In the blink of an eye, Replay CrossFit is turning three years old. Joe and I were reminiscing about our modest beginnings, and the hard work we have put in, during more than six years since introducing CrossFit to Romania. 
We started our journey in a park with just a handful of interested people and we eventually built not just one, but two CrossFit boxes in the city. One at a time. We did this, literally, “from the ground up”.

No need to sugarcoat our story. Everybody who has ever started a company in Romania knows this and I bet they cringe at the memory of how difficult it was. We had to provide paperwork authorizations on top of previous authorizations. We had considerable construction costs and many mistakes were made in the build-out process. Not to mention going to court and fighting for what was ours. The transformation of an empty warehouse space into a Box requires far more than just buying & installing equipment. It takes a lot of planning, frustration and sweat equity, but in the end, it's about getting the job done. Like a WOD. You work at it, you learn as you go, you catch your breath, and maybe shed a tear or two, but you stay on it and you get it done. You don't give up. 

Joe and I, also, needed to learn about specific CrossFit software and programming. About maintenance and repair. About getting high quality T-shirts printed. Then there was financial accounting and the cash flow requirements to keep the business alive. Moreover, we had to deal with many naysayers and non-believers who didn’t have confidence in in our purpose or what we wanted to build here. 

You know, if this was easy, everybody would be doing it. 

On Christmas Day, three years ago, Joe and I were wet-moping the floors and painting the Community Blackboard at Replay.  "Nancy" one of the CrossFit benchmark "Girls" – opened the doors at Replay. It’s five rounds for time with a 400m Run and 15 Overhead Squats. A very cool, small group of people showed up and did it with us. It was a warm, sunny day that December - strange for Romania- so we all had an awesome time!

Since those early days, many new members have joined and lots of faces have changed. This gives truth to what the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “There is nothing permanent except change.” SO TRUE for every aspect of our lives: career, personal development, family and fitness life, too. 

There's much change in how owners build and run CrossFit Boxes too. Joe and I didn't grow up with Facebook and we didn't have Instagram or Twitter ten years ago. So, we’ve had to learn about the "perks and benefits" of navigating the social media landscape and with the current pace of technological change, we're still learning each and every day :)

Our six-year plus journey has been built around those we seek to serve in the CrossFit Community.  It's been an interesting "experience" filled with trials & tribulations, wins & errors and the happiness of achievement for us.  More precisely, it's been an accumulation of wonderful "stories" about all of us who are so deeply involved with CrossFit.

We cheered on when Robert S. got his first bar muscle up ever (during the CrossFit Open last year). We rejoiced when Mihaela I. got her first handstand push up (strict and kipping)! And we were happy and encouraged when one of our JumpStart beginner teams (Alina, Mihaela, Mia & Adi) decided to plunge into our first Charity Marathon Row. 

Over all these years, Joe and l have showed up – regularly, consistently and generously – to serve our loyal community and to build trust through CrossFit. To offer the most positive experience in order to help our members reach their goals and become who they wish to be in this life.  And to build a stronger, kinder group of people who enjoy training time together at Replay.

There is so much literature devoted to the power of CrossFit communities, but less narrative about the CrossFit owners who created those platforms for those communities to be built upon. 

So, this is, also, a Big Shout Out to all the CrossFit affiliate owners around the world! Those who wake up every day thinking about ways to serve better. About how they can continue to improve the lives of everyone around them: to help people move better, look and feel better; to become stronger - physically and mentally.

Let’s recognize all those CrossFit owners who have been brave enough to follow their passion and take all the risks associated with starting a new business. And who pay all the bills. And who must also provide for their own families ~ wives, husbands and children and on and on, forever more.

We know that it takes super-human determination, commitment, empathy, humility, and tremendous patience ~ because great things take time. 
This is also a BIG thank you to our loyal supporters.  You know who you are. Thank you for being there for us.
We hope to "matter in your life” for many years to come.
Thank You and Happy Anniversary Replay!
Luminita & Joe Velarde
Replay CrossFit owners in Bucharest, Romania

PS: Share this post with a CrossFit affiliate / box owner. And if possible - look him straight in the eye and say these words:  "Thank you for your service."