Crossfit is exactly what I thought it was going to be.
Tuesday night, I signed up for a beginner Crossfit class. The class was scheduled for 8PM. I showed up at 7:40PM. I must have looked the part because the person at the front desk immediately got me a wavier to sign. And once she noticed I was done. She snatched it up, read it and said my name three times. And laughed. And asked, you must get that a lot? I responded with: Yea, and now I’m leaving. I tried my best to finish that sentence with a smile. Amy, as I would later learn, buried her face. Another person takes over and gives me a tour of the gym. Her kindness keeps me from leaving altogether. And I try to remind myself, I too am capable of bad first impressions.
It’s 8PM. Our instructor introduces himself and introduces the class we’re about to begin. After a few warm up stretches, we are shown how to jump across the gym floor. And shown how to do so without hurting ourselves. Cool. Then comes the wall-ball exercise. We are again shown how to proceed without hurting ourselves. And then given the ball to try for ourselves. We line up to receive these balls and with only three women at the end of the line, our instructor hands off an obviously smaller ball to the first lady in line. And pauses. The next girl in line asked for the size given to the men. No. Our instructor indicated those sizes were for men. And I piped up with AND WE ARE VAGINAS. She laughed. He didn’t. And then he surprised me with throwing the MAN-sized ball at me to catch. I let the ball fall through my fingers. See? He says. I pick up the ball and hear another patriarchal comment from him. This time I purposely drop it down. “Don’t make me feel like an asshole” he says. Let’s quickly jump back to the introduction. There was a moment where our instructor referred to himself as an asshole coach who gives his, for lack of a better word, team a difficult workout. You said it dude.
After practicing wall-balls, we moved straight into box jumps. Fortunately, here, our instructor emphasized the need to jump with confidence and use heights out minds/bodies are comfortable with, no matter the gender regulated Crossfit standard. Because of the limited amount of boxes, I was last to practice jumping. I was mesmerized by the boobs of another jumper. The instructor snapped me out of my daze and asked if I wanted to try on the lower ledge of the gym floor. Away from the boxes… He misunderstood my daze for fear. Body language was on his side. I’m 5 foot, something. The boxes were already higher for me than for everyone else. And I am a womyn. Clearly another aspect of projecting defeat.
So yes. Crossfit reminds women of their place. In the kitchen. And using less weight and height. Furthermore, men are held to MAN standards. So if you have a penis, and you are trying out Crossfit as a newbie, like me, you lower CAN’T yourself to women standards. You’ll lose face. Even if your instructor gives you an option for downgrading. You can’t. Because no other man else is.
Yes. I got a workout. And yes, it’s three days later and I’m still sore. Crossfit is exactly what I thought it would be. INSPIRATION-INTIMIDATION. Explaining the qualifications for Crossfit games. And leaving out the process to get there is not overnight. An instructor who explains HOW TO AVOID INJURY and other misconceptions of Crossfit. Which is part of the reason why it’s taken me so long to try. And Crossfit is a MENTAL SPORT. The hardest part of trying to count and breathe at the same time.