A Thank You Letter to SFCF: Crossfit from a Unique Perspective
December 31, 2013
Kelly & Juliet,
Happy New Years to you both. I have been remiss up to this point for not taking the time to tell you how large of an impact you have had on my life. With a new year upon us I thought that it would be a great opportunity to do so. I am sure you get these types of emails frequently, so at the risk of boring you, I’ll focus on the special facets of my particular case in the hopes of paying you an original complement.
To put it as simply as I can, I came to San Francisco Crossfit as an individual with a tactically managed disability and came out the other side as, for the first time in my life, an athlete. It contributed to a complete change in perspective on how I viewed my disability as it relates to my life and most unexpectedly my interaction with others. Over the months and years that I’ve participated, crossfit routinely exposed my physical and mental compensations. At SFCF there was no place or time to hide from them. Never in my life had my vulnerabilities been on display to so many.
Up to this point in my life I had become an adept controller of my environment. The activity I was willing to take part in was solitary and narrow. Nothing outside of my comfort zone. I took every measure to conceal my disability. I didn’t wear shorts. I didn’t swim. I didn’t run. I didn’t hike. I didn’t engage in any activity that would expose my limitations to others and on a subconscious level to myself. SFCF was the catalyst to becoming aware of how confining, self defeating and exhausting this parade had been. Kelly, I credit your skill as a PT and coach for convincing my rational mind that your perspective on fitness would be beneficial for even my compromised state. Combined with the culture you both developed, for the first time I let my guard down. The results became apparent immediately.
Crossfit begin to slowly chip away at what I thought I knew to be possible. Almost every movement on the programming I had never attempted in my life. Somethings came easier, pressing, gymnastic bar work, etc. Slowly things I though to be impossible begin to come as well. I went from hardly being able to air squat to box squatting close to 300 pounds. I went from not running, ever, I mean not at all, to running to the dock and back. Then twice, then 4 times in a workout. Then a mile. I begin to run on my own. After 6 months, I ran a 10k. I went from avoiding long distance walks to hiking a 16,000ft mountain.
Up to this point I haven’t even mentioned the specific physical knowledge which has been imparted on me. While this is obvious for anyone that is involved in crossfit, I want to make sure that you fully appreciate what it means to someone living with a life long condition. Dealing with a disability for 20 years is physical compensation writ large. I had no normal movement patterns and I had no idea. The knowledge I have acquired has influenced not only my physical activity, but how I move on a daily basis and has guided the design of my latest orthotic gear. It will be a tool that I use for the rest of my life.
I could go on about how all of the technical knowledge is utilized for my specific dilemma but I don’t want to dilute the main point. I didn’t realize at the time and it has taken a while to come to terms with it but the sobering truth is, I came into San Francisco Crossfit ashamed of my disability and I came out proud.
Your friend always,