CrossFit tells us to regularly try new sports, yet the more we get into CrossFit – especially if we compete in competitions – the less likely we seem to be to venture into uncharted waters of often pathetically attempting new sports.
In fact, I asked a class of 25 CrossFit athletes the other day how many people try new sports and I received nearly 25 blank stares. Many of them couldn’t even remember the last time they went swimming.
I admit that I, too, have fallen into the trap of the CrossFit obsession at the expense of forgetting why I started CrossFit to begin with: to make life - and sport - easier.
I have this thing where I don’t like to play sports I used to be competitive at. Having played NCAA and CIS basketball, and then CIS rowing, I have absolutely no desire to flail around on the basketball court anymore. I’m never going to get back to the level I once was at, and I find myself having no touch with the ball, so turnovers and air balls dominate my rusty game.
But a new sport feels like a fresh start. So, I decided to sign up for something completely new, something I knew I would suck at. The result: Figure skating lessons.
Let me tell you what it’s done for me in the short few weeks I’ve introduced ice and blades to my life. And more importantly, if you’re a CrossFit coach, here’s why you should encourage your clients to get out of the box now and then and try a new sport!
The Challenge: I can count on two hands the number of times I’ve been on skates since I was four years old, and since finesse isn’t my greatest strength, let’s just say me on skates isn’t the height of agility. Needless to say, it has provided a welcome challenge, and forces me not to take athletic endeavors so seriously.
Humbled: It has humbled me – in a good way. In the same way CrossFit constantly humbles me, figure skating has made me feel useless and hopeful, all at the same time. I show up each week and lace up my ugly tan-coloured men’s figure skates because my feet are so large I can’t fit the pretty white women’s ones. I take to the ice and I feel completely useless, but I improve every lesson, and I have found myself inspired by those around me, which provides the hope. I look across the ice and see a girl effortlessly turning and spinning, throwing in the odd jump. I talk to her and she tells me she only began a year ago. Alas, I am inspired by a new goal – a Salchow by September!
Character Building: Other than a 60-year-old woman in my class, I’m pretty much the weakest skater in the group. And I’m ok with that. There’s something character building about putting your pride aside and being ok with being bad.
Stress Relief: Life is stressful for everyone. But during that one hour each week, my stresses get placed on the backburner, even if only for a moment. For that one hour the only thing that matters is staying on my feet, working on my inside and outside edges, on Mohawks and C-pushes. There’s something so freeing for my mind and my soul to have the biggest stress in my life in that moment be trying to keep my speed up as I skate backward and avoid flopping to my ass.
Appreciation: In the spirit of the Olympic Games, I have enjoyed figure skating at the Sochi Games more than any other time in my life. I learned last week how hard it is just to glide backward on one foot, so even watching the simplest footwork on ice at the Olympics has launched my appreciation for the sport to a whole new level. This greater Olympic experience from the sidelines has only served to pump me up for my sport – CrossFit. And what better time to be completely inspired than one week from the start of the Open Competition?
So enhance your life, get humbled, inspired, and gain appreciation. Try a new sport!