‘Community’ has become a buzz word these days. Everyone is about creating community, growing community, engaging community, etc. Thank you millennials for making it cool to create pockets of people doing nothing together and making that cool. But, community is a cool thing. I should know, that’s what I do. I create community where there was none previously. As a church planter, missionary, or millennial, I’ve grown accustomed to drawing upon the values and appeal of doing things together. That climbing the latter isn’t really that great if you’re not taking people with you.
The only problem is, community is nothing new, nor special. Community actually happens naturally and organically ,if you let it. Why? Because it’s based on affinities. You know, shared interests. People with shared interests naturally find one another at that “shared” watering hole and develop relationships and experiences. That’s human history. I contend, however that what my sport, CrossFit, needs is not more community but family. Family is intentionally created and grown. Family is actually the earliest and most ideal structure of community that God created in the beginning! Crossfit is by default community. It’s one of the tightest communities I’ve ever experienced – To the point that it’s probably closer to a cult than a sport. *joke*
I’ve come to this conclusion from the experience of two separate observations. One happened this weekend. I spent the weekend with 2010 CrossFit Games Champion Graham Holberg and his wife, Savana. They are amazing people and the do a very good job at doing community. However they go a step ahead. They don’t see community, they see family. As Graham prepared for his next big snatch, Savana is around the corner chatting with other mothers, and their precious little guy, Storm is joining in on some Spike Ball with the guys after their WOD. They’re looking after him, helping in a sense to raise him. So, there’s a perspective difference. As Graham observed, “people who suffer together, share together.” Family suffers together. It’s a bond that is stronger than only enduring through the victories but it is committed to growing through the pain.
Secondly, I see this in my own box, CrossFit Unbridled. The owners Andrew and Ann are not your ordinary box owners and coaches. One thing that is heavier than their clean and jerks, is the burden and care they carry for those they call members. I stand around and talk to the members, getting to know them…what I hear is that they have a love for these owner/coaches that go way beyond that of simple community. They share the pressures and stresses that extend way passed the box, into their personal lives. They share responsiblity without asking, or having to ask. They “take care of the house”.
CrossFit is a sport. The nature of the sport creates community. But, the spirit of the sport is conducive to creating family. Relationships that are forged in ideals that transcend more than reps, WODS, numbers, etc. We need to move on from those binary projections and look deeper into the hearts and lives of those performing those feats. To care for one another. To listen to ne another between stations. To remember that sometimes, sitting on a barbell to talk and share may take precedence over lifting it.