Keeping your eye on the ball

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Keeping your eye on the ball.


Noise. It fills up the world. Grocery line checkouts - there are LCD screens with the news or advertisements about something or the latest calamity somewhere in the world. Radio advertisements with catchy slogans and theme music from old hits fill space 24/7. The 5 second sound byte about something that could be important to someone somewhere - but irrelevant to you. The information provided does not add to the quality of life. 

Distractions. Flashing lights, gossip, the latest celebrity blow up or sports game take our focus away from our immediate task at hand. The Romans filled the Colosseum to keep the populace distracted from what we really going on - The destruction of their Republic. How much time is spent around the water cooler comparing details and stats about the latest fantasy football trade?  A lot of us are all guilty of being sucked into the distraction and drama. It is like being bored, channel surfing, landing on the latest talk show train wreck and ending up watching it with the same interest as you would talking to your doctor about your biopsy. Distracting but not really what you should be paying attention to. 

We get sucked into distractions every day. One of the greatest time waster is Social Media. Social Media is the latest chewing gum for our mind. Facebook is a medium replete with human electronic drama and time wasting activities. As a medium for reconnecting with old friends, classmates and people with common interest it is a fantastic tool. Like most tools, in the hands of a skilled and honest craftsman, it is a good. In the hand of the DQs (drama queens no gender bias implied) it is a tool for the powerless to spin controversy, bullshit and a stage to voice cowardly vague statements reticent of the "One Small Voice" of Ellsworth Toohey's to catch the Howard Roark's of the world. There is no consequence to its misuse. We have all witnessed rudeness and personal affronts between people who, if not shielded by a keyboard, the discussion would have ended in a fist fight. People are often more polite when rudeness can be answered with direct action. 

The worst is the dot dot dot crowd. Think of these as someone setting up a time ambush. Example: "Had a really bad day..." begging a response so the can share how they had to wait at the dry cleaner for 7 minutes to find out their suit will be back at 1:00 PM (when it was promised) and not ready at 10:24 AM as they wanted which caused the spiral downward of their day resulting in the "worst day of their lives" causing them to have to TIVO the latest episode of "True Blood" - which is horrible because some one's status update spoiled the season finale. The dot dot dot at then end of a status is like casting a lure in front of a pike - if it strikes (Comments/gets sucked in) you are in the fight of their life is on to get free. It is virtual car-crash-drama-invention that can suck people in truly undermine a productive day. (Not to mention twitter with 48 characters of uselessness - with key operator of the word "Twit")

Message boards are similar. You can find and expert on any message board. Just ask them. They are the people who have been a part the online community board for 6 weeks and have 1,500 posts. The more volume the greater the expert. There is no proof required. Instant chime in on any topic and time with a well thought out, well written comment showing a erudite writing style and the total lack of a real job. The "experts" have witty come backs and relish publicly flaming anyone for anything. Say it enough, with enough come backs and suddenly - An expert is born. There can be a lot of good information exchanged on message boards. It appears the more high profile the board, the more noise it attracts. The more noise, the more it detracts from the real purpose of the board, the exchange of ideas and human communication. The internet has started the conversation - the people who yell the loudest (ALL CAPS) are drowning out the people who really want the conversation. 

Noise Addiction - of the volume of electronic data points lead to noise addiction. Working Definition: "General absorption in many different inconsequential events on a broad and varied electronic venues to obsession. Characterized by generally being alone with a computer, chronically switching from different social media providers and in a constant he said/she said conversation about drama that is truly irrelevant.  The resulting state is confused by data overload, resulting in emotionally agitation, anxiety and social debilitation. Another, chronic problem is self created ADD." There is no know evidence this is true, but most of the time the claim of something is enough for it to be true.  (Like clicking your mouse too much can make you go blind) 

Okay, what does this have to do with a fitness blog? First - It covers my pet peeves about douche bags and social media. Second, CrossFit gyms are communities of commonality. People tend to be motivated to improve their real fitness levels. They tend to be type A - self starters in their own right. They tend to be people who are competitive, intelligent and generally capable humans. CrossFit gyms are inherently social - in many cases, more social than regular gyms. People interact about technique, times and the latest CFJ article. Where things go wrong is when people use the community as a pool to pee their personal problems into. The gym can be a support group for people wanting to excel, not as a platform for Joe's Disaffected Life. (Fight Club Reference) 

It is cool to be able to exchange times, pictures, post praise or share constructive ideas on social media. We use social media to upload pictures and video of our client's deeds and note worthy accomplishments. Public praise for the good is, in our humble opinion, a good thing. Slamming people or worse making innuendos about people, their performance or some other not-actually-witnessed event is simply turning tools that can and should be used for good into a larger cliquey electronic high school.

To help people keep their eye on the ball, here are some guidelines: 

1. Attention to your mechanics - strive to move better

2. Attention to your consistency - strive to be consistent in your training

3. Attention to your intensity - strive to keep your intensity as high as you can

4. Performance, improvement and success is yours to determine. 

Being a good part of a community that is both real (in the gym) and virtual (on the net) has some good citizenship traits. Praise improvement in the people around you - Recognize the monumental effort of someone finally being able to do a WOD as prescribed. Praise new PRs. Praise better skills and technique. Praise the person who finishes first. Praise the person who finishes last. Focus on constant improvement for yourself, in your own gym, amongst your friends. Be attentive to being a good coach and always improving. 

IRONIC TWIST: You are probably reading from a blog, Facebook or Twitter - Does this constitute drama about drama? Using social media to decry its miss use is similar to...