Walking into my box is one of my favorite parts of my day… The people, the atmosphere, the nervous feeling, the cold bars and the heat of your breath,the triumphed feeling… it all adds up to an experience that I crave, that we crave, day in and day out.
Crossfit is known for it’s community. For the friendships you make, for the feeling of comradorie… as the saying goes “a community of people who have decided that easy will no longer suffice.” We’re there, daily sometimes, with each other… working, hurting, sweating, failing and winning together. It brings you closer to people… To do that together.
So what happens when there’s someone there that ruins that for you? Someone who chooses to verbally express the failures of others around them, someone who consistently corrects others form, rather than letting the trainer see to it. What happens when there’s someone there who doesn’t want to discuss the benefits of rowing with you or who won’t throw back a smile at you when you greet them with enthusiasm?
I know, walking into my church, into my workplace, into school.. there will be people I won’t see eye to eye with.. even though we are there for the same thing! There are people who I will not get along with, ones that will annoy me, ones that are total introverts and just plain won’t like talking to ANYONE. We know this, so why do we expect walking into our boxes that everyone there will all be extroverts that take criticism and advice and care about the rower more than their crappy day, and will love to smile, and sing, and dance with us? We shouldn’t expect that, at all.
Here’s a foolproof way to keep the community of your box and still make WOD’ing’ enjoyable for someone else:
1. Form. Don’t correct someone else’s unless you are a trainer at the box or certified (trainer is the safest.) It’s embarrassing (to introverts, especially) to have some random member call someone else out on form. Unless you are lifting with someone and they ASK or you are told to put in input, then leave it be. Pull the trainer aside and talk to them about it privately so that they can address it. If you are working out with a small group of your friends, then they probably wouldn’t mind, but when you yell across the box to tell So-and-So to straighten his arms out on those KB swings So-and-So is going to be very embarrassed, and probably start steering clear of you… IF he/she comes back.
**also, never grade someone’s performance out loud to them. I actually had someone say to me “i’ll give that an A for effort.” … This immediately made me never want to workout near this person again. What if I was brand new and that was my first experience with CF? I would have never come back.
2. Some days, there are people at the box who are just getting by. They may have just lost a family member, lost their job, getting divorced, going broke, or just had a really cruddy day. If they don’t greet you with jumping enthusiasm or a giant smile and a “heyyyyy” when they walk in, Leave them be. Smile, say it’s great to see them, and then let them WOD in silence. They probably just need a good burn session to help them think and feel better. Miss Smiley Suzie Pants is just going to annoy them.
3. Find the ones that like to talk WOD strategy and stick with them when talking about your latest WOD reading. I love to read all the articles. Constantly reading, what will improve my rowing technique, avoid injury during kipping pull-ups, etc. My best friend just wants to go WOD, have good form, get-er-done, and go home. She doesn’t care about the little ins and outs. She likes the workouts, she likes the way it makes her look, she doesn’t want to stay 30 minutes after to talk about Snatch technique. This doesn’t make her a bad person, everyone is there for different reasons. Find the peeps who want to WOD talk and WOD talk with them.
4. Courtesy. So Joe-Bob just jumped up on one of the pull-up bars and if you pick the empty spot in front of him one of you will have to wait for the other to finish or you’ll end up smacking into each other. Let Joe-Bob finish. Pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t walk in front of Suzie-loohoo doing KB swings because you’re not watching what’s going on. Suzie will either have to stop, or smack you, or both (if she’s mad enough about stopping.) Don’t get between a crossfitter and their KB in the middle of their set. Take the long way around if you have to, stay safe and don’t interrupt someone’s WOD.
5. End your box time with a smile, high-five, note of encouragement to others, etc. We get it, you’re exhausted now. We all are, but nothing is more encouraging than hearing someone else telling you how you killed those Wall balls, your snatch form was just about perfect, or that they can’t wait to workout with you again. Had a bad WOD? Grabbing your stuff and stomping out is the sure-fire way to continue having bad WODs that week as well as turn-off the people around you.
Liking the same type of sport as someone won’t always guarantee you will be friends, or even get along… but it does mean that you can make it an enjoyable experience for them.