It seems that every direction you turn, someone is talking about “community.” It is a seemingly prolific term that is thrown around so much in fitness that it has almost become a cliche. Everyone wants to have it and many claim they have it, but is community really present? In one sense, community refers to people who reside in a particular place. For example, the neighborhood you live in might be referred to as a “community” because you share a common locality. In a greater sense, “community refers to a group of people that share common characteristics or interests and who consider themselves distinct from the larger society in which they exist. A community doesn’t mean that the individuals are carbon copy clones of one another. Community means the individuals who comprise that community retains their own uniqueness, but there is a common sharing of some characteristics and of interests. Those two words are important, characteristics and interests.
Community is one of the core values at Iron Warrior Fitness (IWF). We value the inherent worth of everyone as a human being and the uniqueness of each person who is a part of IWF. At the same time, we value community. It is a core value. That means there are certain characteristics and interests that we all share and that you should expect to find. What are they?
I will start with interests. There is one particular interest that unites us as a community at IWF. That is fitness. We want to be fit. We want to be fit so we can enjoy all that this life has to offer. Our interest is being fit for life. That interest is demonstrated in the workouts that we perform. It is demonstrated in how we think about our dietary commitments and practices.
There are more characteristics we share as the IWF community.
Encouraging: You won’t find put downs and negativity. There is enough of that in the world. Here you will find men and women who want to see one another achieve great things and will root for one another and support one another in their achievement.
Friendly: No one is an outcast here. You will never be made to feel like you don’t belong.
Hard-working: we like to work hard here. We push each other. Our coaches will push you. For the simple reason, we want you to achieve your goals and even exceed them. So we work had at IWF
Fun-loving: Even though we work hard, we have fun doing it. We like to have fun together, whether we are working out or sharing a meal together at a local restaurant. We thoroughly enjoy one another’s company.
Eleanor Brown wrote in the article Where Everyone Knows Your Name if one edition of the CrossFit Journal:
For hundreds of years, places like bookstores, cafés, barbershops and pubs served as informal public gathering spaces. Without requirements for membership or formal organization, people gathered together for companionship, to talk about their concerns and ideas, and to feel like they belonged.
Urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg calls these spontaneous communities “third places” and has made his name arguing for their importance in our lives.
His landmark book The Great Good Place argues that everyone has two main spaces in life: home (our “first place”) and work (our “second place”). But we are at our best, as people and as communities, Oldenburg says, when we have an additional place we can call our own—that third place.
At home or work, attendance is required and roles and responsibilities are rigid. But in a third place, people expand their identities beyond those expectations and associate with their neighbors in a different way. This informal connection creates residents who care about and engage with their community and each other, and who spend time together casually for the pure pleasure of it.
People who have third places are invested in the quality of life in their neighborhoods and the amenities they offer. They have an opportunity to bypass mass media, and they can react and discuss their opinions. They have a place to vent their frustrations and celebrate their joys.
Being a part of a third place, Oldenburg says, “enhances the sense of being alive.”
IWF is that third place where we don’t just talk about community, but it is one of our core values. Being a part of IWF “enhances our sense of being alive.” It is the fun place where everyone knows your name and where everone cares, has fun, and works hard.