Life Lesson #20: Play

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”  -Plato

At noon most days of the week I make the trek to CrossFit Omaha on 90th and L, and alongside about 15 other adults, people I’ve come to love and respect over the last year, we let our coach (normally Joe at noon) put us through an hour of abuse for the sake of CrossFit, the sport of fitness.  Sports have always captivated us as human beings.  Participating or watching, we’re drawn to that physical version of ourselves and others.  Even if the sport is inherently competitive, it’s still a game.  A game we’re meant to play our whole lives.  So, this is how I play.

Warming up, we joke and talk about nutrition, recovery, and mobility.  We talk about how sore we are from the day before.  This week we’ve maxed out hanging squat snatches, swung Kettlebells, done burpees and double unders, ending each workout with handshakes and congratulations before writing our performance on the white board.

The workouts are intense, varied, and challenging.  There is almost always a clock to watch, increasing the sense of urgency, pacing, and intensity. The mentality is that “routine is the enemy” so each day brings something new.  And everyone varies in their ability and their reasons to come.  But, each day we come together from all corners of the surrounding cities and suffer together and then go back to where we’re from.  For that hour, we’re connected by the workout, the sweat, and the relief in finishing.  There are PR’s (Personal Records) to celebrate, members to encourage, and no one leaves the floor until the programmed WOD (workout of the day) is over.  We’re all in it together.  For one hour out of our busy, stressful, stupid days we get to just to be our physical selves in our sport of CrossFit. We get to honor our DNA, the DNA that tells us that we were born to move.  The WOD’s are always hard, but always, somewhere in the hard there is an overwhelming amount of fun.

It’s a chance for us to run, jump, lift, press, climb, push, it’s a way for us to just play.  Looking around the box at the end of a workout, men and women panting, hearts racing, sweating angels into the floor there is an overabundance of smiles. Relief at being done, pride in finishing, satisfaction in the way the body has been brought to that point of fatigue… yet again.  And no matter how much it hurts, you just want to come back the next day for more.

Today we got to run foot races, jump on rings and lift barbells over our heads. Other days we climb ropes, walk on our hands, throw medicine balls, and lift heavy stones.  Sometimes it’s about moving fast sometimes its about lifting heavy, but it’s always about that hour that for so many of us that love it, is the most fun we’ll have the whole day.  That hour a day for us to get out of everything outside the gym walls that will be waiting for us when we finish.  That hour to play.

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