Yesterday’s blog regarding Tricia’s “game”of CrossFit reminded me of a blog that I wrote in 2011 regarding the value of play, and CrossFit’s role as adult play. Since we have several new members since then, I figured I re-post it:
While traveling to Georgia for Reebok, I, as always, forgot to bring ample reading material. Therefore, I picked up the July edition of Sky magazine in the back of my seat. While expecting to discover a catalog aimed at selling me airplane pillows and pimped- out dog beds for Desi, I found an interesting article on the value of play.
We often muse over the fact that CrossFit is quite addicting. We usually attribute this to the amazing community and unarguable results obtained through adherence to the program; however, this article brought something else to the forefront.
Did you ever think of SCF as the biggest and baddest adult playground out there?
The author of the article I read asserts that, “Not only can play be beneficial, it’s actually essential[…] humans are designed by biology to play throughout the entire life cycle.” (Anderson, 2011).
We often joke around and make comments such as, “Lock two CrossFitters in a room for a few hours with a pair of rings, and they’ll come out with a circus”; hence, the programming of ring handstand push-ups and a plethora of other wacky ring exercises showcased on Crossfit.com that I have yet to master (however—lock me in a room with them for three days and I’ll play around until I figure it out!) The key component here is PLAY.
We crave play and we need it to survive. Too many of us assume it’s for children and allow it to fall by the wayside when we get our “real jobs”. This same article states that, “Play […] seems to help the brain adapt and improvise when unexpected challenges arise.” Who can deny that this is a skill that is needed in the workforce?!?
The article goes on to state that a posthumous study was conducted of brilliant man named Charles Whitman, who killed his mother, wife, and 17 others on a shooting spree in 1966. What researchers found was that Whitman, as a child, was denied every opportunity to play with his friends because his father found it to be a waste of time. He was the youngest Eagle Scout in the history of the Boy Scouts, and a super-achiever in school. Yet, the article states that, “When unable to handle his aggressive and hostile impulses when humiliated and stressed, he became preoccupied with violence.” (Anderson, 2011) Now, I am in no way asserting that lack of play equals serial killer, but nevertheless, denying normal impulses to play in less extreme ways can still have consequences on a person’s mental health (Anderson, 2011).
How does one define play? And more so, for the purpose of this blog, how have I come to the conclusion that CrossFit is, in fact, a form of adult play? Anderson goes on to say, “Play is something done for its own sake; it’s voluntary; there’s an inherent attraction to it; the player experiences a kind of freedom from time and perhaps loses track of his or her own self; it’s open to improvisation; and finishing it leaves one wanting to do more.” (2011)
Could it be any more obvious? Does this not define the exact way you feel when you walk through the doors of Shoreline CrossFit?
“Playing” reawakens that childlike sense of endless curiosity. It brings new things to the imagination. The author of the aforementioned article encourages his reader to stop “looking down” at the computer screen all day, and spend at least one day a week “looking up”, as children do in play, to see new things from new eyes (Anderson, 2011).
Aren’t you glad that you discovered this playground that is SCF? And who knows, perhaps someday I will implement dodge ball or hula-hooping into the WOD??!?!