Can you LOVE CrossFit, but not LOVE the CF Open?

I think so.

I don’t like the CF Open. And I haven’t really understood why I don’t like it, so I decided, for the past week or so I would try to dig deep and really understand why I don’t. The real “why”, not the first “why” that comes to mind. We all have that first reason, but the second reason, the one you have to dig a little deeper for is the one that is the truth.

At first I thought maybe it was because I’m not the strongest I have been since doing CrossFit. But, then I think back to doing the Open as part of my old gyms’ competitive team, and it wasn’t fun at all then. Not because of anything bad with the gym or the people I was around, that was actually the best part. But, I got that every day, I didn’t need the Open to give that to me.

I started listening to what others say as to why they don’t want to do The Open; “I’m just too competitive………..I get stressed out……..I have an injury………..I’m busy…………I don’t think I can do it…………I don’t like being in front of people working out.” While all of those things are actually, at least partially true, they didn’t fit with me either.

Can you love a sport but not compete? Can you love CrossFit and not want to be a part of the biggest event/worldwide workout in the world, meant to test your CrossFit abilities and measure you up against everyone else in the world.

Well…….maybe that’s where I start to not care.

I don’t need a number or a position in the world. I wouldn’t mind a ranking for other things in my life……like most patient mom, most relaxing vacationer, best concert goer, coolest wife, biggest smart ass, etc……….but I haven’t found a ranking system for that other than happiness.

I think I should be able to use that same “happiness” score for CrossFit. Because, after all, it is just a hobby for us.

We aren’t getting paid to do CrossFit. We aren’t professional athletes.

If you play tennis as a 40 year old, are you expected to compete down at the lawn club every weekend in the open division?

Ok, so I think I am getting closer to my real reason. Then, I start thinking about my responsibility to my members, my community. It’s a challenge running a business, but leading a community is way more challenging and demanding than I ever imagined. I’ve talked to others who have similar responsibilities, and they agree. It’s a weight you bear like no other.

The emotional toll of taking responsibility for people’s experience while they are here is something I take very serious. It is one of the only things that will keep me up at night and wear on my sole. This isn’t being dramatic and not something I talk about much, but it is a new year and a good time to be more open and more emotional……at least I think.

Let’s say you were a manager or CEO of a company……..and you decided to encourage everyone at your company to do something, this can be anything, but that something ends up causing your staff a serious about of anxiety, stress, sometimes injury, and sadness. That’s how I have felt over the past few years holding The Open as an “in house” community event. Sure, some people felt like they got something out of it, I am in no way saying my opinion is correct or something that everyone feels, because it is not.

But, if you saw the above scenario play out with your staff, wouldn’t you be bummed? You are the one talking to people on the phone and in person, letting them know they are not defined by this challenge or program. Yes, they are adults and responsible for themselves, but you pushed them to do this. They didn’t know what it was, they didn’t know how they would feel, they didn’t even understand most of the details of the challenge or program. So, here you are, overcompensating with the “fun meter”, “it’s all good” you say, “it’s fine”, it doesn’t matter. But it does, and it did and now you can’t take it back. You just have to put the pieces back together and build people back up to where they were and the path they were on before.

It sucks.

It’s stressful and sad to see other people sad and stressed, especially when you feel it’s part of your job.

Maybe it shouldn’t be part of my job. Some will probably think that. But, then, those people are probably folks that enjoy the benefits of the community too. And if I haven’t said it before, I will say it now, nothing just happens to be that way. 🙂

For the people who want to try it and excited to challenge themselves further than they probably have in recent years, you should do The Open. If you are competitive and want to track your scores and measure up against your sister who does CrossFit in Texas, or your friends down the road……….you should do The Open. If you want to be motivated to push harder than you normally do in a WOD, then you should do The Open. If you want to compete with others in the gym and compare apples to apples, this is your year. They typically redo a workout from the previous year, so if you used that workout as a gauge, you could measure up against yourself from last year and do The Open. And we will be here to support you all the way.

If you don’t care about all those things, come out on Friday Night and join the rest of the folks in the VIP lounge where the drinks run strong and cheering loudly is required.


2 thoughts on “Can you LOVE CrossFit, but not LOVE the CF Open?

  1. Thank you for this article. I have done the Open for 5 years and decided I don’t want to put myself through that stress/anxiety again this year. There is an overwhelming pressure from others to “just do it…” and I begin to wonder how I can just enjoy Crossfit without being part of this global event (I love your tennis reference). Everywhere you look at this time of the year there is some article telling you why you should do it. Well, been there, done that. I put in 100% every time I do a workout and I don’t need some competition to rank me on my fitness level. I’m good.

    • Thanks for your comment Willice. I wish there didn’t seem like there was so much pressure on CrossFitters to do it. I think that everyone is on their own journey and CrossFit is about so much more than “testing” yourself. We have been looking at our most seasoned members, and they all have 1 thing in common and it is diversity in their workouts and moderation. It’s been really inspirational.


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