-by DCCF Member, Elizabeth Ann Duncan
The other day I ran into a friend of mine who is going through some big life changes. We’ll call him Tyler, because that’s his name. One of the first things Tyler said to me was “So you’re still really into the CrossFit thing, huh? And you’ve made lots of friends? And you enjoy it? Can I call you about this soon?” Later that week I spent close to an hour preaching the gospel of CrossFit. This was very fun for me because I was at a point in my 3 years with the cult where I wasn’t … blissfully in love with it. I’ve had a nagging wrist injury and a packed work/travel/social calendar so I haven’t been seeing any big, flashy improvements this fall. But my conversation with Tyler reminded me: this place is so. much. more. than somewhere I go to workout.
He told me that he’s been working with a personal trainer lately and that he dreads going. I was being 100% honest when I said I look forward to coming to the gym, even if I dread the workout. In fact, I get pretty salty when life gets in the way and I can’t get there when I’m planning on it. The main difference I see in these two scenarios is community. To remind you, I didn’t join Derby City with a buddy or because a friend already belonged. In addition to wanting to get a workout that actually made me sweat, I’d heard of the strong communities in CrossFit gyms.
I recently read and underlined this quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic:
“Whether we make a profession out of it or not, we all need an activity that is beyond the mundane and that takes us out of our established limiting roles in society (mother, employee, neighbor, brother, boss, etc.). We all need something that helps us forget ourselves for a while- to momentarily forget our age, our gender, our socioeconomic background, our duties, our failures, and all that we have lost or screwed up. We need something that takes us so far out of ourselves that forget to eat, forget to pee, forget to mow our lawn, forget to resent our enemies, forget to brood over our insecurities.” Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
I appreciate so much that I’ve found my activity that strips away our backgrounds, and where I forget about work and stress and responsibilities. I am so grateful for the friendships I never would have had the chance to make away from Derby City. We all bring such different things to the table, and if I don’t say it often enough, I love that about this place. I told Tyler that it’s the easiest place to make friends I’ve found in post grad life. I told him I usually text my gym friends on Friday laying out all the things we plan to do together on the weekends. Only a few of those hours we will spend working out. I’ve been to more weddings, baby showers and birthday parties than I can count, all for people I never would have met but for the gym. I explained that if you don’t show up on a night you normally come, people will wonder why and ask you about it. It’s not pushy or accusatory. It’s genuine. We like to see each other and we miss people when they’re gone. I’m convinced there’s a weird time warp within the walls , because I can go months without seeing some of my other friends, but if I go a week without seeing Derby City friends it feels wrong. And it all started with simply showing up.
I warned him that it’s normal to feel intimidated at first, but that he had to believe me that people will be excited he’s there. I told him that I couldn’t explain how or why I was so instantly hooked, but it seemed to be a common occurrence. I told him even if he didn’t feel an instant addiction, he should stick it out and keep going, even when (not if, when) he was sore. Tyler doesn’t live in Louisville and I have no affiliation with the gym I told him to check out, other that I know there are great coaches, athletes and people there. Yet here I was, promoting it all with nothing to gain, besides hopefully another friend who wants to nerd about this stuff. It just wouldn’t be right to keep to myself a place that replaces the mundane and the stress in our lives and makes us forget our crap, even if just for an hour of the day. I think most of us would agree that it’s more than just that hour that our lives are improved.
Last night I got these texts:
Welcome to the fold, Tyler.
Elizabeth Ann Duncan (“E.A.”) is an attorney by trade and an amateur CrossFit nerd by choice. She is grateful for the gym, for its community, and for her hobby-within-her-hobby: writing for the gym. Tyler said she could use his name as long as she made sure to tell you that she heard he ran out weight to lift at the gym.