There is a lot of discussions lately about the CrossFit Open. The big question I get asked is should I do The Open and what is the point If I don’t plan on going to the CrossFit Games? The Open is bigger than just the CrossFit Games. It’s bigger than the $20 cost. It holds a special place near and dear to my heart.
The CrossFit Open has become a worldwide phenomenon since its inception 10 years ago. Without a doubt, it has impacted the CrossFit community immensely and it continues to do so today. The open is officially 10 years old this year. I can’t believe it’s been that long. When the open fist started, many saw it as their ticket to the Crossfit Games. The community was much much smaller then. The Open was a way the community could get together and complete the same workout and see how you stacked against the world. During that time many, including myself, religiously logged into CrossFit.com and completed the workout of the day and interacted on the discussion page. Today most do affiliate programming and do not interact as much on the main site page. The very first CrossFit open workout was a 10-minute AMRAP of 30 double unders and 15 Power Snatches. 75 pounds for the guys and 55 pounds for the women. It was a very simple, yet brutal, test of fitness. That was my first exposure to the world of competitive CrossFit. At the time I didn’t have double under and thought to myself “well there goes my chances”. To be honest, I never had a shot. But it was about proving myself that I could hang and do the same workouts as these athletes I have admired on MPEG videos. I was amazed that 140 pound Chris Spealler could clean and jerk 225 pounds. I was in awe of Jason Kalipa’s massive build and still able to run a 5K faster than me. And I was amazed at Annie Thorsdottir as she was cheered on through her very first muscle-up. And now I couldn’t believe I was part of the competition, even if it was just online. I was able to compare my stats with the same movement standards as these names that I looked up to. Today the names on top of the leaderboard have changed. The workouts are considerably more challenging. The Open is now home to over 100,000 athletes worldwide. The reason I do the Open still is not that I will ever achieve my 2011 goal of making it to the Games but it is that I can see how my fitness is improved from last year and the year before that. I can see how I stack amount fellow veterans, fellow affiliate owners, and my affiliate. I can see if I have improved or have I let life get the best of me and let my fitness drop off. These are very simple metrics to lay the ground world for my next year of fitness. What do I need to work on? Is it strength, skills, or conditioning? Did I let the gym business end get in the way of my health or did I balance out my life? Every year we all file our taxes and we see how we did financially. Did we earn more than last year? Did we pay enough in taxes? Every year we get a physical to see how we are doing in our health. Did we lower our LDL cholesterol? Are we showing signs of early diabetes? And for those students, every year we check to see if our grades are where they need to be. Did I increase my GPA? How often, however, do we get to check our fitness? This is our opportunity. This is our chance. We get to see where the past year of training has put us and where we should go from here. We get to see if we need to change something in our nutrition, in our training, in our sleep routines, and our way of life. The Open provides us with a basic matrix to start our fitness year. The Open is our chance.
The Open also allows me to participate with my community. The DCL Community just celebrated our 5th anniversary. I may be biased but this is the best community in Clarksville. The names on our whiteboard have changed and we have grown exponentially from our humble beginnings but one thing that has remained the same, our community. We hang out, workout, cry and share stories. We have our ups and our downs but we come in day in and day out to improve ourselves both mentally and physically. The Open is our opportunity to come in and share in the same workout together and push each other past where our perceived limits were. I have seen countless people hit clean and jerk personal records, get their first muscle-ups, and just hit a number of repetitions that they would have never thought possible. And why is that? Because the community was behind them. We cheered them on through every lunge, pull up, and snatch. We show each other what the power of community is. And in the end, does your score matter? Not really, but the effort that you put in means the world. 168 repetitions of thrusters and bar facing burpees will push everyone to their limit but seeing a grandmother finish or seeing the guy who lost over 50 pounds finish mean the world to me. That means more than any score. It means that when you have the confidence in your mind, nothing is can defeat you. You have the power to overcome any obstacle.
Today I am nowhere closer to my 2011 Goal of competing on the world stage. Today the names of the leaderboard are all different from when I started my journey back in 2011. These are all good things. The sport and community that I love have grown more than I could have ever imagined. These are good things because I have learned that my fitness journey is never over. I’m older, and hopefully wiser than when I first started. I know my limits more now. I know that as long as I live there is always something to work on. The Open exposes my weaknesses to myself and allows me to have something to look forward to year after year. This is why I do the Open and I hope that you will join me on the 10th anniversary of this fitness journey.