I have started and re-started this blog about 100 times. OK. That is a total lie. But I have started and re-started roughly 8 times. Of that, I am quite sure.
It was going to originally be something a little more cut and dry than the sap I am about to throw at you. But it was going to be about the idea of team. What we learn by being on teams growing up and how we play different roles on teams during our lives at different times. We have led, followed, coached, and been coached. I was also going to dig into how this relates to CrossFit and the need to be a part of a team and the joy we get from being on teams even as adults. The benefits of having healthy competition with those around us. Diving into the group atmosphere and the camaraderie and the accountability that make CrossFit and Roux so effective and life-changing.
And while there might be a blog on that another day, I struggled to get started. I have never, ever been on a “traditional” sports team. Don’t get me wrong, I did ballet growing up and that is absolutely a sport. But it lacks a lot of the elements that make traditional team sports so fun to watch a be a part of.
For example: when my blistered feet hurt in my shoes, I couldn’t collapse on the stage, wincing, and call for the backstage medical staff to come re-wrap my toes. Or when my partner and I nailed our pas de deux, we couldn’t stop and fist bump or do a celebration dance down the aisles of the auditorium. I guess we technically could have, but it would have been frowned upon.
While most times, that team “togetherness” was always alive and well backstage during performances, there was a stoicism and “may the best man win” mentality that sometimes made it different and difficult.
So fast forward to me struggling to start this damn blog. And a thought occurred. I didn’t need to simply write about sports teams to get my point across. In my opinion, at its core, being on any team means being a part of something bigger than yourself. And my next thought was that if I were to list my top 4 moments on Team Roux (granted these might vary slightly depending on the day) that 3 of the 4 had very little or absolutely nothing to do with me.
Sure, a couple of my own accomplishments changed my mentality, my mindset, my life. But most of the things that stood out were being witness to the accomplishments of those around me. There’s something really wonderful about feeling like you’re not alone and that your hard work (even if done alone) is being seen and appreciated.
So before I say anything else, I want to take a second to talk about those top 4.
Renee was not a coach at Roux for long before she had to move, but she sure made an impact. She joined Roux, got certified, and before we knew it was a coach and a part of the community that we couldn’t be without. Her strength was quite literally her strength. Renee lifted heavy and made no apologies for it, often doing the men’s weight or even more in workouts. And absolutely crushing it. Something that didn’t come as easily was gymnastics. She was determined to get a bar muscle-up, and you bet your sweet ass she did. After working for weeks and seeking advice from multiple people, she did it! I remember crying as she locked out, screamed, and kicked her feet in triumph. She had finally mastered something that had alluded her and she owned it. Her joy wasn’t just palpable, it enveloped the rest of us in the gym that day and created an atmosphere in which everything seemed possible.
Stephanie is an OG member of the Roux Krewe. When Bradley started Roux at Playmaker’s Indoor Soccer Facility, Stephanie was one of the first to show up. Not only is she one of the most disciplined humans I have ever met, but she is gorgeous inside and out. One thing on her to-do list was to get pull-ups. In my first month of coaching, she was taking my class and the workout had pull-ups. I don’t know if I said something that finally helped or just provided the right encouragement she needed that day, but she finally got her pull-ups! And then got countless others. That was the moment I knew I could be a coach for Team Roux.
Omari’s Clean & Jerk
Sometimes at Roux we like to throwdown with each other. One of those times was an intramural olympic lifting competition. Every participant and 3 chances to hit their best snatch and 3 attempts at their best clean and jerk. One of our coaches judged and a lot of us stayed to watch our friends throw up some big numbers. One member competing was Omari. And if you have met him, you would know that he is calculated. His actions are well thought out and done with intention. He, rather quietly, got through his snatches and started warming up for clean and jerk. He probably had his headphones on most of the time. He went up for his last lift and NAILED a 300# clean and jerk. I’m just going to leave the photographic evidence here because this photo says at least 1,000 words.
My Deadlift PR
In October of 2017 I hurt my back. It was the first time I had ever experienced pain like that and to be honest, it downright terrified me. While I think I was very smart about my recovery, I felt like I had a monkey on my back. I had a certain amount of fear that lingered even when I felt normal again. Then in September of 2018 I entered a powerlifting competition that Roux hosted and my entire day was all about my last lift. I had done better than I could have hoped, but the whole day was leading up to me either making that 303# deadlift or not. And while it was just me up there, it was a team effort. For 11 months I had been able to lean into the people around me as they supported me and encouraged me in my recovery. And that day, I had so many people there yelling my name. When I got that bar up, I knew they had helped. Just like that, we had gotten that monkey off of my back.
When I joined Roux I found out what being on a team really means. I gained the biggest, best, most supportive team I have ever seen in my life. While we could go into the psychology of it all like I mentioned before and the success rates of those that do group style fitness versus being alone and how it bleeds into other parts of your life, I really just want to encourage you to either find your team or take a moment today to be thankful for the one you’re on.
In becoming part of something bigger than myself, I also became the best version of myself.
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