Letters to the Editor: January 21, 2015

CrossFit is risky; Sebastopol should move with caution

Inherent Risks

As a lifelong athlete, fitness enthusiast and former NCAA Division 1 strength and conditioning coach, I enjoyed Cliff Weathers’ even-handed coverage of the controversy now raging over CrossFit training (“Crossing Swords,” Jan. 15). A blend of several disciplines, CrossFit borrows from Olympic-style weightlifting, military basic training, martial arts, gymnastics and a bit from track-and-field. It’s an excellent approach for young athletes in speed-and-power events, but less applicable for those in endurance sports, and so rigorous that newbies should probably undertake a three-month conditioning program before even attempting CrossFit. It’s also a form of training better suited for younger athletes than older ones, who do not recover as quickly from high-intensity exercise.

Every activity—even a pleasant stroll around the neighborhood—has some degree of inherent danger, but we live in a risk-averse society with a surfeit of lawyers who believe that any acknowledgement of risk is an admission of responsibility for injury. This is why CrossFit execs and cultists are so adamant in denying that there’s any risk involved with CrossFit training—they know there is, but have to do everything to keep the lawyers away. It’s all about avoiding lawsuits.

CrossFit is a great program, but it’s dishonest to assert that it’s some sort of injury-free fountain of eternal youth. That will never exist.


Community First

I migrated to Sonoma County 20 years ago after 15 years of living in the Bay Area. I still worked in the city but the commute was worth the trip home to the beauty this region offers. In establishing a first residence in Geyserville in 1995, I noted how proud the residents of the greater Healdsburg area were of its local feel. There was a farmers market on the green across the main drag from the beautiful town square and though there were signs of sophistication and affluence around. I loved the area for the balanced juxtaposition of the two.

As I was relocating to West County four years later, I heard a lot of concern about the way Healdsburg seemed to be changing. A hotel was being built on the green where the farmers market used to assemble, and a huge euromall was planned to be built up the street. It has become a weekend getaway for the likes who have ruined S.F. bohemia through insensitive gentrification.

I enjoy the Barlow. It seems like a worthy addition to the town for the revenue and character it adds to Sebastopol. I am not against progress or hard-working enterprises enhancing their bottom line because of development. Yet after the assassination I witnessed of the once charming character of Healdsburg, I can only see flashing red lights of caution in response to this news (“Hotel Sebastopol,” Jan. 7).

For this place to mutate into another remote, part-time (virtual rural) destination for well-heeled techies would surely be a tragedy.


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