The outrage concerning the CrossFit Open stems from a feeling of injustice. I get it. We all thought we knew what the Open was. The Open (as prescribed) was for almost everyone. It was simple movements. It let you and your friends find the deepest darkest hole you could work your way into in six to 15 minutes or so. It made you feel like “one of them.”
It made you feel elite.
I hate to break it to you, but you aren’t elite. Maybe there was a time that, considering the context of your peers, you were, but not anymore.
Men and women who are angry at muscle-ups coming first in 15.3 and handstand push-ups in 15.4 are mostly speaking from a position where they feel like they were ripped off. It sounds like, “Hey! This isn’t what we talked about. This is my thing, and now I can’t even do it. You’ve changed, CrossFit.”
CrossFit has changed. The population is fitter. And when you sign up for a contest that’s looking to find the fittest men and women on Earth, you can’t be A) someone who doesn’t do handstand push-ups and muscle-ups, let alone dozens and dozens of them, and B) someone who wouldn’t understand that someone vying for such a title would do them.
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I do empathize, especially, when folks identify with being a CrossFitter. This is specifically true when you’re a relatively good athlete, too. I was a fringe Regional-level athlete back in the day (CrossFit Games 2011 – Team), but I’m not expecting that the Open owes anything to me when there are thousands of people who have earned more fitness than I. We’ve got to at least agree to be as critical of our own fitness as we are of CrossFit, the organizers of the test. Quite frankly, if I’m still top 75 in my region training a handful of days per week with a knack for heavy workouts and a lack of sacrifice for the sport, then something is wrong with the system, right?
I’d hope so.
Now, though part of me is writing this to bring some reality back to a disillusioned situation, I’m not here to shame or discourage, because on the other hand is this maturation of human performance right before our eyes. For some people, it may feel like getting passed up, but for others, it can be a testament to what’s possible and the efficacy of this thing we all love called CrossFit.
At the end of the day, the folks who aren’t complaining about the Open are folks that, among other things, demanded more of themselves and earned the ability to do these workouts as prescribed. If you find yourself pouting about the movements in the Open, demand the same for yourself. Use this reality check to soar into the next evolution of your fitness.