Thursday, July 22, 2010

What does it mean to be a CF "badass"?

Before I start writing this post, I want to post a little disclaimer. If you take a look at that really big blog title up here.... look up, little higher, little... uh huh! Yup there you go... you got it... If you notice, it says KATIE'S Mindless Ramblings. Not Kristen or Amanda or Sarah or Jane... KATIE'S. That means that all the thoughts contained in this blog are my own. Love 'em or hate 'em, they're my thoughts and opinions. Of course my thoughts and opinions are ALWAYS subject to change... it's my perogative (Thank you Bobby Brown), but regardless they are still MY thoughts. Do you have to agree with them? Of course not! But if you're coming to read my blog and read my thoughts and opinions, I will only say one thing. Be respectful. I welcome and encourage other thoughts and opinions, regardless of whether you're a regular commentor, a lurker, or someone who has stumbled upon me for the first time. However, I will not tolerate stupidity, ignorance, or disrespect. You wanna attack me for sharing my thoughts? Pack a lunch pal 'cause I won't put up with it. Now, having said that, on to the day's ramblings....

This past weekend was a busy weekend for me with shifts at my restaurant and two swim meets, and needless to say, I was not able to glue myself to the computer to watch the live streaming of the CrossFit Games. When I got some down time on Tuesday to go check things out, I have to say that I became apalled. When I started to read the message boards and saw all the people tearing one another to shreds over one another's opinions, it nearly made me sick to my stomach. The CF community has thrived due to the support system that it has ultimately created. But on that particular thread, it almost seemed to be a case of "he who bitches the loudest and the longest wins". On and on the threads went about who's badass and who isn't and who should've won and how unfair it was... instead of just congratulating the athletes. Now, I understand fully that this is real life, and real life is not always, as my ex used to say, "happy go poppy". Things can't always be nice and full of bunnies and fluffy cute kittens (Did you see Despicable Me??? IT'S SO FLUFFY!!! Sorry... sidetracked). People have opinions, people start arguments, and people in general will be, well... people. But it seemed that the one thing that kept coming up on the threads was this idea of "being badass". People kept saying one thing or another made someone a badass and it really got me to thinking what all this "badass" stuff was about.

I have a hard time imagining what it must have been like for Coach Glassman as he sat dreaming up the idea of CF. How in the world could anyone have dreamt this up? I mean really. That aside though, I can picture him wanting a new type of fitness, a better way to train, but I have a hard time seeing him sitting in his basement going, "Well damn. I just want to make people badass." I don't see that as being part of the logic for him starting all this. But it seems to be an idea that is now running rampant in the CF community. Everyone is striving to be "badass". But what does that even mean? There seems to be, at least in this girl's opinion, a subculture forming in CF that is focused on their "badassitude" and believes that badasses are made more by appearance and personality than actual actions. It seems that they have the idea that just walking through the door with a certain type of image makes someone a badass.

Now, before you go all psycho, breathe. I think you know what I'm driving at. It seems that there are a lot of people out there coming into the CF world because it's the hip/cool thing to do. They seem to think that by showing up and looking/acting a certain way, it makes them a badass, which therefore is wicked cool. Being a true badass IS seriously wicked cool. But you know what, here's a clue. Tatting yourself until you're blue in the face doesn't make you badass. Wearing next to nothing to the box does not make you badass. Swearing so much that your mother breaks out the bible does NOT make you badass. So what does? In this girl's opinion, again MY opinion, there are a few key factors to being a badass. What are they you ask? I'm so glad you asked! I'd be happy to tell you! :)

Showing up to the wod

If you're truly going to be a badass, in my opinion, you need to show up for the wod. Not once a week, or twice a week when you're feeling great and ready to take on the world. Or not once or twice a week when it's something you know you're good at and you like to do. To be a badass you need to show up, regardless of the circumstances, and hit the wod. Whether you're sore, have 2 hours of sleep, two kids screaming your name, or a stack of work waiting at the office... badasses make the time and get it done. They show up regardless of how sore they are, how off they feel, how much they know they suck at the wod, and to put it quite simply, they put in the work. Does this mean they crush EVERY single wod? No. They have their off days and their chinks in their armor, but a true badass doesn't shy away from getting it done. A badass knows the importance of working out and working the weaknesses. A badass doesn't focus ONLY on the things they do well. A true badass knows that they are only as good as their weakest link.


Raise your hand if you think a badass is someone who starts a wod, then walks away when it gets hard. Ok, now raise your hand if you think that a badass is someone who is content to only go at about half speed on a wod? That's what I thought. A badass is someone who not only comes in and hits the wod, but has drive and determination to grit through and gut through every wod, as hard as they can. Badasses don't stop in the middle of a wod, shrug their shoulders and say, "I'm just not feeling super powerful. I'm going to stop today." Badasses don't say, "I'm going to just you know, take it easy today." Badasses don't pick the lighter barbell/kettlebell for the day, "just cause". No, wrong answer. Badasses are people who say, "This wod is kicking my ass, but I'm going to get through it." Or, "I feel like total poo, but I'm just going to go as hard as I can." Right there, that's what makes someone a badass. Literally just going down deep within themselves to find the guts to just keep going and to push it as best they can. Lord it sucks, but they find a way. It takes guts to be a badass.

The "Know When to Fold 'Em" Gene

Now, having said what I said about grit and guts, someone who is truly a badass also possesses a certain knowledge and understanding that I like to call the "Know When to Fold 'Em" gene. A true badass will push themselves to their limits, but a true badass also knows when a risk is not worth the reward. As CF'ers we flirt, DANGEROUSLY sometimes, with the line between hard work and just plain being stupid. A true badass is someone who knows when that line has been crossed. As CF'ers we want to push ourselves to the edge to become those elite athletes, but at some point, we also need to know when to pull back away from that edge so that we don't go hurtling over into an abyss. What good is finishing a wod if after doing so, you can't walk/work/move correctly for a month? That's not helping you continue to grow as an athlete. A badass knows when to push through, but a badass also knows when they just need to walk away. As Willie said, "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run." A badass knows. Kind of like Chuck Norris. They just KNOW.


Let's be honest. What would a badass be without a few stellar performances? Maybe it's their strength, maybe it's their speed, but badasses have some things in their wheelhouses, and man, WHEW! It's really impressive when they let them out. This isn't to say that a badass must have complete mastery of all areas and domains of CrossFit. Everyone has chinks. But it is saying that a badass should be a pretty good performer when 3-2-1 gets called.

And last but not least, perhaps the most important key to being a TRUE badass....


You know what struck me most about the comments on the CF Games thread? Aside from the name calling and general arguing, it was the comments from the athletes themselves. All through that thread, people were arguing about safety, the points system, how unfair it was, who SHOULD have won... and then in the midst of it all were calm comments from the athletes themselves. This to me was the EPITOMY of what it means to be a true badass, and why those athletes are badasses.

A true badass is someone who understands that there are days where wods will be crushed, and wods that will crush them. There will be days when their efforts are enough to win, and days when their best will fall short. A true badass knows these things, understands their abilities, and celebrates their successes and failures without insulting others. A true badass understands the value of having an opportunity and is grateful to those who made it happen and supported it while it happened. A true badass knows that there is always work to be done, and that there is no such thing as perfection. A true badass knows that they should always speak softly and rock your world when 3-2-1 goes down. True badasses don't need to laud themselves from the mountaintops. Their actions speak for them. They possess the ultimate characteristic of a true badass... humility. For these athletes, no words are necessary to let everyone know how badass they are... they simply are. However, if they happen to own a cool pair of socks that HAPPENS to mention their badassitude... well, that's ok too... ;)
Now is this saying that you can't be a badass if you like to swear a lot, wear next to nothing, and cover your body in tattoos? No, absolutely not. That's a lifestyle/body style/workout attire that some people prefer. But I'm saying that those things alone, which seem to be such prevalent indicators of badassitude in CF these days, do not automatically make someone a badass. If you wanna be a badass, you gotta pony up. Put the work in, and humble yourself down. A badass who tells everyone how badass they are, is really no badass at all. So, are YOU a badass?


Angie said...

Great post. Very well stated. You should submit this for a spot in the CrossFit Journal. It should be required reading. But I have a feeling the people that need to read it probably wouldn't "get" that it was for them.

Katie said...

Angie, I highly suspect you are onto something there...