April’s extraordinary athlete award goes to 14 year old Ashley Williamson. Ashley has been with CrossFit Odyssey for about 5 months now and she has been making great progress. She comes with her whole family – dad Mark, mom Melinda and little brother Colin. Ashley is a quiet little thing, but at 5’2″ (maybe) she is a little dynamo! There are a few things that are super impressive about Ashley. The first is her natural movement. I could work all day long trying to teach someone to snatch or clean and jerk the way she does naturally. If you are ever confused about how those movements should look, just watch her.
Another impressive thing about Ashley is her strength. She has a naturally athletic build and she is not afraid to push herself (although she may whimper a bit). She has never been told that a certain weight is heavy and so she never fears the number. Because of that she is more willing to try heavier weights and because of that she is successful lifting them. She approaches each new task with a little bit of caution and a positive attitude and a big smile and she is super-fun to watch!
Finally, the real reason I chose Ashley for the month of April is because she entered the CrossFit Open 2015. As a 14 year old girl, something like CrossFit can be very scary and intimidating. Girls are so often taught that they need to be helped because they aren’t strong and they are taught that the boys are the ones who lift weights and that boys are the ones who want muscles and that girls should take up less space and be small
and cute and weak. No more. We want our girls to grow up strong – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We want them to be confident and secure in who they are and we want them to raise strong children. We want them to know that they can take care of themselves and that a good man is a man that knows that, respects that, and thinks that her strength is just plain awesome. Don’t get me wrong – we are not trying to create little body builders in here – just people who know that a strong body and a strong mind working together create amazing, healthy people who are determined to lead full lives. And the mental fortitude that it takes to push through one of these workouts leads to mental fortitude in the rest of our lives.
That said, and soapbox descended, for a 14 year old girl to enter a CrossFit competition is just plain hard. She has only been doing this for a short period of time and she put herself out there for the world to see. She showed up every week and she finished strong – and that in itself is true strength! Congratulations Ashley!