Days 21 – 23, a view from the stands

“From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other – above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” ― Albert Einstein

‘Want to go to a Penn State football game next weekend?’ Kim asked.

‘Um, I’m on crutches,’ I replied.

‘They’re playing Michigan, should be a really good game,’ she continued.

‘Are you being serious?’ I asked.

‘I’ve been to games on crutches before,’ she said. ‘You can do it.’

‘You’re funny,’ I said. ‘I would slow you guys way down.’

‘It will be fun.’

These were the words of encouragement said to me last week by one of my CrossFit friends.

You have friends and then you have your CrossFit friends. CF friends are the people you have met at the box and have connected with and when together, you mostly talk about CrossFit to the point where the eyes of those around you who do not do CrossFit roll into the back of their heads and they eventually keel over from boredom. Or they just walk away and start talking about something that actually interests them.

Over time something else happens with your CrossFit friends, something that you never quite imagined. You start spending more and more time with them, first inside the box, meeting for WODs and then eventually you start spending more time with them outside the box. You meet for coffee or dinner or a bacon festival.

Eventually, your CF friends start climbing out of the box and become people. They become your friends. They become a part of the people in your life who not only encourage you and support you during a WOD but in the world of the every day too. CrossFitters want the best for themselves, they want the best for their community, they want to see you happy and healthy and well.

Perhaps this is no surprise to some but this came in increments for me. Bit by bit as I began to spend more and more time with my CrossFit friends I learned that these are not just the people I hit WODs with, these are real people with real lives and real challenges and milestones and families and they are lovely and they have become some of my closest friends. The whole thing took me by surprise actually. Perhaps because when I first started CrossFit I did so to simply start exercising more. What I did not expect, what I had absolutely no idea about, was the community. I didn’t take into account the People.

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Together, 4 individuals drove 4 hours on a sunny Saturday to watch a Big Ten college football game. One, a Penn State alumni. One, a born Michigan blue blood. Another, home from active army duty and avid football fan. The fourth, possessing a complete lack of football knowledge of any kind and on crutches and in desperate need of a day out of the house with friends on an adventure. (Read: me.) Together, the one thing they all shared – they were all CrossFitters.

Penn State beat Michigan, 43 to 40 in the fourth overtime. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experience. The 108,000 people in attendance, the camaraderie and spirit of the fans, the pageantry of the Blue Band, the stadium filled chants of devoted Penn State fans, WE ARE… PENN STATE! The friends solidified.

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