the spaz of fitness has arrived

Shameless Self-Promotion

In General on May 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Well… I’m trying not to use this site as my own pulpit (not too much, anyway), but I couldn’t resist this small opportunity. My box, CrossFit LionHeart is participating in the May Madness competition run by Ask Athletes. The premise is this: individuals post 4 sentences on the Ask Athletes’ facebook page about why they would like the free membership. The posts with the most “likes” wins a free month’s membership, funded by Ask Athletes.

I’ve posted my four sentences here: (I believe I’m comment #52ish, or close…)

This fall, I will downgrade my living space to a basement studio in order to keep paying my gym fees. It was not a difficult choice. CrossFit LionHeart has helped me reclaim my body from years of abuse and neglect; the coaches, the athletes, and the community inspire me daily to shed my limitations and to have faith in my abilities. If I could blanket myself in the rubber floor mats and wake to the alarm of the wall timer, I would—because no other place has ever felt this much like home.

I think I’ll use this space for a little more justification. I hesitated before posting because I’m… not actually sure that I deserve a free membership. I’ve been a member since the gym’s opening and I visit it on a daily basis– just to hang around sometimes. The amount of time I spend abusing their hospitality and patience probably means that I should pay more. However, I’m hoping that the box also has something to gain from its participation in this competition (perhaps even just increased visibility?), and at the very least the gym knows that I’m not going to take the free month and run. With at least four more years left in State College, I’m going to be a constant there, whether they like it or not. And, of course, I’m not going to pretend there’s not a great deal of selfishness in this pursuit. Who doesn’t like free things? I’ve been feeling a little guilty about my spending habits this month, as the trip to Taiwan (May 15-30!!!) has ripped a significant chunk from my savings. I started my MFA unaware that I’d eventually choose to pursue a PhD. The idea of spending 6 years on a grad student’s salary isn’t particularly appealing to me, but I didn’t exactly go into English for the glory and money ;).

I’ve also at times felt guilty for the amount of time I spend at the box. I worry that I’m in the way or a nuisance… but I stay because it’s the first place in State College where I felt visible or empowered. If I’m going to be entirely honest here, I came to State College at a weird time in my life, following some major familial issues and interpersonal conflicts. I’d resorted to exercise as a form of self-flagellation, in a way… It was cathartic because it hurt because I wasn’t allowing myself to think about the other things that hurt. This CrossFit gym– its observant and understanding coaches– were the ones who brought me out of my unhealthy routine. After graduating college, I spent six months in New York City and encountered a real-world beating that I needed but wasn’t ready for. Afterwards, I moved to State College– degraded, demoralized, and pathetic. The box was the first place where I saw myself as capable of anything. Confronting fears like box jumps and rope climbs (heights!) reminded me what it felt like to be strong— reminded me that fortitude comes from within, and that I have to stand on my own rather than waiting for someone to come along to prop me up. And even so… as I staggered on my trembling knees, the community formed my safety net. The trainers and the athletes here supported me when I needed it– and yelled at me too, when I didn’t know I needed it.

This past week, I conducted my MFA thesis reading for the completion of my degree. Traditionally, MFA candidates read excerpts from their theses for a small audience. Most MFAs invite family members. Mine couldn’t attend. I received a few odd critiques from peers in my department that I had invited CrossFitters to my reading– that, instead of parents or siblings, I had the friends with whom I grind out thrusters and pull-ups each morning. But these people have pried my sobbing, trembling body off the ground. They’ve helped me bind ripped hands and torn shins. They’ve caught me when I staggered, nudged me forward when I strayed, and pulled me back when I stumbled too close to the edge. If that’s not family… what is?

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  1. […] you haven’t already, please consider reading my post about the Ask Athletes’ facebook competition and liking my Facebook comment. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have a shot at this thing […]

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