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My First Day of School

The first day of school. The first day on a new job. And of course…your first day at CrossFit West of the River.

What do these things have in common? I’m sure you’ve figured that out already. They have a unique ability to arouse feelings of nervousness, excitement, maybe even anxiety.

When I was younger I was painfully shy. And to this day it is still something I struggle with. I have always dreaded public speaking, and I have never fully understood how others can love and even thrive in those situations. I think surviving speech class in college most certainly helped, and then giving presentations throughout college and grad school gave me the tools to push through the shyness and ‘get the work done.’

Rewinding the clock waaayyyy back.

I was a scrawny 6th grade girl who had been homeschooled for 4 years. I had had a growth spurt and was a head taller than most kids my age. I don’t remember all the details, but I remember having to go into the 6th grade classroom and start school in the middle of the day after a quick tour of the school grounds. Maybe I only went in and met the teacher and the kids…maybe I didn’t actually dive right into classwork…like I said, it’s kindof a blur. But what I do remember is entering the classroom with an uneasy feeling, and then walking through the little room where all the coats and bags were left, and then BAM. The whole class was there. All sitting together. All looking at me. Where was the invisible button??

That’s what was going through my head. What was going on in their heads? Probably something like this:

“Oh cool – another kid to play with.”

I get to experience something similar to this situation from the other side quite often when new people come into the gym.

Trust me – I get what you’re feeling.

Even the most confident of people tend to come in pretty unsure of themselves. After all not many people are seeking out new methods of getting fit without first coming to some sort of realization that they need to get better in that department.

Our job on that first day is mainly just to listen. Tell us all about you. Why you’re in; what you want to be able to do. If we can get some smiles and laughs (which we always do), things don’t seem so scary anymore.

I did end up making a ton of new friends in sixth grade. Only one ‘name calling’ incident bothered me at the time and it was that a boy said I had ‘big muscles.’ Now…I love those types of comments :).

The same thing happens in the gym – except we change the negative tone of ‘look at her muscles’ to ‘LOOK AT YOUR MUSCLES!!!’ When you join our gym there is a whole community of people that are instantly on your side. They want you to succeed, and will go to great lengths to not let you fail.

In fact, it doesn’t take long before you’re one of those people to someone else.

-Coach Julie

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