Just last night, I was relaying to my boyfriend an idea I had for an article about women in the world of CrossFit. And funny enough, my Facebook has been inundated with posts sharing a CrossFit video created by PS Cummings with a message encapsulating the one I hoped to convey.
This weekend, I had the opportunity to meet Brooke Ence, one of the many women changing the way female athletes are perceived by both genders.
And while I was thinking back to the events of that day, I thought about the men and women that were waiting in line to meet this wonder women. I recalled that the people waiting to meet Brooke were equal parts men and equal parts women.
And these men weren’t being dragged to meet Brooke by their girlfriends. These guys were there on their own accord, waiting patiently to to meet one of the biggest names in CrossFit. Gender was not the issue.
Athleticism and pure bad-assdom was. And when Brooke spoke, these guys listened, absorbing each nugget of wisdom she bestowed.
Now, one might attribute the line-up of guys waiting to meeting Brooke to the fact that she’s a gorgeous blonde bombshell with a physique carved by the late Michaelangelo. But striking looks aside, there also lies the fact that Brooke is a phenomenal athlete. And I do not use the term ‘phenomenal’ lightly. As one of the fittest women on earth, Brooke has helped mold CrossFit into the sport that it has become. And it isn’t even just about CrossFit, women such as Brooke aren’t letting society hold them back. Each women who shows up day in and day out, ready to give it their all.
These are the women inspiring us to be powerful in whichever way we chose to be.
Whether it’s in the gym or at the office or in our homes, women like Brooke take no prisoners. She works damn hard in creating a her own brand of super women, one that knows her empowerment holds no bounds.
But sometimes we have to learn this the hard way. I grew up playing basketball, and while I admired women like Chamique Holdsclaw, it that the boys teams at school mattered more. The girls Varsity teams were lucky if just as many fans stayed to cheer us on that did the boys. And the sad part? It seemed normal. We played out hearts out whether or not we filled the stands, but the respect that the boys received far outweighed the respect and admiration received by female teams.
The same goes for women’s professional sports. How often do we head to the pub to watch the women’s rugby or football? I’m not saying that you should by any means, but I believe CrossFit has forced us to pay equal respect to the women on the field.
It’s pretty simple really. Men and women compete side-by-side, and the women are just as mesmerising to watch.
One obvious example is during the 2015 CrossFit Games, when Sam Briggs absolutely smashed Murph. While temperatures surpassed 100 °F, the athletes embarked on a workout which would carry them far past any normal person’s physical or mental capabilities. But that didn’t stop Briggs from winning the event with more than a minute between her second place Alethea Boon. What makes this story even better is that Briggs beat all the men competing except for one, being Iceland’s Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson.
And men of the CrossFit world pay no heed. They see the women lifting next to them during a wod or racing past them in a sprint as their equals, and these guys deserve equal amounts of respect for doing so, especially in a society where men are expected to be the toughest and strongest.
As PS Cummings puts so aptly:
Toughness knows not gender.
Grasping for the bouy of breath on the floor of my first CrossFit gym years later,
I lost no pride in conceiting victory to any of the women who finished faster.
After all, I expected no less.