One of my first memories as a child was watching my cousin Mike play baseball. I couldn't wait to be old enough to play! My 3 year old self would dress up in his old, way-too- big for me uniform, and wear it around the neighborhood, just waiting for someone to mistake me for the baseball player I so longed to be.
Until I was noticed. It was by a neighbor who told me I was a girl and girls did NOT play baseball.
I was CRUSHED! HOW UNFAIR! Brokenhearted, I sulked home.
I'd like to say that I went on and proved them wrong, but I never did play baseball. But I did start playing softball as soon as I could in first grade.
I went to a very small Catholic school through eighth grade. There were maybe 20 kids in my entire grade. I played lots of sports, had tons of friends (19 in fact!) and was a pretty happy kid. However, the transition to public high school didn't go so well.
I went from an outgoing, social kid to a miserable, lonely, terribly shy and terrified girl. I truly believe that sports helped me survive high school. Even though I was incredible shy, at least I could play basketball and made the varsity team my freshman year. I may not have had any friends that first year, and I can remember being incredibly lonely, but I had my team, the game and my coach. She was an amazing person who inspired me to always do my best both on and off the court.
I eventually made a few friends and even had a boyfriend. Of course, all first loves must come to an end...
After the break-up (I was "dumped" as they say) I found a way to cope. Running! I can remember running to Cher's "Heart of stone," "Still in love with you," and "If I can turn back time" singing at the top of my lungs (recall that i was definitely not part of the cool crowd).
To this day, if I'm sad, need a quiet place to think, or have something on my mind, I go for a run. There's nothing like blasting a sad song in my ear buds and just running. It is and hopefully always will be my therapy. The problem isn't always solved when I'm done with my run, but no matter what, I always feel a bit better. My spirits are lifted and somehow my soul is at peace for a bit.
After school I continued running and after a challenge from my husband I competed in my first triathlon. After years of triathlon training I went looking for a new challenge and signed up for the Tough Mudder, a 13 mile obstacle course. This was a bit daunting to me. I knew the running would be okay, but I just didn't have the upper body strength to tackle the obstacles. That's how I found CrossFit.
As soon as I completed my first workout I knew it was the place I'd been looking for! I had never found a more challenging workout or a one that gave me such a huge feeling of accomplishment! I was so proud the day I did my first unassisted pull up! I felt like I could conquer the world!
Looking back, I just can't imagine not having sports in my life. For me it has been a way to make friends, a therapy, a joy and a place to find strength. I want to share my passion for fitness.
I was lucky enough to excel at sports when I was younger. Without it, I can't even imagine how lonely I would have been. You don't have to start out as an athlete to do CrossFit. You only need a desire to show up and do your best at every workout.
I truly want to give girls a place to belong, a place to be themselves, a place to grow, learn and feel safe. If I can make a difference in just one girl's life-that's what it's all about. Isn't it?