Talking to Strangers, Listening to Friends, and Building Communities

As most of you know, I continue to bounce all over the country on a week to week basis, as has been my tendency over the past month – or more to the point, the past several years. I’ve been struck by a few things, particularly recently.

It’s beautiful to see what a blessing CrossFit is for so many people. I’ve been blown away by the stories I’ve heard, talking to strangers about CrossFit. I met a whole bunch of new friends at CrossFit Arenal in Baltimore a few weeks back. I’m struck with not only the welcome received when entering a new CrossFit, but also the way our stories resonate – the way we support each other as fellow travelers on a shared path.

Not every CrossFit I’ve visited is like that. Because we’re not franchises, there’s no requirement for how things operate. The most successful CrossFit affiliates across the country, long term, are really communities of people that support each other locally – and the strength that builds is evident in the people and the businesses. Each community is different, created jointly by the vision of the trainers and the personalities of the members. I know from sampling a great many different communities and CrossFits that we are building something unique, special, and powerful right here in the heart of Boston.

I’m immensely grateful to you members of CrossFit Fenway for building that with me. I am listening to you. I’m grateful for the input that you provide, and I learn something new from you every day about how to make the world a better place – starting with this conversation, with this interaction, with this business. You come in every day and add your personality and vitality and good will into this truly remarkable creation – online, and in the WODs – and without you it doesn’t happen.

I’m also overwhelmed with gratitude for the comments and feedback that come in not just from you – my immediate Family – but also from the extended worldwide bunch that reads these pages on the web. I’m blown away by the messages sharing passion and stories and struggles and support. You’re also welcome here anytime, and I appreciate all the messages. Posted, emailed, facebooked… I am always surprised even by the passing statement in conversation: “Yeah, I know you guys. I read your website all the time. I like your (Invasions/Paleo Blog/Pictures/mainsite video/whatever). How’s the new Phase going?”

We’re not alone – not in the facility, not in Boston, not in the world. Keep posting your experiences. Keep finding ways to share more of your life with other people. It makes a difference. You can change the world just by sharing your experience of it, and opening yourself up to being known.

5 thoughts on “Talking to Strangers, Listening to Friends, and Building Communities”

  1. Great post JT. The people and the sense of community at CFF are the best of any gym I’ve been to, and I credit the staff for making this possible. I’ve worked out with a few affiliates now, and this one is the best.

    I was blown away two weeks ago when I attended my first saturday invasion session. I figured there would be a couple of people there willing to get up early (for me anyways) on a Saturday morning. I was shocked to see 30-40 people in attendance. That is a testmement to the fact that people love CFF and want to experience it to the fullest and be a part of it as much as they can.

    To this end, I’ve been inspired to attend the CrossFit Level-1 certification on August 7-8th in Vassalboro, Maine. My goal for attending the cert is that when I return to the Army later this year, I’ll have some coaching skills of my own that I can use to inspire the next generation of CrossFitters and provide the best functional physical training possible to my Soldiers. You never know, it might help keep them alive some day.

    For anyone interested, the cert in Vassalboro is open to the public and still has spots available. I was surprised to find a course with openings, as the level-1 certs routinely fill up about six-months out. I think having level-1 certified CFF’ers only strenghtens the CFF community and makes us all better.

    Check out for more information.

  2. Well said JT (as always). I have been part of the CFF family for just a little over a month now, and have enjoyed every single minute of our adventures (even through WOD-induced nausea). We’re obviously all motivated, talented and hard-working people, but we’re all in this together and I am constantly impressed with how supportive everyone is of each other and the level of camaraderie at CFF.

    I’m so grateful to be part of this crew; you guys are all amazing.

  3. I totally agree, JT! I came to Crossfit Fenway my first full day in Boston because, based on my experience, crossfitters are so welcoming and a great group to know. Although I’m heading back to CrossfitOKC in a few weeks, I’m glad I got to experience a top-notch CF gym.

  4. Nice post JT. I agree that this community is wonderful. I’ve been a member for just over 2 months and everyone has been so supportive. I’ve enjoyed getting to know people, and it is great when others are encouraging you during a workout. It’s such a good feeling. And, of course, Stacey, Eric and you have just been amazing. I know I don’t post many responses to the daily workouts, but I think that will happen with time.

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