Empathy: The CrossFit Glue that Sticks - The Box

Empathy: The CrossFit Glue that Sticks


A coach and friend recently sent me excellent video on the topic of empathy. Historically speaking, it’s been empathy that has torn down civilization’s most harmful walls and brought people together. When it comes to interpersonal dynamics, empathy may be our most basic need.

CrossFit has that.

Especially during the Open season, the masses of this community feel relevant. Beyond the simple identifier of being a “CrossFitter,” the definable, measurable nature of the Open creates conversation and makes connections that are improbable without it. In something as simple as 14.1, there is context. Context helps us understand and find a place in the world.

It’s this unmistakable feeling of empathy that unifies Rich Froning’s 444 on 14.1 to 47-year-old novice CrossFitter, Kevin Fishbourne’s, 231 that loops us all in together. Football doesn’t have that. Basketball doesn’t have that.

For some, the rigid nature of definable, measurable movement can be an area of critique when it comes to CrossFit. While putting handles on everything we do in training does inhibit some freedom one would argue, I would argue that CrossFit has the ability to develop empathy better than any sport and any training modality in history because of it’s definitions.

This ability to develop empathy is CrossFit’s biggest asset, in my opinion. If CrossFit hasn’t taught us the power of communities, then I don’t know what will. What we know about communities is that they have the ability to make powerful changes in themselves and the world around them, and the fuel on which they burn is empathy.

Good on you, CrossFit, for infusing our lives with empathy in an area that we never could have expected it in exercise. Thank you.

Logan Gelbrich