05.27.15 All About the Community

By May 27, 2015 wod No Comments
Monday's Murph Crew at FIT Wallingford CrossFit Zenith Hamden

Shoulder Press 5×3

12 min AMRAP
200m Run
5 Shoulder Presses @ 55%
10 Ring Rows
15 Ball Slams 30/20

One of the main things people love about CrossFit is the community. Knowing everyone you’re working out with, making new friends, hanging out outside of the gym. The way CrossFit is structured leads directly to that. Add into the equation a small gym like our own, and that makes it even better. At some point, each of you has probably had a chance to workout next to every other member in the gym and everyone has probably found everyone else equally warm, inviting and friendly.

Take this past Monday, for example. Murph is a sure way to find out who your friends are and how well your community sticks together. We had just over half of the gym turn out for the workout, which in itself is amazing when everyone has all kinds of parties, barbecues and commitments in their outside life. But even more than that, look at all of the people who came just to watch and cheer people on.

My own personal highlight came near the end of the WOD. Jordain and Carol B. didn’t really know each other that well before getting stuck in a van together for the Ragnar Relay (and the fact that we had five ladies even get together to do that in the first place is pretty amazing). This was Carol’s first Murph and who was there, doing her last set of 15 air squats before chasing her out of the door? Jordain. I’m not sure if she did it to support Carol or just to get me all choked up, but she accomplished both. And then Carol had a whole horde of people going around that last lap of the cemetery to get her to the finish line.

This is what CrossFit really is. Not only learning to push yourself through your boundaries to make yourself better, but helping to push other people through their own boundaries and make them better as well. This is what a community can do for all of its members, not just the cool ones in the know.

As many of our “came from other gyms” people will tell you, that’s not always the case. The bigger a gym gets, the more likely it is to be less close-knit. Part of it is just a numbers game. If there are twenty people in every class, it’s hard to meet and remember all twenty folks if you happen to show up at a different time. Cliques start to form, the first usually being the OG clique. All the early members start circling the wagons when the new kids start showing up. Once that clique takes hold, others start branching off just like back in high school and before you know it, drama ensues.

It makes me so happy that we don’t have that here and we don’t want to have that here. Those “came from other gyms” folks can tell you it stops being a fun place to be, especially if you’re on the outside of one of those cliques. The thing is, those gyms didn’t start out that way – they were just like us: small and friendly. So even though you guys have been doing great, I figured we were all due a reminder before things one day got out of hand.

You guys are our first line of defense against losing that sense of community. You’ve all been doing an awesome job of making new people feel right at home and more often than not, you’re what gets people to sign up after that free week. If I had a nickel for every person that said they stayed because of how nice and awesome all of you are, I’d have one hell of a lot of nickels.

That being said, it’s easy to lose that tight community feeling. In the past, I’ve always made sure everyone in the class knows who the new folks are and gets an introduction. We’ve now reached that size where I can’t recall who has met whom. While it’s a great problem to have, it’s a problem nonetheless. This is where I need your help and you don’t even have to do that much:

If you see someone you don’t recognize, introduce yourself.

Boom. Just like that, community kept together. If you can figure out things to talk about (here’s an icebreaker: you’re both in a CrossFit gym), even better. We’ve got an amazing group of people around here. I know it and you know it, so let’s make sure everyone else knows it.

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