By Coach James Boatwright
These words perfectly describe the experience of the CrossFit Open. It is a way to connect the contemporary iteration of CrossFit with its roots from more than a decade ago. CrossFit wasn’t always the massive, ubiquitous presence that it is today. It started in people’s garages, or in “Globo Gyms” with athletes meeting up to do these crazy workouts together that they found on CrossFit HQ’s website. It was small and underground. It was something you had to seek out instead of happening upon. Back then, the magic wasn’t in having a sexy new pair of lifting shoes or the craziest color of Rogue shirt. It was in the shared experience of pushing through a CrossFit workout with your friends and others in the community who would post their workout times in the comment section on the HQ site.
The Open allows us to all reconnect with the original experience of CrossFit. It is the largest shared fitness experience in the world. You get to participate and compete with HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of other CrossFit athletes in five workouts across five weeks. Not only that, it allows us to compete with the pros in the same events. What other sport would allow you to do that!? You might be a great soccer player, but it would take a very narrow path in life to let you get on the same field as Cristiano Ronaldo.
If you do well enough in the Open, you qualify for Regionals. If you win there, you get to compete for a spot in the Games. If you win, you LITERALLY get to compete with the greatest in the sport – Katrin Davidsdottir, Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet, Annie Thorisdottir, Ben Smith, Matt Fraser. You get the point. YOU COULD ACTUALLY GET TO WORK ON THE SAME FIELD AS THESE LEGENDS. Not because you went to the right school, or because you got noticed by the right agent. No right place, right time bullshit. No other variable than the fact that you worked for it. You earned it.
That is what is magical and unique about the Open. That’s what makes it different from other sporting events. It allows us to work together, and to challenge each other and ourselves. It allows us to share in the spectacle with the entire community. The shared experience is the real crux of the Open. That’s what makes it for everyone.
It’s an opportunity for the more casual athlete to challenge themselves and their fitness, and connect with a community larger than their own gym. On top of it all, it’s damn good fun.
If you’re one of the many people who are new to the CrossFit community, or if you’ve been doing it for years and have yet to participate in an Open, you owe it to yourself to check it out this year. At the end of the day, it’s only five workouts. And yet so much more.