What would possess someone brand new to CrossFit to sign up for the Open? Why would someone that hasn’t even attempted half the moves that Dave Castro will potentially require sign up for the Open? Hmm… good question.
I signed up as a competitor in the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games for a handful of reasons. I think. Maybe it was only one reason and the rest are just “reasons” to put my mind at ease over this impending “mistake”? Maybe this is the worst idea ever? Maybe it is the best? Maybe it is somewhere in between? Let’s investigate.
First, what are the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games you ask? The Games is the annual competition to determine the fittest male and female on the planet. Think of it as the Super Bowl of CrossFit, but better. How is it better? Anyone can compete. Anyone. Can you just go hop onto a football field and contend for a spot in that early February Sunday game? Nope. Can a nerdy engineer like myself vie for a spot in the Games alongside CrossFIt’s biggest stars? Yep.
The Open is a 5-week ordeal to determine the athletes beastly enough to advance to the Regionals and then ultimately to the Games. The Open – five weeks and five workouts. Here’s the kicker, the five workouts are secret! They are announced every Thursday, starting today, for the next five Thursdays. Imagine The Reaping from The Hunger Games, but five of them! (But it’s like The Reaping and Christmas combined… weird I know.) Every week we await the revealing of the torture workout we must complete. The workout must be completed as prescribed, as in the exact weight and format as stated, then scores submitted by the following Monday. If you can’t lift the weight specified or perform the exercise required, guess what your score will be? Zero. This ensures a level playing field for everyone. Everyone. From Rich Froning to Chris McCune, each competing athlete in the Open will be doing the exact same workout. How freaking awesome is that??? How freaking terrifying is that???
Now the question remains; why did I sign up for the Open?
A benchmark to see where I stand at the beginning of my CrossFit journey seems like the most logical reason. (Spoiler alert: It isn’t my main reason.) Every athlete in the Open performs the same workout. I can literally compare myself to every other competitor in the world. That tiny Asian lady that warms up with my 1RM deadlift? Yeah I can compare myself against her. More than that, athletes can compare themselves to others that have done CrossFit for relatively the same amount of time, provided they fill out their profiles! And while the workouts for the 2015 Open will surely be different, in a year I will be able to look back and see how I have improved over my 2014 scores.
Let’s put to rest any lingering question that I could advance to the Regional competition. I can’t. Zero percent chance I qualify for Regionals. Glad we got that out of the way. That leaves precisely zero pressure on myself to obtain a certain advancing score. I’m just going to have fun with it! (That is, if your definition of fun is doing tough, painful workouts that you quite possibly will fail…) I’ll be doing the workouts with my CrossFit 865 family. We will struggle together. We will probably fail together. And when we fail, we will laugh. And when we laugh, we will scale the workouts to our abilities and then attack the WOD again. And when we do our scaled WOD for ourselves and not for score, we will be tired and sore and spent. And when we are tired, we will laugh and drink beer together and guess what next week’s workout will be and repeat….
This is the majority winner for why I’m registered for the Open. Is that bad? Maybe. Probably. I’ve already made a ton of awesome new friends on this journey, and most have recommended that I do the Open. They said I would regret it if I didn’t. I don’t like regret. Here’s the thing though, I know I’m going to fail. I’m scared. Who willingly wants to set themselves up for failure? Who wants to pay money to fail?
It all depends on your point of view of failure. A month ago, my view of failure was that of an ending, that failure meant the end of an unsuccessful journey. Now, I’m learning that failure is only the beginning of a journey. They say when one door closes, another door opens. That’s failure. That is how you become better than yesterday. What’s success? A string of failures that together form the crucible in which a new, better us is forged. Fall down once, get up twice. Persevere. Win.
Something To Write About
And then there’s this. The vast majority of the CrossFit community will be focused on the Open for the next month. I don’t want to be the guy reading about everyone else’s Open stories and not having any of my own. I want to tell my story to all of you and hopefully, if you aren’t going to compete in this year’s Open, that by 2015 you will join me for the fun.
For the next few weeks, I’m going to post my thoughts on the WOD after it comes out but before I attempt it. Then I will write a recap of my experience of the workout highs and lows (probably lots of lows) and see how it compares, much like I did with my Angie recap. And maybe I’ll throw in a surprise post or two that I’ve been working on for your reading enjoyment.
I’m not going to advance past the Open. I know this. But I’m not going to lose. Somehow, someway, I am going to win. I’m going to be better because of this. My score may be laughable and embarrassing on the surface, but I will own my score. I promise this, my score will be the best score I can possibly obtain. I will give 100%. I will stand up more times than I fall, no matter the number. And then I will laugh and drink beer and toast the Open because it’s my Open and it’s your Open and it’s our Open and we are all winners.