In the summer of 1992 in Mahopac, New York I was a 17 year old kid that loved playing football. I was just about to be a Senior in High School. The only 2 things on my mind were girls and football. We would endure grueling work outs that summer. The work outs consisted of morning drills, afternoon film. Sometimes late afternoon hitting drills in full pads and an evening run-through coupled with more training.
Two weeks of these triple sessions always ended the same way. With the Indian Run. A dreaded cardio training routine and the subject of Mahopac Football lore.
The Indian Run consisted of a long single file line of football players. We’d get on the track together. Coach Collins at the front of the line. Slow jog. He’d blow the whistle. The player at the back of the 50 player line would sprint – full speed to the front.
Teammates would start to yelp, scream and encourage. We knew the day was almost over. This was our final push. Dusk was creeping, and the track grew darker.
We loved it.
Cheerleaders, parents and pop warner football players would gather to watch. Another whistle, and another full dash to the front.
Here came the cheers. Here came the support. Here came the camaraderie. I loved those summer nights. I still dream of them. I yearned for the camaraderie. The support. The fellas. I shed blood with those guys. We’d end at with a full sprint, take a knee at the 50 yard line. Hear words of encouragement from Coach Keevins, and head into the locker room. Exhausted – with huge smiles on our faces. The sweet pain of a day beating the hell out of our bodies.
At the time, we were oblivious to the hardships that may lay in front of us. The only concerns we had centered around whether we would have a starting spot on the roster, or if the girl we liked, liked us back.
I don’ t think I fully comprehend how deeply that type of joint effort bonds us as humans.
Last night, I had just completed our WOD (Work out of the Day). I was panting. I could have collapsed. Because we had staggered our work out, 50% of the gym were still in the middle of their work out. 50% were finishing. Shouting “TIME!” as we completed the work out – to our coach.
A young woman who had just joined, was doing pull ups. She had modified the exercise for her strength level with bands. I saw her effort and look of concern, and started to cheer her on. Our coach and owner Chris Guerrero came over to help her with her form. He grabbed her feet and encouraged her to relax her legs. She was getting better. She started to fly through her pull-ups. She was working out next to three others. More began to cheer each of them on. Than two of us were cheering her. Then three and soon the whole class was clapping and cheering. We all supported her. The WOD ended. We all had huge smiles on our faces. We could all barely breathe. Some hit the floor. Some tried to keep moving so they could make it to their water bottles. Seeking some sort of relief from the burning in their chests.
Yesterday someone asked me what I loved so much about CrossFit, and it hit me.
I shed blood with my fellow CrossFitters, and when I do – I feel like I’m 18 again.
“For he today, that sheds his blood with me, shall always be my brother.” — William Shakespeare
I crave it. No judgement. Full support. No business. No family. No spouses. Just blood sweat and tears for one hour. I’d argue it’s meditative. All the commotion of our lives blocked out. All the responsibilities are gone. All the focus is on our form, execution and effort. We don’t think about the presentation tomorrow. Or taking the kids to the doctor appointment, or the nagging client.
That moment last night – that’s why I’m addicted to CrossFit.
So now what? I recommend researching Crossfit first to make sure it’s for you. It can seem intimidating, but once you get started, you will see incredible changes in your body. I was lucky. I’m one block away from one of the best Crossfit affiliates in the nation. I’ve even profiled the owner on this blog. I recommend you check out Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews, and ask your friends. If there are people at your same fitness level who have tried Crossfit, ask them what their experience was like. I had a bunch of friends who were members at a great Crossfit gym in Mt. Kisco. I knew it was too far from my office to make a commitment to training there. I Googled Crossfit Westchester, and got lucky. Do your research, ask around, and get to it. You’ll thank me for it, I promise.