Powerhouse Invictus Women–Dani Speegle, Devyn Kim, Jessi Smith and Megan Rasich–Start “Nice Girls Book Club”
CrossFit Invictus training camp powerhouse members Devyn Kim, Dani Speegle, Megan Rasich, and Jessi Smith are coming together to spearhead a new book club for women in the CrossFit community and beyond. While the club will, of course, be focused on bringing people together with a monthly book, there’s also an emphasis on empowerment, empathy, and growing friendships.
The book club, called “The Nice Girls Book Club,” will read a book (or possibly a few) together each month, and come together to discuss it through Zoom calls and Instagram posts. The women talked about how each of them have individually benefitted from reading in their own lives, as well as how it has brought them all together as friends, and they wanted to share that with the world.
- “I think the ability to meet more people, especially in the CrossFit space but in a different light (is important),” Smith said. “We have a friend who joked that we don’t make any friends outside of the CrossFit space so I think this is good for us to branch out and meet people in different walks of life, learn about them, and talk about something we have in common.”
While the experience so far has been overwhelmingly positive for the club’s leaders, it didn’t come without some apprehension and hard work.
There are, of course, kinks to work out, like finding a timezone that works for all participants and how to deal with an audience that is growing so rapidly. Plus, with all four of the women being elite athletes, they were also worried that the club might be taken advantage of.
- “I was a little hesitant at first to start the Zoom calls because I was like, are people just going to get on here and be like, ‘oh my God, I’m talking to these CrossFitters?’” Speegle said. “But it was none of that. Immediately everyone was like, ‘let’s talk about the book!’ It was this beautiful thing that we could bring all of these people together and it didn’t have to be able who we were, it was just women coming together to talk about a book.”
The club is (unofficially) based around three values that the group rallied around as their goal: empathy, empowerment, and kindness.
Because of the speed with which the club grew and how many people want to participate just a few weeks in, it’s impossible for everyone to join the Zooms. To solve this, the women put up an Instagram story saying that the first 15 participants to send them a story or proof of them performing an act of kindness would get an invitation to the month’s weekly discussions.
- “We’re trying to stay true to what our name is–the Nice Girls Book Club–so to try and make it known that our goal is to connect with other people and try to make the world a better place,” Smith said.
As for the empowerment aspect, much of it comes from their personal experiences.
- Kim: “A lot of people will look at us and be like, ‘they’re just big jocks–we come and train all day, every day, and it’s nice to add a little personality…it’s been good to show that there’s more to us than just being athletes.”
- Speegle: “The whole women’s empowerment movement is really about breaking the stereotypes–that women can be all of these things. It was an important aspect of mine that, you know, we have a group of really fit women here who also are very intelligent, strong women who read. We don’t just do bicep curls all day.”
On the other hand, the women believe that the books they read will alone have an impact. As big readers themselves, they know how a book can shape one’s emotional intelligence. Speegle said that growing up, books directly impacted her love and understanding for animals (and humans, of course) because of the way they are portrayed in literature.
They say that by this time next year, the club will have an “eclectic” resume of books behind them. Fiction and nonfiction of all genres–including romance. While it’s viewed as a “lesser” genre than more academic options, Kim and Speegle defended it’s value in society, especially for young people learning to navigate the dating world.
- “You hear so many women not knowing how they should be treated in a relationship and yes, we get it,. These books are fiction, but it also teaches important lessons on how women should be treated. Some stupid drunk frat guy is not going to live up to the standards of our book boyfriends,” Speegle said. “I think getting the younger generation (involved) is really important.”
All four of the women bring a different perspective to the club, down to their favorite books.
- Kim: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
- Raisch: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
- Smith: The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Abrams
- Speegle: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
To join the Nice Girls Book Club, which is open and welcoming to anyone, simply follow their official Instagram page for updates and starting reading.