In our box it sits attached to the wall telling all sorts of stories. It almost mocks us in its simplicity at what it gets us to do. For some it is a source of motivation and for others anxiety. It is our whiteboard and it’s one of the things that separate us from other types of fitness facilities. It contains not just the plan of what we’re going to do that day but how others have done… and soon it will contain our results too.
It stands as a semi-permanent record of your performance. Everyone can see the weight you’ve used and/or how long it took you to complete the work. Though our little CrossFit is still new, the whiteboard has already started to play a key role. I enjoy people coming in and scoping the board. If people haven’t looked at the WOD yet, there is that moment of absorbing what the work is. It is usually followed by an “oh, yeah” similar to that of old Kool-aid commercials or some sort of “Ugh” in their greatest impression of some sort of caveman.
Beyond that, people start looking at who has been in that day and the results they achieved. In case you hadn’t realized it yet, CrossFit, while very supportive, is also very competitive. In my time with CrossFit there have been days that I’ve come up with an excuse as to why I’m not going to work hard that day (yep, even coaches occasionally think that maybe today is a good day to coast a little…but that is for a different note). Then I’ll look at the results and think what it would take for me to perform at that level. How deep will I have to dig to catch someone who I compare myself to or to get ahead of someone who keeps getting closer to me. A few simple scribbles can really change your outlook.
I have seen the creation of arch-nemeses from watching the board. But in our fun little world those people will also be the first to push each other on. To high-five each other once the WOD has ended as a little competition can be healthy.
For new members the Whiteboard can be a little intimidating. Your numbers can seem so small in comparison to others that you might be a little embarrassed. As someone who has done this for a number of years, I have never heard anyone laugh at how someone else has done. If fact I usually hear something to the effect of “Can you believe So-and-So did that? Wow, have they come a long way.”
Now there is one drawback to what the Whiteboard can do. Every night at 8:00 PM it gets erased, the records of what was disappear into people’s logs. The scores of the day make way for the next WOD and to start the cycle all over again. The people who are in first seldom know how their performance held up. Here is where we look to our community and to extend the whiteboard. On the website under the WOD, you can place comments about your performance and add some stories. Yes, you are on display even more than you had been in the box. But it is yet another way we build our community, we get to learn names and performances of people we may never have met. It takes only a few minutes to go onto the website and post, but you never know who you may be inspiring to push a little harder the next time they’re in.