The Open starts in a week. Dun, Dun, Duuuuuuuun.
For less than 1% of all CrossFitters, the CrossFit Open is the official kickoff to earning a ticket to the CrossFit Games. For more than 99% of CrossFitters, the Open is something else entirely.
To me, the Open is an annual celebration of CrossFit. It is a 5-week festival where CrossFit OKC (and CrossFitters the world over) can all workout together, scaling the workouts however we need to based upon the division or level of experience we have with the movements or weights listed. In addition to that, CrossFit HQ provides each of us with a way to keep track of our score and compare ourselves to our friends and our/other gyms if we so choose.
Does any of that extremely non-threatening paragraph instill fear in you after reading it? No?
Me neither. And yet the sheer level of apprehension or downright animosity to participating in the Open runs rampant throughout most CrossFit gyms.
Well, I find three reasons that most people have for not wanting to do the Open.
Reason #1 - “I’ve never done it before and don’t know what to expect or if I can do it.”
This one makes the most sense to me, however it has a few fatal flaws in its reasoning. For starters, if you don’t know what to expect, then can you really have a good gauge on if you are capable or incapable of doing something? Absolutely not!
Secondly, you have done “it” before. “It” is called CrossFit. We do WODs at least 4-5 days a week, if not more. The Open is no different than any other workout that we do in class except that you have a very easy way to keep track of your scores and you’ll have a dedicated judge to keep track of your reps for you. I don’t have to think or count? Awesome.
And the last flaw is an age-old one: uncertainty is not fear. While we often confuse the two, they are not the same. Please do not allow yourself to succumb to the timeless trap of not trying something because it is unknown. If you recall, CrossFit is precisely the antithesis of that fear: we thrive on the unknown and unknowable.
Reason #2 – “I don’t want to sign-up and pay $20 when I can just do the WODs.”
Fair enough. If the camaraderie and community aspect of signing-up with fellow gym-goers and friends doesn’t interest you enough to part with $20, I will in no way try to shame or convince you otherwise. It’s your money; you spend enough of it on CrossFit throughout the year.
BUT, I will say that I wish you would give it a shot because it’s a lot of fun—if that’s what you want it to be.
And that segue is what brings us to Reason #3 – “I’ve had a bad experience with the Open in the past and/or what if I don’t finish as high this year?”
Being a competitive person, I understand this reasoning. No one likes to feel like they’ve lost ground. Just like no one likes to come back to something that left a bad taste in their mouth. We do this to get better, right?
But let me ask a 100% genuine question: What does your Open placing really matter? Isn’t the experience and fun of fitness far more worthwhile than a place next to your name? And besides yourself, do you really think anyone cares if you finish 100 spots higher or lower in the Open?
As your coach (and potential team captain!), I absolutely care about you performing to your best. Your goals are our goals at CrossFit OKC. But the great truth of the Open echoes every other profound truth when it comes to meaning:
The CrossFit Open will be exactly what you make it.
No more, no less.
If you want the Open to be a 5-week adrenaline rush where you completely derail your regular training in order to climb 10-15 more spots up a leaderboard, then it will be. And you’ll love every second of it if you want to. And I’ll scream at you to push harder every time you do a WOD if that’s what you want.
If you decide that the Open is a fun-filled time where you can give your absolute best effort and be cheered on by your friends and fellow gym-goers, then that is precisely what you will experience during the Open and you’ll get more high-fives, fist bumps, and applause than you know what to do with.
If the Open is merely a workout that you do once a week for fun and don’t put a whole lot of thought or weight into it, then you’ll get exactly out of that what you do or do not want…with the added benefit of maybe winning a trophy in our inter-gym completion (CFOKC Black for the win!). The only pressure anyone should feel at CFOKC during the Open is what they, themselves, put on their own shoulders.
There is no external reason for you to not sign-up for the Open because this is your fitness journey and the Open is a great way, once a year, to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished and push yourself as hard as you possibly can with all of your friends screaming you on.
But even more importantly, it’s an opportunity for you to celebrate those around you and cheer them on as they push themselves to take another step on their personal fitness journey—for time.