1 March 2019
It is that time again…CrossFit Open season. I have been doing the Open since I started CrossFit in 2012. I loved it. It is a special time for crossfitters because for five weeks, you are a part of the bigger CrossFit community. Most gyms have their own version of Friday Night Lights (FNL) and the energy in all gyms at this time is electrifying and maybe even terrifying for some. Everyone will be suffering through the exact same workouts week after week. And each week we will see or hear many inspiring stories of “first time” movements or “PRs” and we all celebrate. We even celebrate the failures together. If you’ve ever been part of CrossFit during this time, you know what this feeling is — all athletes supporting each other until the last athlete is finished. Community is being connected to something bigger than ourselves..
This year, I did not sign up for the Open. And if I were honest, I was a little more sad about it than expected. Although I haven’t been doing CrossFit for some time, I am still coaching. But last Friday, I thought I would actually miss that nervous excitement I used to feel walking into the gym for Friday Night Lights.
Unexpectedly, for the past few weeks, I found I did not really need the Open to experience this sense of community. Remember that coach I signed up with (read my last blog) after my first weightlifting meet? Well, he’s built something pretty special. He has a team, and quite an awesome team it is. And here’s why:
I am excited to go to the gym again. I am learning. I am improving. And just being there lifts my spirits. It is not merely the place I simply go to de-stress from my work day (although don’t get me wrong, lifting is definitely a stress reliever). It is a place that builds and lifts me up – no matter whether my training went well or not.
I attribute this all to the environment of this gym. It is difficult to put into words or describe accurately, but there is a “vibe” here that is both welcoming and intense (in a good way – focused training). This, combined with the quality coaching and the connectedness and support amongst these new teammates… it feels good. Really good.
This is what RIGHT feels like.
I am still getting to know everyone, but that sense of community I described about the Open, it exists with this team every week, and there is no “Open season” in weightlifting. I am not diminishing the Open, I am merely saying that the feeling of community exists when you are part of a good team.
This could simply be a “honeymoon” phase. I am still fairly new to the team after all. Maybe so. But I like to think I have some credibility as a Sociologist. I continue to study and learn about organizations, groups, culture, and the environment and how these synergistically interact to influence human behavior. And what I have observed about what this gym does and what this team does, supports the literature on what makes teams and organizations do to more than just exist, but thrive.
This is what RIGHT looks like.
I am sure there are metrics and measures I could collect to support my claim, but I don’t need it. I am sharing my lived experience of being part of the team. It is the culture that enables a positive (or negative) experience. And it begins with the leadership, the coaches, the leaders within the team, and the teammates collectively shaping this experience, the vibe, and the culture.
As humans, we are social beings and the need to belong is innate in all of us, whether it be another individual, a team, or a community. We all want to belong and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. And to me, this is exactly what I experience being a part of East Coast Gold Weight Lifting. The culture here is why this team is so awesome and why I am excited to be a part of it.
This is what RIGHT feels like.
- When was the last time you were on a team that felt right?
- How do you contribute to shape the culture of your team?
- What are some examples of what “right” feels like to you?