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What the CrossFit Games Means to a Grinder


The CrossFit Games gives something to its fans that no other sport does — a chance.

No matter how good you are at baseball, football, basketball or soccer, you can’t just sign up for training camp and roll the dice on making the team. For a grinder like me, the odds of my reaching the CrossFit Games are NOT in my favor. But the point is, no matter how unrealistic it might be, I do have a chance to qualify. The buy-in this creates is substantial. CrossFit’s community is the heart and soul of this growing movement, and giving everyone a chance to make it to the show only increases the personal experience of the Open, Regional and yes, the Games.

I’ve watched the Games for years, but this year it was a lot more personal for me. This was the first time I had signed up for and completed all the Open workouts. This was the first time I was given a chance to work with the Media crew on the Regional floor. Doing both these things really gave me a sense of being involved.

Although I did not make the trip to the StubHub Center, like thousands of you, I watched every minute, glued to my smart phone, computer and my TV. I had the chance to interview and get to know three of the Games athletes, so I was really pulling for them, but it is just as much fun to watch the top contenders do work as it is to watch the ones who are struggling.

Why? Because, like them, I’ve been there too.

CrossFit makes so many of us face challenges we never thought we’d be able to accomplish sometimes daily. But it’s another thing to watch the best of the best struggle. To grind it out on a worldwide stage. To watch Rich Froning’s less-than-champion-like swim. To watch athlete after athlete drop from the pull-up bar and fall from the legless rope climb filled me with a sense of the familiar. Even they, the mighty, have to take breaks. Even the champ struggles.

When Bill Grundler referred to Matt Hathcock as a grinder, it of course made me smile. In my developing definition of that term, there is no way that Matt Hathcock is a grinder on a normal day. That man is awesome and elite. But that’s what I love about the Games, it makes our gods seem mortal. It makes grinders like me see that no matter how good you are or what your “Fran” time is or what your Oly PRs are, you too have to drop the bar, you too have to grind out workouts.

For me, that gives me something beyond the enjoyment of watching my heroes battle it out over the four-day gauntlet of seemingly unending challenges. It gives me hope. It gives us all hope. The hope that you, too, have a chance. If you put in the work, you too could someday make it to the Regionals and maybe, just maybe, beyond, to the promised land. It might be as an individual. You might be a part of a team. But the best thing is that I’m only two years away from qualifying for the Master’s division.

For me, that gives me the only thing I need … a chance.

What were your thoughts about this year’s CrossFit Games? Email me at jtolgrinder @ or join the growing Grinder Community on Facebook at .

Stay on the Grind.
— JTol