A language beyond words
There are many things in life that are universal. Music for instance. Notes written on paper by a French composer could surely be played by anyone in the world with knowledge of how to read music. Such was our experience participating in a CrossFit class (CrossFit is an exercise methodology popular throughout the world) in Salzburg.
The entire class was taught in German but of all the things we’ve done abroad this was one of the more approachable, though you might not expect it. There’s a flow to most decent CrossFit classes so we knew when the instructor started shouting in German and other gym members began drifting over to a corner of the gym we were going to get an overview of class that day. This was the best part of the class because the language used was the same we would likely hear in any other CrossFit gym anywhere in the world, given the key words for the movements used are likely the English equivalent ones. It went something like this:
“Fast speaking German…wall ball…fast speaking German…clean and jerk…fast speaking German…double under. “
We understood no more than 5-10% of the words the instructor had said but still we knew exactly what the workout would be that day. Even though the gym was in a different country, even though all the other members spoke German, even though the instructor spoke little English, we felt right at home in the experience.
We participated seamlessly with the other members in community as the class progressed over the next hour. Everyone was kind, we all shared an appreciation for fitness and the inclusion of others into it. Other members smiled at us and helped us convert kilograms to pounds so we knew how much weight we were using. The instructor had to demonstrate rather than speak to us cues to correct and improve our movement.
By the time the workout was over, it was like we were regular members of the gym. Anne and I were blown away at how the movements became a language, and helped us experience our passion in a foreign country. It just goes to show, we really aren’t all that different, when it comes right down to it. We want to be happy, we want community, we want to be healthy. Thank you so much to CrossFit Convalis for teaching us this important lesson! Vielen Dank!