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Miki Tips: Finding Your Tribe

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I am not a religious person. But I grew up that way. My parents’ tribe of choice was the church. We were deeply involved. My mom directed the choirs and taught Sunday school. My dad sat on various financial committees and was a Lay Leader. When services were over, we all hung around afterwards, talking, laughing, lingering…no one was in a hurry to leave. We were bonded with our fellow churchgoers, and that strong sense of community helped each of us deal with the challenges we might face in the week ahead.

When I walked into a CrossFit box for the first time almost 4 years ago, I was not looking for a “group.” I was looking for a challenge. I was intimidated but curious. And I was way out of my comfort zone. I had never lifted a barbell and didn’t know what a burpee was. But the community of souls that belonged to that box welcomed and supported me. Bonded through shared suffering, we all strived to become the best possible version of ourselves. We did it together.

When Greg Glassman started CrossFit, he “sought to build a program that would best prepare trainees for any physical contingency.” As it so happens, this process also builds a powerful community. Critics like to say that people who love CrossFit “drank the Kool-Aid,” or that we’re part of a cult, or some crazy culture, and maybe we are. But I see it differently. We are a tribe.

We come together as often as we can – some of us on a daily basis – to work and sweat and be together; supporting each other through the daily WOD, sure, but just as often to listen to each other, shoot the shit, and share in the humor, sorrow and joy that make up our lives. We want to see each other succeed, whether it’s a new PR or the birth of a child. We are there for each other, plain and simple. And if enjoying the company of this group of people who show up to be healthier and live better means I’m in a cult, than that kind of cult is cool with me!

It’s easy to come to the box when you feel good. But the community is what keeps me coming back when I’m tired, or sad, or I don’t feel like it. Because I know that once I’m there, my Dark Horse tribe will lift me up again and make me feel better, ready to face the world once more. I know my family feels the same way, even my oh-so-cynical husband. So thank you – all of you – for being there. You are our tribe of choice.