The past month marks our 11th year as a CrossFit affiliate. While this past year has been different than what anyone has expected, it will always be the most memorable because of who it pushed us to be.
In 2017, I started a nonprofit arm of our gym, UliftU, building from a legacy that preceded my ownership of then CrossFit Center City. Over the years, the CrossFit Foundation helped us attend the CrossFit Games, dialogue with other nonprofits, paid for L-1s for our UliftU Coaches, brought us out to headquarters in California last year and recently had committed to running an L-1 for our in prison program before COVID happened. When people assailed CrossFit for mistakes or pointed to the lack of diversity found within the brand, I defended CrossFit. I did so because of those actions and the friends I had made at HQ. I was proud to be a part of what I believed CrossFit’s future could be. I felt like it was enough. I now know I was wrong.
Our true measure is not where we stand in times of comfort and convenience, but challenge and controversy. Those are Dr. King’s words, not mine. The pandemic forced an awakening. By stripping away that which busied us to day-to-day, it forced us to sit and examine ourselves. What we found has shaken us, and rightfully so. Before, we convinced ourselves that progress was enough. It took a massive global loss of life from a natural phenomenon to make us recognize the loss of lives through unnatural means, human hands through racism, particularly for our black community.
This week, CrossFit and it’s Founder Greg Glassman have chosen through both their inaction and then Greg’s own words to show not only a lack of leadership, but the antithesis of it through hurtful and divisive speech. We cannot then say that because you demonstrated kindness in the past, that absolves you when the time is most vital for support in discussions of life and death. We all must do better and our own radical self-inquiry must challenge the desire to defend our actions and replace it with the question of how we could be wrong. We owe that to this moment, to the pain in our country and world is feeling right now, to something much bigger than ourselves.
That’s why we cannot remain a CrossFit affiliate and effective immediately are dropping our affiliation. The purpose of our entire gym has always been to stand for something greater than ourselves and just fitness. A place to find the strength to fully realize who you are, what you already possess. I wrote this week that our goal should be to build the strength necessary to dismantle systems of oppression, racism and hate. That is our Why. We will now build the future, grateful for past opportunities, but not bound by them when they prove no longer able to serve the needs of the moment. The road ahead will be hard but it brings the opportunity to contribute to stronger communities and a better world.
Let’s get to work.
Wylie Belasik and the staff of Subversus Fitness