Coaches Corner: McKenzie’s Story

Sports have been a part of me for as long as I can remember. My mom swam in college (and is in the Auburn swimming hall of fame…what…). My grandfather swam in college and was no less than OBSESSED with it for the rest of his days. My dad played baseball for a long time. My sister currently swims for Bama. And, as a lot of you know, I was a competitive gymnast for 8 years. 20+ hours a week at practice was very normal to me. I was homeschooled for middle school and all my friends were girls in leotards (super cool, I know). I grew 3 inches in a summer, tanked my last season and was generally burned out. I quit gymnastics and, per my family history, swimming was the next logical step.

All of this is great, but I went to college as a NARP (non athletic regular person) and my only option for working out was the gym with the machines and treadmills and bros taking selfies as they do curls. A few months into school, I decided to see what it was all about.

I walked in, confidently swiped my student ID, took a lap around the floor trying to figure out what any of the machines did and landed on a treadmill between two sorority girls with full faces of makeup. It was a self propelled treadmill, so obviously I decided to sprint. I tripped at full speed, caught myself within an inch of my life, gave the sorority girls simultaneous heart attacks, got off, walked out, and didn’t return for the rest of the year.

The next time I walked into that nightmare of a place was sophomore year with a friend who had been raving about CrossFit and I wanted to give it a shot. The only skill I remember doing was wall balls because it was a hard med ball and it bounced off the wall and smacked me in the face, glasses and all. It was the hardest workout I’d ever done, I wasn’t sure if my legs were going to carry me back to my dorm 500m away, but I was forever hooked.

I’ve always done individual sports, but I love the team aspect of CrossFit. You’re working against yourself, but you’re competing with others while also encouraging them as you all suffer and sweat together. It’s constantly varied, so I’m never bored. It’s challenging and technical. As an ex-gymnast, I love the technicalities of skills like the squat snatch. How can I move my body to be the most efficient and lift the most weight? I love being upside down and sometimes am more comfortable on my hands than my feet. I love swinging on the rig and being up high after a muscle up. I can climb ropes because I want to, AND most of the time I’m allowed to use my legs. That was a luxury I didn’t often get as a gymnast.  It all just tosses me back to my glory days, challenges me, and pushes me to do new things.

More than that, it comes with a group of people that you get to become friends with. Yes, I love CrossFit itself, but I love the people that come with the sport. They’re ready to work hard. They’re there because they want to be. They get to forget the stress of work or home or kids or whatever it might be for that one hour. You get to see people at their best and their worst (sometimes in the same hour) and you get to love them in whatever state they’re in.

I love CrossFit. But I love people the most. And I freaking love the people of CrossFit Renew.

That’s all I’ve got for you.

McKenzie