Team RWB is hard to miss.
Their bright red, branded shirts help them stick out in large crowds, which is good – members are often participating in physical activities such as runs, bike rides, triathlons, marathons and CrossFit events.
But more than that, Team Red, White & Blue is a growing community of veterans and civilians who are connecting through a common bond: physical activity. Team RWB’s self-proclaimed mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.
“I love to see other veterans interacting with other people, getting out there doing physical activity. Physical activity is directly engrained in our mental state,” Chris Hartmann told American Military News. Hartmann has been a Team RWB member for five years, and he served in the Air Force as a captain and deployed to the Philippines and Okinawa.
“I love to see vets doing physical activity, and challenging themselves physically and mentally,” he continued.
“It’s a good way to introduce yourself,” Hartmann added, when asked about the signature red Team RWB shirts.
And, he pointed out, Team RWB is “not only for veterans, but for people who support veterans.”
“It’s about the camaraderie, being a part of a team. Being in the military, that’s what it’s all about,” Hartmann said.
On Friday, at a local CrossFit gym in the East Village of Manhattan, members of Team RWB’s New York City chapter did exactly that. They participated in a special “WOD,” or Workout of the Day, at CrossFit East River, which is owned and run by an Army veteran.
CrossFit affiliates across the country hosted WOD for Warriors, and will continue to do so throughout the weekend.
This was the fourth year that CrossFit East River has hosted “WOD for Warriors” in honor of Veterans Day.
The workout is called “Armistice,” and athletes were asked to work for 11 minutes through the following circuit as many times as they could: 11 power cleans, 11 burpees over a barbell, 19 deadlifts and 18 pull-ups.
In typical CrossFit fashion, the rep scheme means something: 11 power cleans for the 11th month of the year (November), and 11 burpees for the 11th day of the month; and “19” and “18” reps form the year 1918.
Nov. 11, 1918, marked the day World War I ended.
While CrossFit is sometimes synonymous with intense strength training and interval workouts, the programming, founded by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai in 2000 and provided for free online, also falls into stride with the military and law enforcement communities, and it resonates more and more with the “average” Joe or Jane who wants to get in shape.
For Team RWB, a fun CrossFit class with other veterans and friends was a great way to kick off Veterans Day weekend.
“Events like today’s are incredibly important in showing our appreciation for those who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom,” Gina Rosselli Geller, Team RWB NYC’s chapter captain, told American Military News. “It is a chance for our community of veterans and civilians to work together by putting their differences aside to support and encourage each other.”