I’ve heard this question ad nauseam since we’ve started announcing that the Open is fast approaching. It happens every year. “I’m just gonna waste $20.” “Oh, CrossFit HQ just wants my money.” “I’m not even gonna place.” I hear all the same reasons over and over too. I’ve been in the community since 2010 and the criticisms/complaints haven’t changed. But, this notion that these are $20 not well spent is just incorrect from my perspective. The streaming subscription you never watch but haven’t canceled is $20 not well spent. The 2nd caramel mocha latte you buy day after day is $20 not well spent. Being able to throw down virtually next to the best in the world at something is. But, to me that’s not the real reason why you should do the Open.
I have a few reasons but the first and most obvious is that after the past year we’ve all had, getting together and participating in something bigger than yourself is just something we all need. Every year the Open joins CrossFitters all over the world together. Sure, you can’t physically be next to someone in Brazil or France throwing down but you’ll see a video of them online. You’ll see them doing the exact same workout you’re doing. You’ll see them collapse to the floor and you’ll know they feel the exact same way you do. There’s something special in that connection. They’ll never hear your name and you might even know theirs but you’ll have that bond. It’s nice to be connected.
The second reason and this is probably the most profound to me is that this is and should be, in my opinion, the most comprehensive examination of your health and fitness. I think we should get to a place one day where your primary care physician checks your height, weight, blood pressure and your score in the Open. Let me explain my reasoning. If we’re standing in a large room, say like an auditorium for collegiate lectures, and there’s 300 people in there and all of a sudden a tiger gets let loose in the room; the only thing you need to be sure of in order to not get eaten is that you aren’t the slowest person in the room. You don’t have to be the fittest and in this scenario you don’t have to be the fastest. You just can’t be the least fit or the slowest. The tiger isn’t going to do more work than he has to so whomever he can get to first is the one that’s becoming dinner. Now, I know what you’re thinking, impossible scenario. Yes, I know that. But, how do you really know how fit/healthy you are? Sure, you can go get a physical from your PCP but the real knowledge is in comparison to people of your age group. You might think you’re doing fine and dandy but if there’s someone in your age group who runs a 6 minute mile, deadlifts 2 times their body weight and can do Fran in 4 minutes or less while you can’t do those things then I would tell you that you have work to do. The standard is always the top. We need to know what’s possible. Once we do then we can work backwards and assign some value to the rest of the population. The Open provides that. You are only as fit/healthy as the comparison to your contemporaries dictates. If you really want to know where your health stands, do the Open.
The last reason is the environment it creates. Sure, you throw down in the gym every day but if you’ve never done the Open, it’s different. You’ll push harder. You’ll do things you were absolutely certain you couldn’t. It brings out the best in all of us.
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