Dear Climate CrossFit,
It has been nearly two months since I last worked out with y’all. And to be honest, I am missing each and every one of you. So I hope you allow me this time to pop back into your lives for a moment, and talk about the first time I met Climate CrossFit, and remind all of you just how special each of you are.
The first time we met, I was left shaking in the legs, out of breath, and lying on my back. I had just driven 3.5 day drive from Seattle to Omaha, Nebraska. I had never lived outside of Washington state.
I knew absolutely nobody. I had just turned 24, and about to embark on the beginning of my medical career. And while I pride myself on keeping an even emotional keel, I would be lying if I did not admit swirls of uncertainty, anxiety, and nervousness weren’t twisting around in my gut.
It was 4:45 am, as I woke up in my studio, all of 430 square feet, in the apartment complex “City View”, or as the locals colloquially referred to it, “Shitty view.” My body ached and groaned from the 10-12 hours I had spent in the car during previous days, but I was determined to reinstitute some familiarity in my life. So with this in my, I had compiled a list of gyms I was going to visit.
First on the docket, was this place called Climate CrossFit.
I had visited the website several days prior and laughed as giant text “THUNDERDOME” greeted me at the front page. I looked up how far it was from my apartment, and figured this would be the best one to visit first.
I rolled up to a building, lit up on the inside, set across from the Children’s hospital of Nebraska. I parked my car and rubbed my eyes, hoping the pre-workout I had just choked down would begin waking up my tired body.
Immediately, I was greeted by this guy in a backwards hat, and a red beard.
I had been to enough CrossFit gyms to decipher this as code for really asking:
“Who the fuck are you?”
“Hey, my name is Morgan, I sent an email a few days ago. New to town and checking out some gyms.”
“Oh yeah, I remember your email. Sounds good, today is heavy squat day, but happy for you to join in!”
My stomach tightened up.
“Fuck.” I said in my head.
The pre-workout began to kick in, as I could feel the beta-alanine begin giving me the prickles on my finger tips and face.
After a warmup, and being instructed to find somebody who lifts “…about the same amount of weight as you hope to hit” I found myself stuck in the unfortunate situation of being able to lift more than most in the class, but being far off the 2-3 fire breathers that were also in class.
“Fuck… “ I echoed again in my head, as I began doing the mental match ups, realizing I would be lifting with what appeared to be two behemoths in the corner of the gym.
I had no choice, I had to give It a full send.
I can honestly say, that was one of the worst, most excruciating, and difficult squatting sessions I have ever taken part in. The two oxen I lifted with that day pushed me to lift more than I had in a LONG time. They yelled, I pushed hard. They yelled some more, so I pushed a little harder, and when they kept yelling, I said fuck it and pushed till it felt like I may shit right there on the gym floor. My legs were shaking before the metcon had even begun.
I couldn’t walk for 3 days. Every muscle fiber in my lower half felt like somebody was holding a candle to it, and with every movement, felt like I was wrenching it through a pile of barbed wire.
That backward hat coach, Tony boy, ended up giving me a free t-shirt. To this day, I am convinced he did so, because he was able to visibly see the agony that workout had put me through. I ended up having to cancel my other reservations at other gyms in the area, because I truly could not even walk down the stairs of my place. I would later have classmates tell me they thought I possibly had hip issues, because my gait was so awkward. Little did they know, I wasn’t walking funny because of some congenital malformation, but instead, walking odd because my ass was so goddamn sore.
At the end of my week, I had gone to exactly two CrossFit gyms, three short of the total I was hoping to achieve. But as I sat there, looking at my free climate CrossFit t-shirt, still writhing in uncomforting soreness from the workout I had done 4 days prior, I knew there was really only one place for me to join.
So for two years, I called you home. You were my sanctuary away from the world of medicine. A respite to hide away from the esoteric and academic demands of my life. You gave me an immediate group to call my own, and a foothold to begin building relationships in this new phase of my life. Within your quarters, I achieved physical feats I never thought I would be able to accomplish. I was pushed to my breaking point, both mentally and physically. You served as the nidus for so much of my development, both as a person, but also as a future physician. For this, and so much more, I will forever be indebted to the place, and people, of Climate CrossFit.
One of the more difficult aspects of CrossFit, I have found, is the constant change. Change in the form of new coaches, new location, new members, or new programming. CrossFit is not, nor will ever be, the same entity in each of our lives. For some of us, it will be a seasonal event, something that in this particular phase of our life, we did, and then moved on from. For others, it will become a major facet of your life, and a large epicenter in your life’s considerations.
Neither are particular better or worse than the other, as attrition and change are inescapable aspects in all of our lives. But it is my hope that no matter how long, or short, you experience with this thing we call “CrossFit” may be, we are all able to glean from it what I believe are important lessons and opportunities that extend beyond simply working out. The opportunity to form relationships with people who aren’t like us. People who talk different, look different, and live life with a different perspective. Lessons in humility, courage, and friendship. Occasions to mentally and physically engage in self-doubt, failure, and success. It gives us all a chance to progress, and learn new skills often at points in our lives when we thought we were done learning, growing, and expanding who we are. It can feel disingenuous at times, to attribute such chances at attaining or exploring large, and daunting ideas like these, onto something that feels so insignificant as a workout regimen. But to such a dismissal, I strongly disagree. CrossFit can be as small or as large as you want it to be. It’s what you put into it, that will often dictate what you get out.
Two months apart, and I often find my mind wandering to some of the special times I spent at Climate, and more importantly, with the people who were within. I miss each of you, dearly. But it is my hope, even when things change, or if you decide that your time with CrossFit is done, that you cling to some of these ideas and challenges it may have brought into your life. That you continue to test yourself, and truly ask if your actions are aligned with the values and goals in your life. And that you never forget, to stay rooted in kindness, humility, and a resounding courage, even in the face of thundering doubt.
It is an unfortunate reality I will not likely see many of you again. But Please, never forget how thankful I am for the time I got to spend with you. For the rest of my days on this earth, I will look back at my time spent in the great Midwest with nothing but happiness and gratitude in my heart. I wish I had more than words, but for now, it’s all I can give.
Climate CrossFit, truly, was one of the best chapters in my life, and I just wanted to say Thank you, and that I hope you all continue to flourish, in all aspects of your life. So for one last time, for being the friends I always needed, the training partners I was so fortunate to have, and a community that never ceased to amaze me…. Thank you.
Best of luck, and with love,