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Till Those Lights Come Up

Cold metal and dull black rubber plates. White, chalky particles drifting in the air, then settling on the black mats. A bunch of sweaty bodies, some dripping more than others. Perspiration dots staining the black floor, like some sort of putrid rain. Wooden boxes. Some giant rubber bands. Maybe a dog in the middle of it all, watching, observing, sometimes barking, but often just tail wagging in content silence — the way that dogs are, happy just to be warm and dry.

This is what we go to every day. Just a place, and some things. A cold warehouse in a neighborhood where men drive trucks and wear shirts with their names embroidered over the pocket.

What we see, when we’re there — along with the emotions we feel — far overwhelms what that place actually, physically, is.  Without people, without coaches, without effort, it is just … four walls … with some banged up equipment and a whole lot of emptiness. That same description used to fit us, too. But then we found the place.

From the outside, before the doors open and the lights turn on, the box looks so … ordinary. Like nothing special. Like just another business.

“Till those lights come up, and we hear that crowd, and we remember why we came.” (Jackson Browne)

*For Joe Lengel, CrossFit Toledo. R.I.P., Joe.

(Photo: CrossFit Halo in CT.)

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