Thursday, July 17, 2008

"I'm gonna come at you like a spider monkey!"



If you've never seen this movie, well, you're not missing the year's best drama, but it was pretty crude and comical. But, I love the line that Walker, or is it Texas Ranger?, spits out about going at someone like a Spider Monkey. I think it's just a great way of saying you're going to go absolutely nuts on someone. Now, why did I use it as a title to a blog post? C'mon, you should know me well enough by now to know that eventually I'll get around to explaining my logic. :)

Last week, CrossFit.com posted up a piece from an article written by Captain Picker of the United States Navy. This piece garnered over 600 comments on the main site, and not very many of them happy with the good captain. With just a few words, the Captain had managed to enrage a community, many of whom are brothers and sisters in arms. After reading the comments, I have to say I was pretty peeved myself. It seemed as if the captain really didn't know much about CrossFit at all, and how much it has already helped hundreds and thousands of soldiers, who are currently IN or have been in harm's way. It bothered me a lot that he made such blanket statements about the program such as, well it causes injury. Without proper form and attention to performance, ANY exercise program can potentially cause injury. Furthermore, he made the statement that CrossFit is an "off the shelf program". The good captain obviously missed the memo the CrossFit is anything but based on the fact that it is scaled and tailored to each individual's athletic abilities.

Now, I'm not trying to set up an argument about whether the captain was right or wrong or just plain uneducated. That point has been debated and rehashed on the main site literally hundreds of times. But what I thought was so interesting was the way that the CrossFit community went at him like a spider monkey. We flew into attack mode. So, it made me kind of stop and think. I'll admit that I posted something in our own personal affiliate forum in which I said I hope his email box was flooded since CF.com posted his email, but afterwards I felt a little guilty for saying that. The guy does have a job to do, and I'm sure 800 emails probably doesn't make anyone's day, but still. I didn't attack him and call him all sorts of names like many on the main site did, and it almost shocked me how angry some of the people who responded were. So, my restful ramblings today... why do we get so defensive about CrossFit when their is dissention?

Again, I'll admit, when I saw the person last week searching for "Why CrossFit sucks", I really had a strong urge to smack that person up alongside the head. But why? Why do we suddenly seem to resort to the most primal and basic of instincts when people have a single negative word to say about what we do? Well, I think that it has a lot to do with paternal instincts. I think whether we realize it or not, we all sort of treat CrossFit like it was one of our own children. The desire to protect it is strong. We love CrossFit because of what it has done for each and every one of us and know its potential. We therefore believe in it and want to watch it grow and prosper. We don't ever want to see it struggle or be put down. Much like a child, we know it will face trials and tribulations, but even as much as parents want to let their children learn, they fight with the same idea to protect and never let their children be hurt in any way.

We don't want ANYONE to hurt CrossFit. We don't want people to have negative things to say. We take CrossFit to heart because of what it has done for so many of us. Look at all the testimonials that are posted everyday about what this program has done, whether it is phsyically or mentally and emotionally. Is it any wonder that when someone insults it, we get a little defensive? If you have been a loyal reader, you know what CrossFit has done for me, or even if you jumped to me from the affiliate blog two months back you know. It pains me that there are people out there that don't want that same experience. Their lives could be better, if only they would try. But, the thing that we as CrossFit parents need to remember and realize, is that people fear the unknown. Think of how afraid you were the first time you did a full fledged workout. Think of how afraid you were the first time you saw a hero workout posted on your board. Fear. Some people face fear and have a determined will to defeat it and not let fear cage them into a life full of safety. Others are controlled by it and will never dare to take a risk that could lead to them being hurt in any way, whether emotionally or physically. For some people fear is a motivating factor. For others, it's a hindering one.

Many of the people out there who look at this program fear change. They are afraid of what they don't know and can't comprehend and understand. They can't understand why people would want to push so hard that it may make them sick. They can't understand why people would want to subject themselves to exercises that hurt so much. To them, all I can say is that it's their loss. They don't understand how much more confidence and strength they could have. But that's ok, all the more for me! :)

Now, will everyone in the world learn to love CrossFit? No. That is doubtful. So what we as CrossFit parents need to realize is that we can't always fight the school bully for our kid. CrossFit will stand up for itself. The power of CrossFit will shine through. Just like kids, CrossFit will take care of itself. What we as parents need to do, is take a step back and stop going at people like spider monkeys, otherwise, we're going to be the crazy parents in the parking lot picking up their kids. I read a great quote the other day, but can't remember where. But the gist of the quote was to do your work, and step back. I think that that is the best thing I've ever heard. Hit your workouts hard, hit the Zone hard. Then step back. Let the people in the navy wonder why the army and marine are always kicking their asses. Let the dude in the next cubical wonder why you've lost 20 lbs. Let the girl down the hall be jealous of the great legs that you've gotten from all those lunges and box jumps and squats. Your work speaks for itself. You don't need to speak for it. The work of this community is the same. The power of this community will speak without saying a word. All you need to do is answer the questions when they finally come.

I understand that many may still feel angry with the good captain even after reading this. But here's just one final thought. Stop to think for one second that his words are a great thing for CrossFit. "What?!?" you say. How so? Well, think of it this way. When there is dissention, most often, this breeds discussion. If his words got people to discuss CrossFit, and start taking a look at it, can this be a bad thing?

19 comments:

Justa said...

Interesting post, Katie. I think we defend CF for a variety of reasons. Perhaps one of the biggest is that we do what very few people out there do. WE are considered to be the strange ones, even though we know the program works. I'd be willing to bet that most of us have some people in our lives that do not understand what we do and why we do it. Their entire knowledge about health and fitness is based upon television sound bites and nonsensical articles they may read in bad magazines. They may even think we are hurting ourselves in some way. Perhaps the backlash in these situations has some roots in this.

Anyway, you're right about stepping back. People don't want to be preached to unless they ask. Let's just continue to let our performance speak for us. Who knows? Eventually, people may get it!

Sorry about the book!

Darcy D2 said...

Good point any discussion is good discussion and increases people's knowledge. Crossfit is a change in what was accepted as healthy fitness training and change intimidates.

P.T. said...

I've come to realize Crossfit isn't for everyone. First it's a lot of hard work, second here are skills that need to be learned for it to be effective and safe. The second part is the really tricky thing. If you have experience lifting especially in Olympic lifting you can pick it up quickly, otherwise you really need to have a good coach to show you the way. Weightlifting and Olympic lifts are very safe if done correctly. If you do it wrong your setting yourself up for disaster. Unfortunately, because of the whole Nautilus thing, machines took the place of good coaching. It's a lot easier to fill a club with machines than it is to find a good coach/trainer.

I understand people's feelings for Crossfit, but what does it say about a person if they can't stand up to a little criticism, right or wrong, without resorting to an "I could kick his ass in a workout" attitude. Instead of 800 belligerent responses how about opening a dialog. If Captain Picker is working on false assumptions and misconceptions why not reach out and try to educate him.

The Wigan Crossfitter said...

My 2p on this is that as Crossfit is so demanding we identify with the programme. In a way it becomes a way that we describe ourselves, I'm forever talking about crossfit to anyone with ears.

Kick it and we limp.

Still..the captain had an opinion. Opinions are like buttholes, we've all got one and they all stink!!

Katie said...

Pt... that's exactly what I said in my last two paragraphs... :P You just have to read through my metaphors and other ramblings to find it... :P

Katie said...

Darcy, I am in agreement. I'm all for discussing things. I like to talk... ;)

So Steve, are you saying my opinion stinks? You'd better be careful with that response... :P

Katie said...

I am however upset that not one of you commented on how hilarious my video is... and that per my recent obsession with Chuck Norris quotes the kids are named Walker and Texas Ranger in that movie!! haha... :)

Darcy D2 said...

Work blocks streaming so sadly I can't watch the video till tonight :(

Katie said...

Ok, well then Darcy you get a hall pass until this evening... :P

P.T. said...

Will Ferrell rocks.
Pearl the landlord is one of my favorites.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euFog2rgIl4

Step Brothers looks good too.

Katie said...

Pt... don't try to suck up now... you're already in the dog house... :P

Katie said...

Getting this post back on track though, Justa, I agree that we have many different reasons for why we get so upset, but I really feel that the largest one is because we are all so personally attached to CrossFit. We all have our own success stories to share, and so we want everyone to have that same experience. We are convinced that everyone should do it since it worked for us.

I agree that most do have people who don't understand and question us. Myself included, although my family is coming around. I think some of our backlash may also be because we want to prove to these people that we're not wrong, and we're not crazy, but in our fervent denial of these things, we unfortunately though tend to make them look true. Not all of us of course, but some of us. The comment made by Spiderchick on the main site comes to mind. I don't think her offering to beat the old captain bodes well for the rest of us.

PT, you are right that CrossFit isn't for everyone, although it could be with proper training and coaching. The problem is, that not everyone has that, and improper form, as well all know, is what truly does set us up to get injured. People get injured using the machines just as often, but no one seems to notice that because, well, that's not crazy.

As for Captain Picker, I do agree. In my post I said I was surprised at some of the very angry responses that were put out there. I think some of them were a direct result of shooting a response and thinking after the fact. Something as a teacher I try very hard not to do, because once you pop off about something in an email, you can't take it back. I do think some of the posts were dead on, and some of them were extreme. PT tests are in no way scaled, so how are they not considered an off the shelf program? But regardless, my point at the end is that although Captain Picker definitely shot himself in the foot in the CrossFit community and will forever be known for what he said, I think it was a good thing. I think that it made people talk, and hopefully it got him to think. I know through reading through the posts, some very thoughful emails were sent offerring to take time to teach him about CrossFit. Hopefully he will read through them and decide to listen to his brothers and sisters in arms who are in high support of this program.

Brad said...

My Uncle was a guest star on Walker, Texas Ranger.

Katie said...

And how long were you going to hold onto that tidbit huh? Geez Brad. :P

Lars said...

Ho my, where to start:

Video: I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that I find anything put out by Will Ferrel or most of his "comedian" colleagues (Sandler, Stiller, etc...) instantly forgettable.

Defending the faith, sorry crossfit: I've never had the urge to evangelize anything I've been into. I don't know why, but I've always been perfectly happy doing my thing, and letting everyone else do theirs. Now if someone were to come up to me and ask me, that'd be something else entirely :)

Spider Monkeys:

Don't really look all that scary now do they?

Lars said...

blogger ate my spidermonkey link

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/spider-monkey.html

Katie said...

Maybe they don't look scary, but if one was flying at you, do you think you might be slightly concerned?

Lars said...

Hmm, maybe slightly. If there were like twenty of them :)

On-topic: It's a bit like a turf war isn't it? We all would like to protect what we percieve to be ours.

Katie said...

Hmmm... Lars, that's an interesting perspective. I kind of rather like that. A turf war... protecting what we perceive to be ours... neat thought.