Being a Legacy Based CrossFit Wild South Organism


Stacy and I were having a laugh yesterday about my CFWS membership. He was calling me a “Legacy Member”. I first became a member of CrossFit Wild South in October or November 2013, so I suppose that is a bit “legacy’ now, although it only seems like yesterday. Many of us do have a history with CrossFit Wild South of that long, and many of us actually even longer.

The thing that made it funny was the term “Legacy”. I used to work in the IT sector, and I know what the term “Legacy System” means. I worked on these systems trying to make them immune to the Year 2000 bug (remember that, some of you may not). For those that don’t, essentially the world was nearly going to blow up, on New Year’s Eve 1999-2000. Older computer systems weren’t really designed at the time to roll over the date from the Year “99” to the Year “00”, and nobody quite knew what would happen. The year “00” could mean 1900 or 2000, or any other year ending in “00”, which was not ideal. Especially if it was the confused software attached to a GPS satellite that a plane uses for controlling their autopilot system, or if it was a launch system that controlled a nuclear warhead. Not knowing what is happening with these sorts of things, and guessing the outcome is less than ideal. But in summary, heaps of IT geeks like me did heaps of work in a hurry, and the world didn’t blow up. Today the term “legacy system” is a synonym for old, outdated, past their used by date computer systems, and I laughed about being called one myself.

In the context of CrossFit the term “legacy”, (or being “old and outdated”) raised some interesting thoughts for me. What is it about Crossfit that just keeps me returning day after day at soon to be 50?

During last nights’ workout, I got some strict(-ish) Toes-to-Bar. These were not a PB. These were not my first Toes-to-Bar, but they were my last successful ones since before my shoulder surgery, which was before my back surgery, and I’m guessing, my first ones in 2.5 years. Shock horror you say, talking of injuries and surgeries at CrossFit. That is a sore point, but it is not true to say CrossFit caused them. My injuries came from living life, not from CrossFit. CrossFit highlighted my underlying, undealt with, rugby head, kiwi male, she’ll be right, attitude towards past injuries, training, and health in general. We all learn from Crossfit that it is best to leave your ego at the door, because in the Box there isn’t anywhere to hide. If you take your ego into the Box, one of two things will happen, you will look like a dick, or your ego will get badly beaten up, maybe both. If you have a weakness, or in my case, many weaknesses, Crossfit will find it. Flexibility, strength, old injuries, etc., check, yep, there it is. Crossfit found a number of my old injuries, but it also forced me (inspired me) to get them fixed, so I could get better. So I took some backwards steps to go forward, or was it forward steps to go forward?

For somebody like me that has a long list of PB’s (I have an Overhead Squat PB, an Annie PB, and a dreaded 14.5 CrossFit Open PB, in fact after 8 years, I have some sort of PB for most common workouts), the question is what do you do with all these PB’s? Some of them are like 5 years’ old (or longer), from like when I was closer to 40 years old, than 50.

I think what you do with them is play the long game with them. They are my PB’s after all, from when things were going well and training was consistent, or I was having a particularly good day, or I was feeling particularly bad but went to the gym anyway, or some random alignment of stars happened, and a PB came from seemingly nowhere. Stuff like that happens, I kid you not!

So when I get some Toes-to Bar after 2.5 years, an Overhead Squat 40kg below my PB, or I manage to link 10 Double-Unders together, when I used to be able to get 50 unbroken during Annie, it actually does mean something to me. It actually means maybe more to me now. I normally stay quiet and enjoy the moment myself, as it’s kind of a personal win that only I understand.

I remember hearing both Sarah Walker (the NZ World Champion BMX rider), and (our own) Ruth Ungerer speaking at my daughter’s school a year or two ago, about their proudest sporting moments, and they weren’t what you would expect. Their proudest moments weren’t about PB’s, or medals. Both athletes replied to the question, that their proudest moment was the moment when they made the start line of their next major international event, post heavy, heavy injuries. They knew the grind, and how hard they had worked, to get back to that starting line. They said it didn’t even matter what the outcome was at that point, they had done it. In fact, I think I remember Sarah saying she got last in her heat of her returning race, but was overcome with joy at being there and enjoyed every moment of it.

What keeps me returning to CrossFit is that I love CrossFit. I love the people, I love the continual challenge, and I love trying to make myself better. I love the struggle. I don’t really care from what baseline that is. One push-up is better than none, and an Overhead Squat 40kg below my best is better than not being able to do one at all six months ago. Whilst we all work out together, everyone is on their own path. Everyone’s own path is even slightly obscured from view to them. What is around the corner, you don’t quite know, but that is why it is exciting. The cool thing about Crossfit is that you can choose almost anything physical and try and get better at it.

As the Open looms I encourage everyone to remember the long game, I am. Whether I end up 43,678th in the world or 24,654th (in the Masters 50-54 section) doesn’t really matter to me, what matters is, was I happy with my effort, and was I better today than I might have been doing it yesterday? They say that comparison is the thief of joy. I can’t beat Mat Fraser (or whoever replaces him as the best), so I just consider what I might do to be able to beat my yesterday version. Sometimes bettering my yesterday self is hard for me.

If there’s only one lesson I take from CrossFit, it’s that on any given day at the “3,2,1, beep”, I can’t wish my way to a better outcome. I am where I am today, I can’t change that, so I might as well continue my journey from where I am, and see what happens.

As a stupid ending note, try bouncing a golf ball on the end of a standard claw hammer (the end where you hit nail). That seems like CrossFit, it’s skill and accuracy. I dare you (bet Chayse tries it). Count the bounces of the golf ball. Start with trying to get 2, then 3. For the record, my PB is 85. But unfortunately, my younger brother holds the “current all-time Smith family record” at 86. There is always somebody trying to be better than you, but man, it sure does taste sour when it is your younger brother! The point is, when my PB was 5 golf ball bounces, a PB of 85 seemed inconceivable to me. But you just never know.


Steve Smith


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