Below is an update from a statement I sent out earlier in the week about our future as a CrossFit affiliate following the comments made by the CEO a few days ago.
Let’s Take It Back
I’m going to start this statement by going into my own history with CrossFit, how it’s changed my life and why this is such an important statement for me and why it has been such a difficult decision.
After picking up an injury whilst serving in the Army I found I could no longer run or tab long distances. At a time when fitness had become a huge part of my life, this had a huge impact. I found CrossFit whilst I was on physical rehabilitation in 2011.
When I eventually plucked up the courage to look up my local box, that’s exactly what I did. I searched for ‘CrossFit near me’. I didn’t search for strength and conditioning, or community fitness, or similar. I looked for CrossFit.
I imagine as you’re reading this, perhaps you can remember finding us in the same way.
I remember going to my local box around that time and completely falling in love with everything about CrossFit… The unique layout of the gym, the distinctive smell of the gym matting, the high fives after the WOD, the supportive coaching, the friendly community that accepted me before they even knew me, the nerves I’d feel on the way there, the exhaustion and simultaneous exhilaration after a workout. I loved it, all of it.
Then, when I left the Army I joined my local affiliate in Liverpool and found much of the same things, albeit done slightly differently. And then I moved back to Birmingham and found the same thing. And as I’ve travelled all over the world, I keep finding those same things. Again, and again, and again.
That is what CrossFit is. And that is what has connected me with all of you reading this now.
CrossFit truly changed my life and gave me a focus and sense of community that I lost when I left the Army in 2014. Without CrossFit I genuinely don’t know how I’d have coped. I saw how powerful this community and lifestyle can be and wanted to share that with as much passion and enthusiasm as my coaches before me.
So, I set out to create a welcoming and fully inclusive environment when I opened the doors in 2015. Somewhere everyone, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation etc would feel welcome and fully supported in bettering their life through exercise. And, I genuinely believe that we’re achieving that.
I wanted to help change peoples lives for the better and every single day that’s what get’s me out of bed. That is my purpose in life. It’s what drives me. It’s what I love doing. CrossFit is my method of doing that.
What we have here at CrossFit Wrexham is indeed very special and I’ve worked very hard along with the coaching team to build that and I know we are all extremely proud and fiercely protective of what we have.
But what we have is an extension of what Greg Glassman created all those years ago. What we have is in large owed to CrossFit.
Having done CrossFit for nearly 9 years and owned a box for 5 of those years I’ve learnt a fair bit about Greg Glassman before this news. What I do know is that he absolutely loves this community.
Bringing it up to speed…
Since hearing the news of his comments and knowing the nature of Greg and what he believes in and stands for I feel shock and disappointment – if you hadn’t heard of him, or didn’t know much about Greg before this news I imagine you may feel more anger than anything and that’s what I’ve seen echoed through social media.
I’ve just finished a call with the CrossFit HQ representatives for the UK along with 300 other, very angry, very disappointed and quite frankly, very upset affiliate owners. Most of which I’ve no doubt are proverbially sitting on the fence in which way to take their own boxes too.
We wanted answers. That call today gave me the answers I needed in order to make this decision.
Early on in that call, an affiliate owner, Andy spoke up and made a stand which completely made up my mind for our direction forward. Here’s what he said:
“I don’t really see many black faces here, so I might be coming from a different angle from you guys. What Glassman did was wrong but it doesn’t define me or my community and how I do CrossFit and it doesn’t reflect on how you guys do CrossFit either.
With Glassman out of the way, we need to find a way to move forward together. I love CrossFit, it’s my life and I could deaffiliate to make a stand but if I do then I can’t do anything to prove that CrossFit is not that and as a community that’s not who we are.”
Two parts of this really resonated with me, I’ll repeat them.
“What Glassman did was wrong but it doesn’t define me or my community”
“If I do [deaffiliate] then I can’t do anything to prove that CrossFit is not that and as a community that’s not who we are”
Do I think Greg Glassman is racist? No. What I believe is that he has taken out his own frustrations in an unforgivably insensitive manner. Do I think CrossFit should have taken a stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. Yes, for such an inclusive community not to do so, seemed bizarre. If I believed for a second that Greg really was racist, my decision would be very different.
Glassman has now stood down, no doubt following quite a few big names in CrossFit making the decision to deaffiliate. Upon hearing the news, my knee jerk reaction was also that if Greg was found to be racist I would also be notifying CrossFit of a termination of contract. It all hung on that call today.
I agree wholeheartedly. Changes do need to be made and if they are not, or if anything else comes to light in the coming weeks or months then I will reconsider this decision.
But after the impact CrossFit has had on my life, I can’t help but feel an enormous amount of loyalty towards the brand and I want to be part of CrossFit that get’s this right. l want to be part of CrossFit when we rebuild this thing and rebuild it better than ever.
CrossFit Wrexham is our identity, not Greg Glassman.
CrossFit Wrexham defines us.
We are staying CrossFit Wrexham.