Last year was very much the "giddy honeymoon stage" - I was excited by the progress that I had made in a year’s time, enamoured by the possibilities of the future, and overwhelmed by the amount of mutual love and understanding that permeated throughout the entire Crossfit community. I had developed a sense of appreciation and awe for my friends and coaches, and could feel exciting things coming my way - but had no solid expectations as to its essence or its scale.
This year's anniversary marks what I view as a consolidation stage. The trembling transfer student who was simply relieved to fit in with a host family last year now feels safely at home with a loving family that she is proud to call her own. The starry-eyed appreciation that I had felt for my community has now become a comfortable feeling of belonging, and the relatively distant awe that I felt for my incredible coaches and friends has now become an intimate and heartfelt respect that only continues to grow. The complete disbelief that certain Crossfit movements were even humanly possible has been mollified by a deeper understanding that under every superhero cape is a uniform of hard work and determination.
The one thing that has not changed from day 1 to day 730 is a deep gratefulness. Another year of experience means another year's worth of challenges, and some training days were so discouraging that I know that if I didn't love the sport so much and that if I didn't have such a supportive coaching team and community at my back I would never have been able to persevere. It is because I can’t help but break into a wide grin when I enter the doors to the box, because I can program my mind to count reps and not worries when I train, because training reminds me that I have goals to reach for, because I know that if I’m strong enough to do weighted pull-ups it is impossible that I’m not strong enough to beat down a tiny voice in my head - it is because of these things that I have been able to leap over rough patches much more quickly and completely. Crossfit quite literally saved my life in so many ways - the “never settle” mentality and the knowledge that strength is only limited by how much you are willing to give are factors which often help light a bulb in the dark room that I can’t find the door to walk out of.
One can say that my life has become dominated by Crossfit, and I’ll be the first to admit that this is totally true. It is totally true that I still get unreasonably excited to train, totally true that my coach cares about more than just my training and makes sure that my lifestyle is on point as well, totally true that my friends care beyond the box to hang out after a gruelling workout, to support me at a singing performance, or just to check on me when I am buried in school work. My life is indeed dominated by Crossfit, because my community cares enough to reach into my life and be there during the moments outside the box that matter to me.
Just like any journey, each day brings a piece to the puzzle - some good, some bad, some exceptional, and some absolutely mediocre. I recount the tears that pooled in my eyes when I completely failed my first attempt at the first workout of the 2015 Crossfit Open, the ecstatic disbelief that filled me when I actually placed in a Crossfit competition, the frustration at the end of a seemingly fruitless training session where even endless repetitions and drills didn’t do the trick, and the everyday excitement of cheering others on at the gym - I look back at all these moments with a knowing smile. I smile as I do at the completion of any puzzle - knowing that every moment spent finding the position of a puzzle piece, whether they are the ones that fit in immediately, or the ones that make you wonder if the production company has accidentally slipped a faulty piece into the box by mistake - every piece is a worthwhile one.