There are choruses to my coaching. Proverbs that arise in moments where my inner paratrooper bobs to the surface of my being and sees the light of day for the length of a fierce proclamation. An athlete once told me, “Every coach I’ve known coaches the body, but you coach the mind.”
“What is outside the mind?” I queried in return.
Beyond the clock there are auxiliary choruses. Lighter maxims for moments composed of looser bounds.
One such saying I had accredited to David Bowie. It was, pertaining to fashion, “Whatever you wanna wear, whenever you wanna wear it, wherever you wanna wear it. That’s fashion.”
In researching for this blog I’ve learned that said quote is nowhere to be found, having never been said by anyone. So I hereby declare that it shall henceforth be attributed to yours truly. You’re welcome.
There must be something to that. My misquoting Bowie—a man who exists in the most revered tier of prestige in my consciousness—must have been a defense mechanism as to not show my belly in the animal kingdom. A safeguard of sorts from others being privy to my peculiar thought processes. To pinpoint when I first gave him is an impossibility and moreover, arbitrary. Since whenever that was, I’ve shed the skin of worry connected to the way I am perceived.
This is all to say, fashion is a cornerstone of my essential nature. As is CrossFit.
We’re approaching my 10 year anniversary within this thing of ours. When I began, there were no Nanos. No Metcons. And No No Bulls. Some athletes wore Inov-8s, some wore Vibrams. My go-to was Chuck Taylors. In WODs that included running, I’d defer to my pair of Pegasuses from Nike (the Airborne standard), but in every other functionality the Converses served me well.
In January of 2012 Reebok made a push to be the foremost outfitter in the functional fitness arena. From my vantage point this was an uplifting move, a vote of confidence from an industry giant. So I bought my first pair of Nanos. They were purple and grey U-Forms, similar to the legendary Nano 2 except the old school logo was not abbreviated by the toe box at the outside front quarter of the shoe.
Throughout my post-military life, Nikes have never found their way to my shoe rack. So I cannot speak to the tribalism surrounding the Metcon other than to say it is an elegant piece of footgear. No Bull—as much as their designs speak to an aesthetic that allures me, minimal and clean—something underlying deters me from being a backer. The Adidas CPT was the Garrett Fisher of sneakers; we all had such high hopes of the offering from such a fabled brand and they never quite made it to the podium.
A dark horse is New Balance. The staple of Dad wardrobes worldwide has shown up in a way larger entities have been absent. Their Minimus series are a solid option for a reasonable price point. When I wear the v40s I feel like I could ninja through a workout undetected.
Gun to my head, forced to choose which is the GOAT, my heart tells me it’s the Reebok Nano 4. It’s caged front gave it the feel of a militaristic vehicle, like an armored personnel carrier with concertina wire pillowed on the grill. The ‘74 imprinted on the vamp area of the model paid homage to the deeper history of our sport with understated style. The year they dropped (2014) I found my identity as a more experienced coach, and this shoe had me stepping out confident.
Upon penning this, I was going to work feet up, celebrating how our one methodology has reshaped athlesiure in full. Because it has. That being said, that is all that’s necessary to say.
Now, labels rise and die like the tide as the leviathans lay in wait. Some waves I rode first and have abandoned for more traditional fashion commodities. John Wilson’s brand Stance, for instance, was the lone sock I purchased for the longest time. My collection started in 2013 and at its apex numbered over 100 pairs. However, just like imprints he’d worked with before (Oakley, REEF) I felt the market was saturated when they arrived in pop culture. Trips to local comps told me this, as less people didn’t have them than did. This feels unsustainable to me. Icarus approaching the sun. Rise and die. The basket in my closet now houses maybe 40 pairs of plain black socks. A statement of digression to something more absolute. An ode to the city I’m from, I am what I am.
Whatever you wanna wear, whenever you wanna wear it, wherever you wanna wear it. That’s fashion.
What is outside the mind, after all?