to stand it up. Because….well, just because…that is us and that is crossfit and even if you cannot do it, you want someone else to be able to do it BECAUSE that means it is doable and that is amazing. And, as we all scream, he stands it the fuck up. And who he is and what he does outside of this box just does not matter. Because, he just did THAT. And in this crossfit bubble, we celebrate that and we do not care what else he may or may not represent. He is just an athlete leaving all out on the floor, for all to see, for all to witness. So the color of his skin, his sexual identify, his religious beliefs, his day job — none if matters. Welcome to crossfit — the great equalizer.

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