It is inevitiable with anything "different" or "new" that goes public there will be immediate supporters, immediate skeptics, and immediate haters. Examples include: anything made by Apple, cellular phones, Pepsi clear, CrossFit...you get the point. Support, skepticism, and doubt are all normal reactions. Time is the true test of of what sticks and what does not. Remember when everyone on a cell phone was an asshole? HA! Look at us now! Pepsi clear on the other hand, that was never going to make it.
When I first heard about CrossFit a little over 2 years ago, I thought "wow, those workouts are badass. I want to be badass." The more research I did, the more it appealed to me. Of course, I've been active my whole life. Gyms/running/sports etc. were not new to me, nor were they ever viewed by me as a chore. I've always loved exercising (but loved eating more?), I've always been competitive, and I knew that if the CrossFit I was reading about was anything like the images I had conjured up in my mind, I would love it.
I get the major criticisms. I get that whenever someone is doing CrossFit, that's all they fucking talk about. I get that its sort of culty. I get that some gyms royally screw up the programming and injure clients. I get that in the fast pace growth of boxes popping up everywhere there are some locations that are not going to be as high quality as others. I get that Paleo diet talk is annoying. I get that it is not for everyone.
As humans we seek social community. We want to feel part of something, whether it be religion, a sporting team, chess club, poker night, book club, etc. we want to surround ourselves with like minded individuals. We want to feel validated in what we do, and point out how everyone else is wrong for not wanting what we want. Again, this is totally normal. Unless of course you are unable to see this behavior in yourself, and get legitimately pissed off when people don't want to join your cult. That's just crazy.
Yesterday was a reminder of what sets CrossFit apart from any exercise (gym/or on my own) I have done or belonged to in the past. I received a personal FB message from a guy that had just started coming to the gym maybe 6 months ago. He is very socialble, and it wasn't long before he was regularly cracking up the noon class with his antics. I even invited him to come to my wedding (which he did). His message said that he got a new job, and therefore would be attending a new (different) CrossFit gym. I was pretty bummed, but hoped that his new job was something he was hoping for. I responded with a quick note. About 1 hour later, when I pulled into the parking lot of the gym, I see his car there, and 4 of the other "regular" noon-time buddies crowded around the car laughing and giving him a hard time for saying good-bye to us, then showing up. It was a perfect sunny fall day, and it took me a few minutes to realize that no coaches were at the gym, and everyone was standing in the parking lot not only to socialize with the guy, but because we were locked out! It was still a little early, so we figured whoever was coaching was just a little late. No big deal. More minutes passed, and reality set in that no coaches were showing up.
The workout for the day had been posted the night before, including the warm-up, so we knew what we had to do. The workout was 5 rounds of: Run 400m, 5 deadlifts (115#). As luck would have it, there are 8 tires stacked up outside the doors to the gym. Without even thinking, all of us knew we would be running and flipping tires as a deadlift substitute. One guy turned his car stereo on, opened up his doors, and lead us through the warm-up. We found a phone to use as a timer, and wasted no time getting to it. At the time, it all happened without any second thoughts. There was no talk about leaving because no coaches were there, there was no discussion about what to do for a workout because the workout that was written was one we could do nearly exactly with the equipment we had in the parking lot. There was no effing off because there were no coaches there. It didn't really hit me until I got back to the office just how awesome the whole scenario was.
CrossFit has proved itself to be my community. I feel bad missing a day because I might miss a story from a workout buddy, or miss someone PR on a lift. Heading to CrossFit is my favorite part of the day, I get to put on my spandies and sweat it out with people that are there for the same reason I am. When we are faced with challenges, either in the gym, or outside in life, we help each other get through it. I'm inspired everyday by people at the gym. I've been very fortunate to only be exposed to quality gyms with quality instruction. Never did I expect my gym buddies to become close friends, but that is exactly what has happened.
So yes, I get that CrossFit is not for everyone. I just hope that whatever community someone chooses, it makes them feel as welcome and as awesome as CrossFit makes me feel!