I think we can ALL agree that 2020 has been a tumultuous year. COVID appeared in March and sent us all into uncharted territory. A “once-in-a-lifetime” (we hope!) pandemic that has forced us to re-think almost everything we do and permeates daily life like a lingering smell. Then as an added bonus, during a complete lockdown while we were unable to have people in the gym, the owner of CrossFit (at the time), Greg Glassman sends out the racially and morally insensitive tweet, “Floyd-19“, which forced gyms across the world to consider their affiliation with the brand. Then to pile on, Glassman responds to an email from Rocket CrossFit in a belittling and condescending manner. Not a great time to be a CrossFitter or a CrossFit gym owner.
In the aftermath of both incidents and after a few serious conversations with some trusted advisors, we made the decision to move away from the CrossFit brand. It was a hard and gut wrenching decision. I fell in love with CrossFit in 2009 in the Cayman Islands and from that spark, and through a long and winding road, All Level CrossFit came to be. It was tough to think about losing that affiliation. It had become woven into the fabric of what and who I am. Now what? CrossFit had created a global community under which all of it’s affiliates shared lots of commonalities. Could we stand on our own? Did we want to? What would I do when we travelled to new cities? Normally we would look for a CrossFit gym and drop in to see how they did things. Were we complicit in all of the negative things emanating from CrossFit by our affiliation? What could we have done and what can we do better? All of these thoughts ran through my head at breakneck speed and bounced around like a wayward rubber ball.
It was a constant internal conversation that was never far from the surface. But, I felt like our decision was the right one and we became part of the push that eventually forced Greg Glassman to sell CrossFit. When news broke that CrossFit had been sold to Eric Roza, we were cautiously optimistic. He has the business chops. He owns a CrossFit affiliate. He is a bad-ass Master’s athlete that has a sub 3 min Fran!! And most importantly he is a humanitarian who believes in diversity, equity and inclusion across all groups. To top it off, he is accessible. I have written two emails to Eric and received two replies!! Communication with Affiliates has increased 100 times. They have created programs and made Inclusion a central tenet of their mission. Check out their page on Inclusion for all of the work they are doing to get on the right path. They are also rolling out programs to support affiliates through COVID and beyond. Seminars with business experts, leveraging buying power, best practices, S.O.P.s and more! Exciting! Finally CrossFit is taking advantage or their unique position to help affiliates grow and flourish.
I guess what I am trying to say is “count us in”. The decision we ultimately made to distance ourselves from CrossFit was the right one at the time. Our values didn’t align with the way the company was being run. The point of the protest was to enact change. And from thousands of gyms making similar decisions, it did. And so far the change has been good. The right guy is in charge. Steps are being taken. Things are moving in the right direction. And we want to be a part of that change. We want to be a part of CrossFit. We are proud to call ourselves CrossFitters again.