A DAY IN THE LIFE OF STEVE'S CLUB AND CROSSFIT TRIBE: A TALE OF TWO TRIBES
By: Erin Davidson, a trainer/coach at Steve's Club and CrossFit Tribe.
Sometimes I really wonder what everyone hurling down Rt. 70 must think.
Here we are: set down in this little building, flipping our tires, sprinting around the tattoo parlor next door, and chucking olympic plates left and right. We have one building, two rooms and two doors; CrossFit Tribe on the left, and Steve's Club on the right. Hour by hour athletes of all ages, sizes, and abilities proudly walk through our doorways and every afternoon a throng of kids of similar variance descends upon us.
There are days when I myself hardly believe all that goes on here.
Today I arrive for the 930am CrossFit Tribe session. It is a holiday and so the Steve's Club kids will be around our facility to help create their new side of the building. As I pull in, Mere - eager for a break from the eighth grade - is leaning against the windows and parking a neon green bike. A few minutes later Ant and Rick arrive. They've walked here.
I open the door, flip on the lights and the day begins. Throughout the day more kids and Tribe members trickle in and tackle the WOD. Steve's Club peers around to see how the Tribe is doing and the Tribe waltzes through to watch the kids at work.
Mark Jackson, a relentlessly helpful Tribe member, stoops on the ground sending horse stall mats into full submission with a utility knife. He talks shop with the kids. He does what he can here in the same way that he does what he can during a WOD. He's had some lingering shoulder problems and simply subs where needed, no questions asked.
Chris, a Steve's Club athlete, also does what he can. Rehabbing a series of herniated disks in his back, I have seen Chris go from a complete inability to hinge at the hip (instead favoring risky l-spine flexion) to being able to perform a healthy kipping pullup. I have seen Chris explain functional anatomy to a fellow member in a way that would rival the wits of most typical globo gym personal trainers.
The day is waning and the Steve's Club kids haven't trained yet. Pat, a Tribe member and competitive MMA fighter, shows up early to get in some strength work before the WOD. As he warms up the kids pick his brain, talk to him about their own battles, ask him how much he lifts. It's an exchange of unspoken respect on both sides.
A few more kids enter the arena.
Justin, a 14 year old wrestler who I haven't seen since last summer, shows up looking like a completely different person. His season is done and his dreams of the Games have begun. He chews bubblegum during strength lifts and understands what it means to come to full extension in a squat, deadlift, and press...even when fatigued.
Courtney, our Amazon and a sprinter, walks in with a new piercing and sore legs. Steve gently chastizes her for not being around yesterday. Some of these kids seem to change overnight - we don't really like them to miss a day.
The exchange continues as a few more Tribe members show up early and watch from the doorway while Steve begins to explain the workout of the day. The room is loud, full of potential, and the tangible energy of a song Pat is playing over the speakers. Off the signal goes: "3, 2, 1, GO!" and the kids practically surge their way through the WOD.
The funny thing about any kind of project like Steve's Club is that usually the gains are hardly ever measurable. You work at a cause with hope that what you are doing is more 3 steps forward than 2 steps back, but you can never be too sure that what you're doing is causing any kind of change at all. Sometimes things get so crazy that you're not even sure what it is you're trying to do in the first place.
CrossFit changes this.
There are totals to be had, times to be slivered. There is measurable work to be done.
And it is work of the highest order, the highest discipline. There are kids walking around Camden now with their hearts set on the valor it takes to complete a better CrossFit Total. There are kids in Camden who were set speechless by a Tribe member who cleaned an intimidating amount of weight and who will cheer me on when they see me being clobbered by "Helen".
And now, thanks to a few very faithful sponsors (most of whom have not even met anyone from Steve's Club), all these young CrossFitters have a place to call home.
Of course, home is no small thing. I won't betray the confidence and humility of Tribe members or Steve's Club athletes in telling you all of the incredible obstacles they surmount every day they walk through our doors, but I will say that there is bravery here. Life is not always, and usually never, what we expect.
Strength prepares us for the unexpected. Endurance prepares us for the journey through it.
Life is intense. It is random. It favors the functional. At times, it is slightly ridiculous.
In short, it is CrossFit.
And these are the things I know people on Rt. 70 just don't have any idea about.