December 02, 2014
CrossFit trainers find they’re building athletes and relationships at the same time.
It was a rare warm November evening in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when Maureen Randall quit the workout.
Beats were dropping from the speakers at CrossFit Praus, but for once, the self-described class jokester wasn’t dancing. The date marked 22 years since the night she was raped. She had been just 14 years old. Usually, she spent the anniversary locked indoors. Tonight, she tried to do an overhead squat, but the bar crashed to the floor.
“I broke,” Randall recalled. After the clock had gone dark, Randall still sat, her head buried in her hands. Affiliate owner Amanda Burge had a choice: Walk away or dive in. She dove.
The conversation was the beginning of a mentorship between coach and athlete that extends beyond class to texts, phone calls and post-workout discussions about how Randall can use CrossFit to help overcome her past.
“Anytime I need her, she’s there—no questions asked,” Randall said. “A lot of people coach and then they leave. With Amanda, that’s not how it is.”
As athletes struggle with everything from poor mobility to poor self-image, coaches are faced daily with the challenge of walking the line between coach and counselor. For Burge, it’s a no-brainer.
“We’re not just puppet masters who program hellacious WODs,” she said. “We’re people, and we want them to know we’re here for them. They trust us with their lives during a WOD, so why would they not trust us with their lives outside of CrossFit?”