What Will “Old School” Mean in 2024?

Old-school vs. new school. Is there a difference?


In 2009, there were fewer than 1,500 affiliates worldwide. Today, there are more than 11,000. For many of the older gyms, this makes for an interesting dynamic.

I can feel a brewing undertone in the CrossFit community that sounds something like, “Man, when we got into this four or five (or six or seven) years ago, it was different. It was just us. Now look at all these gyms. Look at all these people!” In the moment, it’s quite easy to empathize with this gripe. Some passionate, critically important early adopters led the charge with CrossFit and it means the world to them, and to have your pride and joy be repeated both near and far has to be an odd experience. It has to be especially odd when these newer folks garner success that could be contrived as stealing your own.

There’s this feeling that the old-school gyms are naturally more rich in quality and experience. I’m concerned, however, that resting on the laurels of the date of your grand opening may not carry so much weight in years to come.

The logic of this gripe does run into trouble when you look at a bigger scope. Unless the folks making these complaints envisioned CrossFit either 1) not catching on or 2) not living past it’s 10th year, none of this should come as a surprise. In fact, both of those ideas are ridiculous given how passionate they are about the movement. One could only expect something so great to grow, right?

Well, what does this argument look like 20 years from now? What is the difference between the “old-school” guys who opened in 2008 and the “posers” who opened in 2011? Surely, based on time, the argument is silly.

This doesn’t, however, account for some sort of grave difference in ideology or quality between gyms that opened early on versus the gyms that are opening now. Do you think this claim will die out in decades to come, or are gyms that opened pre-2010 different beyond the measure of time? Surely, the gyms producing a quality experience 20 years from now will be the successful ones regardless of the date they opened, right?