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1. It takes money. My money.
January is the season of endless streams of commentary from the Shredded and Ripped camp of super mega athletes whose job it is to exercise. Posts of their triple digit weight lifts, rope climbs, hand stand walks, and running across sandy beaches clenching a 2 pood kettle bell in their teeth explode all over Instagram and Twitter like shit out of a confetti cannon. Their exploits are compiled into videos like these.
Darn it all if they aren’t all Shredded and Ripped. If you watch this closely, though, you’ll agree these are people who’ve lost touch with their basic survival instinct.
Now, little people like my self (where little is a euphemism for NOT a member of the Shredded and Ripped club) watch those videos and feel pumped up and motivated, right? NO! These videos fail to excite, fail to motivate, fail to inspire. They represent a level of commitment that is unrelatable, something I will most likely never experience, and I am absolutely OK with that.
But, Adventure Cooker, CrossFit is about competing against yourself and being the best athlete you can be. You don’t have to be the strongest, or the fastest, you just have to try the hardest.
Agreed. And, since that’s true, I don’t understand why I have to give someone $20 to compete against myself when I’m already paying my affiliate to do the same thing. What does that $20 buy me?
- An athlete profile on their website
- The opportunity to see myself ranked against the other athletes in my region, country, and the world at large.
- The pride of completing The Open workouts.
Incidentally, completing The Open workouts is non optional anyway, as they are the required WOD in any gym the Friday after the workout is announced. So, I’m paying to have my name put on a leader-board that no one looks at beyond checking to see where Rich Froning is in the standings and I’m paying to do workouts I’d be obligated to do anyway. I’m pretty damn prideful for completing ANY workout, much less an Open workout. (Also, CrossFit HQ doesn’t even mail out participation ribbons which is pretty lousy.) What I want is an option to sign up for The Open in the scaled division where the registration money goes back to my affiliate.
2. Bringing down the team average
When you sign up for The Open you’re required to identify your affiliate, and also identify your “team” which, in my case, is also the name of my affiliate. This suggests that the scores (or non scores) I put up in The Open also reflect against the large gym group as a whole. So, while the big dawgs roll all kinds of RX whilst and at the same time I will be scrambling along trying to meet the requirements of the scaled division. It’s anxiety triggering to think that my performance could impact the chances of other people around me. Especially if those people have actual aspirations made of actual skill.
But, Adventure Cooker, CrossFit is all about community, and supporting each other, and doing our very best!
Let’s all remember that when y’all’re tempted to beat me with PVC pipes in the parking lot after I DNF another workout because it required some twist skill that I hadn’t anticipated like hand stand dead lifts or some weird shit they invent this year.
There should be room at regionals for the last place finishers of The Open. Imagine how insane the crowd would be rooting on the under dogs, for the people who’ve committed to change and actually accomplished it! If we tout the community aspect of The Open then regionals should be similarly open to those people who’ve made it across the biggest hurdles. Crossfit HQ is missing out on a stupendous opportunity.
3. CrossFit HQ doesn’t need my participation to find the Fittest On Earth
Seriously. At no time will my being signed up for The Open in any way alter the outcome of the Shredded and Ripped gladiators convention.
4. Everyone gets a magical PR unicorn except me
2013 was my first year doing CrossFit and I wouldn’t have known about The Open if you held a gun to my head and told me to Google it. 2014 I knew what it was and enjoyed watching other people do it, given that this was before they offered a “scaled” option. 2015 I was in the throes of healing my back injury so even if I wanted to sign up (which I didn’t) I couldn’t. Every year there has been an avalanche of videos, and posts, and articles that bragged off (and rightfully so) the athletes who suddenly and inexplicably punched through walls and ceilings to achieve PR upon PR as if the stress of The Open allowed them to shed their human exoskeleton and release the beast within. It was like all those weight loss programs and health drinks that show you the giant, unhappy, mud-clogged house hippo and then a flashing star swirls across the screen and says, “10 weeks later!!” and the hippo is now a svelt and sleek impala of the suburban Serengeti. Show side by side comparison photos, talk about being your best self now for only eighty dollars a day and fade to black. Does signing up for The Open gave you magical eagle powers?
Apparently, yes. While the PR scenario might be very real for certain people, I have felt grounded and confident that this house hippo was happy riding towards the rear of the Gainz Train understanding that the supernatural PR pixie dust is reserved for the front cars.
But, Adventure Cooker, you do have eagle powers! You just have to keep putting in the work! Your PRs are significant for you! And, minimizing your accomplishments with insanely witty self deprecation is unnecessary!
5. I am a CrossFit atheist
Everyone who has been involved with CrossFit for a year or less already knows the three patron saints of CrossFit.
We have all knelt at the alter of functional fitness and drank the sacramental Kool-Aid, right? We have all been born again in a hail of sweat bullets leaving our sorry, excuse-riddled meat tubes behind going forth in salvation of gains everlasting, right? We are quick to defend the honor of our glorious CrossFit HQ living, except for St Castro of Dave whom we all agree has a well manicured douche-canoe public persona. AND WOE TO THEE WHO CALLETH DOWN THE WRATH OF THE ARCHANGEL FRONING! FOR HE SHALL SMOTE YOUR RUIN UPON THE BLADCK MATS! AND THEN PROBABLY GO SHOOTETH SOME GUNS AND RIDETH HIS 4-WHEELER!
I don’t care if Mr Glassman touts the Open as a communal challenge between friends, or some sort of broader community building event. Realistically, each time I get to the gym and see the people I work out with every day is how the communal community gets built. It also gets built at happy hours. But, at the end of the day, what Glassman and Castro are looking for are the biggest of all the big dawgs and people like myself are of low consequence to their program.
But, Adventure Cooker, that’s not true! Greg Glassman loves us all and accepts us all where we are! If it wasn’t for Greg Glassman none of us would be here! Greg Glassman just wants us all to be healthy! You’re hateful, Adventure Cooker! Talking about Greg Glassman like that… *ugly cries*
Mr Glassman is an exceedingly wealthy man thanks in large part to getting to a very thirsty market first and I’m sure he’s a lovely man. Even so, again I go back to the question about why my $20 is so damn critical for The Open to be conducted. It’s hype, and craze, and frenzy that drives this many people to sign up for an activity only 12 people per region per division will ever see benefits from. I won’t diminish the zealot believer that CrossFit is the one true road, and The Open is the fitness version of Lent leading to the climactic end, but I remained reticent, and here’s why.
The Open ain’t shit if your coach turns into an enabling sack of garbage for five fridays in a row. Duh, right? Stay with me here. During The Open a coach’s gym becomes a frothing pit of competitive hormones, and the wrong coach will let it go unchecked throughout the 5 weeks and end up with a whole pile of athletes that are broken. A good coach will continue coaching across each workout whereas a bad coach will let you go all Tasmanian devil for the untenable hope of good scores. A good coach will remind athletes to check their egos and to put on their invisible thinking caps to remember safety and form. A good coach will look at The Open with pragmatic eyes, and their athletes with even keener attention. The Open makes people go score mad, and a good coach can keep them from redlining straight into a preventable injury. I am not blind to how fortunate I’ve been with my coaches. So, I would rather laud them.
- Coach Laurie, Conductor of the TX Gainz Train
- Coach Ben, maker of Unicornz and provoker of #kennyz
- Coach Mike, giver of first opportunities and tolerator of me
- Coach Dave the Stoic and taker of no shit
- Coach Gene, programmer of daily crucibles
- Coach Phil, giver of work, gifter of PRs, distributor of sarcasm
Thank you for doing what you do. You are who builds the community. You are who creates communal connection.
6. I’m not doing it. I’m not signing up.
- I don’t want to give them my money
- I don’t want to ruin anyone else’s chances for glory
- I don’t want to give them my money
- I don’t want to give in to peer pressure
- I don’t want to give them my money.
- I don’t think Holy Trinity of CrossFit need my money
Well crap. None of that sounds very convincing.
But, Adventure Cooker, it’ll be fun!
Really?! Sweet! Here’s my athlete profile.