why im not pushing the open

The CrossFit Open is right around the corner. The first workout will be the last week of February. This time last year at the start of every class I would ask who has signed up, then asked one or two people at random why they haven’t. I’d give a spiel about why everyone should try it, much of it centering around community and how The Open is designed for everyone to participate.

I won’t be doing that this year.

In years past, 2013 and before, The Open would begin with a fairly universally accessible workout, and the difficulty, in both skill and weights, would ramp up from there. It was expected that anyone could participate in the XX.1, and by XX.5 you’d be struggling for every point.

Then 2014 happened and the first workout had double unders. The second workout had chest to bar pull ups. The rate of gym members who just stopped even testing the workouts fell sharply after that. Far more sharply than in years past.

It just wasn’t fun anymore.

Chris Comma competing at the NorCal Masters hosted by TJ's Gym

Don’t get me wrong, I know why they have to up the ante on skill and strength. There is an unprecedented number of CrossFit participants every year. To get an accurate spread of the top level, to really decide who deserves to be at Regionals, means you have to have some harder and harder skills and feats of strength tested.

I get that. This is a sport, after all. No one is debating that anymore.

You don’t have a combine for college and professional football based on movements any ol’ shmuck can do. You choose skills that will separate the elite from the gym rats. That’s how these high level sports go.

But just as the NFL isn’t about the average Joe participation, I don’t see The CrossFit Open as average Joe participation anymore. There are so many local competitions happening, particularly here in the Bay Area, that I’d rather see people get tighter in their local communities and give their money to other affiliates than hand $20 over to HQ.

There is nothing like the sense of competing, and I don’t think The Open gives that sense of competing or the sense of accomplishment.

Some members of United Barbell and San Francisco CrossFit cross paths and make friends at a local competition.

I’m not against competition, I’m all for it. But this camaraderie is what I like to see.

So I totally understand why The Open gets more and more out of the reach of our typical membership. They need to really test the abilities of the top tier athletes. But for everyone else, keep coming to class, you can do the workouts in the gym, and let us keep you abreast of local competitions to whet your appetite.