First, I would like to say that I am sorry this is what is taking up our mental energy right now. Part of me thinks, man we have bigger things to be worrying about, but another part of me thinks making changes in any and all parts of life are vital and worth worrying over. This post is to get a bunch of my thoughts down to hopefully help people see where I am coming from and what my commitments are.
I wanted to quickly clarify the CrossFit affiliate structure because I am hearing some real confusion from you all. We, as affiliates, pay a licensure fee. I pay to put CrossFit in our name and to describe our training. We are not instructed or told how to do anything outside of maintaining our credentials. They supply tons of information to help us with how to coach/train movements. But HQ has absolutely nothing to do with my daily operations. Because of that, I rarely really paid attention to what Greg Glassman did or said, which was a mistake on my part. So none of your BTWB or memberships or anything is changing. I have some legal obligations to fulfill around the brand, but you will not feel any of that, just name changes, logos, domains.
Next clarification point is that my love and sadness around CrossFit is not financially driven whatsoever. I honestly believe we’d probably do better off financially if the name weren’t attached to us. In fact, I was going to start focusing our marketing/branding efforts on the Harmony Wellness side of our business because I knew I couldn’t provide the quality/service to our CFSL members with all the state/county regulations if we added a bunch more members. I was excited to start adding all sorts of things that highlighted all the skills and knowledge we truly hold in this facility. Monday morning I cried on and off all morning. I’m not much of a crier, so I had to search my emotions to figure out what the heck was all this about. Tiny background on me, I grew up in the sticks of Florida. There was, and maybe still is, an active KKK charter there. There was some blatant, overt racism going on. Meanwhile, my parents were “hippies” (self-proclaimed) AND they were both ministers with a lot of education and experience in the world. They bought land there because it was inexpensive and we could live off the land. My parents were activists, especially my mom. They protested and fought for civil rights well before most of us were alive. They taught us, their children, how to be in this world based on their beliefs and experiences. Imagine how much I did not understand this place I grew up in. At home I was taught one thing and in my environment I saw something so different. I saw that uncontested, in your face racism first hand. I didn’t understand, but I knew it was wrong. Fast forward through the years: I played tons of sports, I went to college and physical therapy school, travelled the country as a traveling physical therapist. I started seeing how other parts of the country lived. When I landed here, in California, I started seeing more of what a world could be like. In 2007, a friend introduced me to CrossFit. I liked how it felt like sport again, I liked being on a ‘team’, I liked the competition with self and others. In 2008, I went to the second ever CrossFit Games. They were such healthy people, they cheered harder for the last person in the competition, they all respected effort and character. I had never seen anything like it in all my years in athletics. It was so unifying. It was inspiring. I finally felt like I found what I could be part of to make a difference in this world, physically and mentally. That is why I cried Monday morning vacuuming up these dumb leaves on the turf. If CrossFit fractures, we become another Us and Them. I don’t want more Us and Them. I want more we. I want more unity across the US and the world. I want more respect of character and shared humanity. I want more people willing to put in the hard work to be better humans. I want more people to question their biases. I want to be better myself. I want more knowledge by being with people who have different stories than me. CrossFit is so much more than a corporation. And if it fractures, it will be a great loss.
Pride in who we are. A few people asked about wearing their CrossFit San Leandro shirts/gear. Please never be embarrassed of who you/we are. You did nothing wrong in this moment. Instead, be proud of what we’ve done in this community. Be proud of what CFSL stands for. Let someone ask you about the word CrossFit on our chest. Tell them the greater CrossFit community was so appalled and cared so much about how people of color, specifically black Americans, were being treated, athletes dropped their livelihoods and passions overnight, owners ended very long/deep relationships with HQ overnight, they fought so hard they got the founder and CEO to take a look at himself and step down within 48hrs. I would’ve bet you any amount of money that wasn’t going to happen. Be proud of us and what we’ve done under this name. If the name changes, it doesn’t change what we do here or what we have done.
I am sure most of you want a clear answer, are we an affiliate or aren’t we. My renewal is up in roughly two months. I want to fight with the other owners for real and meaningful change within this organization on lots of areas. I want to go out knowing I gave it my all to improve something that has already done so much good in this world. To quote my good friend Claude “I ain’t no droppin’ ass bitch”. I’ve been availing myself to any and all calls with other owners, I am learning from and supporting people who understand corporate structure better than me, and I am daily looking within myself. Changing out the CEO is not enough for me. I have no huge expectations, but I do have hope. Hope that CrossFit can still be unifying, that HQ can be so much better, that HQ can actually say and mean Black Lives Fucking Matter. Please trust me that I will do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. I would love for you, CFSL community, to not have this on your list of mental stressors, but I know that’s easier said than done. I will keep communicating and letting you all know what is going on.
Lastly, my little request or challenge to you all. Not all of us are scholars or eloquent, charismatic speakers or have deep understanding of historical impacts on people, BUT we all have the capacity to ask ourselves why we think the way we think. We have the capacity to sit with people who have different life lessons than us and truly listen. I am so lucky that I have friends who will sit with me, who will share their life stories with me, who will have meaningful conversations with me. It is up to me to STFU and listen. If you don’t have that available, just ask yourself “why do I think this way”. Start checking in with your own default patterns and biases. “Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” ~ Dalai Lama.
I love you.