Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Less Said, Sooner Mended

A week ago I ended my weekly “musings” with a thought about CrossFit and character. “CrossFit doesn’t so much create character as expose it.” I think the implication of this during a WOD (workout of the day) is quite obvious; we see glimpses of an individual’s true character during and after a WOD. Did they will themselves to that dark place where we find the magic of the program? Were they honest, counting every rep and striving for the virtuosity inherent in a perfect movement? Was their post-WOD analysis of the performance free of excuses and directed toward yet more improvement?

CrossFit tends to identify those character traits that lead to more of better, but to seek more of better requires that at least some of that character be in there to start. Hence my contention that CrossFit is more of an identifier, and perhaps magnifier, of character that is already on board.

I’ve found time and again that CrossFit and CrossFitters tend to benefit from something called “transference”, the extension of a training benefit in one domain into another wholly different, unrelated domain. For example, I handle the stress inherent in my day job a full order of magnitude better now, despite the fact that my advancing age should produce just the opposite. I believe that this is because I have trained my ENTIRE stress response in the WOD, not just my physical. By purposefully placing myself under the very significant stress of high intensity exercise I have trained my neuro-endocrine system to respond in a less dramatic fashion to ever greater levels of stress.

As an extension of this the CrossFit community has almost always been a “live and let live” place, something that stems from a broad-based sharing of this particular kind of physical experience. There’s an assumption of goodwill among and between CrossFitters, those who’ve met and those yet to meet. As we’ve grown as a community so, too, has grown the extent to which we encompass the vastness of the differences that can exist between human beings. When CF was young you would find more of these vast differences co-existing under one roof; there were simply fewer roofs back then, eh? CrossFitting in common was enough to overcome almost all differences. We were all a little different, only together. If you wanted to CrossFit or be part of the CrossFit community there just wasn’t much of a choice.

Now? The neighborhood has grown. You likely have many options. Multiple Affiliates in most cities to choose from. You can do CrossFit among folks who share much more in common than just the WOD, a little island of CrossFitting homogeneity. Is this such a bad thing? Of course not, at least not on the surface. People like to hang out with kindred spirits. Where this becomes not such a good thing is when the OTHER, non-CrossFit similarities in one group become the focus, when it is NOT the CrossFit that defines what is or isn’t held in common. This saddens me.

Think about this, won’t you? As CrossFit grows there is simply no reason why this wonderful part of the whole experience, ignoring or forgiving our differences while focusing on the wonderful thing we share, must be lost to the growth. At least for all of us out here in the great “outdoors”. So excited about something great about your CrossFit? Awesome! Sing it loud, but there’s no reason to do so while knocking someone or something else. Someone else doing something really great? Cool! Tell everyone you know, don’t try to bury it.

There will be times when something very real happens. Sad, but true. In these instances CrossFit, too, can reveal character. When that happens, whether you might have tossed the first grenade or simply returned fire, DO be the one to stop. “Less said, sooner mended” as my lovely Beth likes to say. It’s way harder and really uncomfortable to do that, be one who says ‘enough’, but you can do it. You do really hard stuff that makes you uncomfortable all the time, on purpose. So do the other folks.

You do CrossFit.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply