If there’s one thing that separates CrossFit from other strength-and-conditioning programs, it’s the community. In my opinion, this factor is just as important as technique, coaching and programming. The emphasis on community is what’s changing the mental health of the members at each gym and what has the capacity to impact the greater community of people in general.
Part of the problem with the hate and fear in our society is that people are no longer people; instead, they are online personalities without faces, feelings, struggles and stories. Hate and ignorance are products of people spending too much time isolated, without communities and new experiences. I believe that if you start to put people together, in front of other actual real people, and they start to learn their stories and their horizons start to broaden, humanity starts to re-emerge. It becomes harder to retain the ego that separates oneself from other people. Community reminds us all that we are the same, we’re all on the same journey, in the same struggle, and we all deserve the same respect.
Communities form at CrossFit gyms in the most random ways. People from all walks of life end up in a class together, sweat together, suffer together and work hard on weaknesses together. Through these experiences they become friends and walls are broken down. People become friends with people they never would have expected. All of a sudden, expectations people once had of themselves and other people start to change. Maybe they start looking at people outside the gym differently, as well, as if everyone is a potential friend or community member. People actually become people again.
CrossFit has done this for me and countless others. This is the part of CrossFit for all of us to hold onto, whether or not we all snatch the same way. Community is what will change us and the world around us. Allow yourself to extend your community past that of your gym. Look at your barista, the homeless person at the gas station, your in-laws and your non-CrossFitting friends the same way you look at the people you work out with. Allow people to be people again, and this CrossFit thing could change the world.