No, I’m not here to say that I’ve changed my mind about Crossfit. I don’t think it’s dangerous, nor do I believe that it’s a cult or a fad. I believe that Crossfit is changing the very landscape as we speak. As a person with cerebral palsy, and as one who has gone through several years with traditional physical therapy, nothing has made me strong or as mobile as the methodology of CrossFit.
As an adaptive Crossfit athlete, I have been doing this sport for almost over 3-4 years and competed in four different tournaments. All of which have been able-bodied events, I never thought that I would be involved in a sport like this.
I’ll never forget the feeling of walking into Crossfit Omaha with my dad and being the only person with cerebral palsy there. Honestly, that’s how it’s always been that way, so I wasn’t expecting anything else.
I’m not sure what other people were thinking when they saw me walk in there, maybe there was some doubt. Or maybe it was the doubt that was deep in my mind. From that point on, I some so many other adaptive athletes rising as well, which is awesome. I would watch countless videos on youtube both of other adaptive athletes and abled bodied people.
What frustrates me then, is the illusions that these videos give off. Most of them suggest that people that do Crossfit are automatically brought into a family type setting where people cheer you on as though you are some hero. Sounds awesome right? But I very rarely experience this illusion of grandeur that these videos produce.
In fact, the support that I do have comes from a small group of people. I know what you’re thinking “well, at least you have people supporting right?”
Yes, you’re right, I am very thankful. My frustration and struggle then, is two-fold:
1) As hard as I work to get better, I still feel as though I’m “The Lone Crossfitter” the guy who has to adapt everything, who doesn’t have full overhead movement at doesn’t move as fast or explosive as others. That I’ll never be apart of the winning team, or even take the podium as an individual.
2) I think this is where myself and others are going so wrong. In that, we have becoming so focused on winning. Certainly, it’s not wrong to want to win; I’ve never gone to a competition of any kind and not want to win. The problem is, then, that when you become some focused on winning that one can lose sight of what Crossfit is about altogether. And that is changing people’s lives!
It can be so deadly to be so focused on winning; your joy can be stripped from you so quickly. Honestly, I want to taste what it’s like to be on the winning team. But as much as much as I’d like to experience that. I must always remind myself that there is much joy is teaching an adaptive athlete how to get up off the ground or teaching them to take steps without much aid slowly walk on their own. Or watching someone gain more mobility all together, there’s more of a victory in that than anything else.