Crossfit has a long standing tradition of creating workouts of the day, or WODs, in honor of service people who have fallen in the line of duty. Generally very tough, these workouts are referred to as Hero WODs. Typically the Hero WODs are performed on the day commemorating the event and include either weight or reps that correspond to a significant number to the fallen heroes. One of my favorite Hero WODs is the HotShots 19, dedicated to the 19 firefighters who lost their lives while defending homes in Yarnell, Arizona on June 30, 2014.
The Hero WOD is a symbol, and also a way to push ourselves through the toughest workouts, reminding ourselves of the fallen heroes, challenging ourselves mentally and physically to work harder, faster and with more intensity. For me the Hero WOD is a time to remind myself of how much a human can endure, with the right mindset. It’s also a way that I put myself, and my ultra privileged life, in the proper context. The “yes, this is hard but I’m alive and look what this hero and their families went through” self-coaching that allows me to push myself harder and tell myself “as long as I’m alive, I can do this.”
So, I was stunned, when checking the box’s blog before heading to Crossfit Up for class today, when I saw that the WOD was titled “Pulse” and was in fact a Hero WOD.
The tears and horror of this week came flooding back, and at the same time I felt safe with my feelings being so much on the surface as I walked into the gym surrounded by people pushing themselves to extremes while wearing rainbow armbands (provided by the gym). I was amazed and thankful to see this level of awareness and thoughtfulness. While the act of creating a WOD with 49 reps of anything doesn’t solve the problems we face, or bring back loved ones who have senselessly lost their lives, it creates an awareness. And most of all, with the collective thoughts of those doing this WOD focused toward the fallen people, a ripple of good was sent into the universe, in the same way a prayer circle does. These athletes will go about their day, having connected to those cut down in Orlando, even for a brief hour, in a way that will not fade because they felt it, sweated it and pushed themselves, in memory of so many vibrant lives cut short.
When I came home, I did a search and I found this one, and this one, and this one! For a sport with a history of making some really bad decisions with respect to transgender athletes, this awareness (albeit at the affiliate level) really makes me feel that the tide might be turning in our country. When ordinary, every day Americans care enough to memorialize the loss of innocent, mostly marginalized LGBTQ people, rather than fight about bathrooms, there may be some hope for normalizing our queer population.
And now, I’m wondering when we can finally say that Crossfit is every person’s sport, regardless of athleticism, age, or gender preference?