There has been a lot of talk in the CrossFit community about how Dave Castro and the 2015 CrossFit Open screwed us over. It does not sit well with everyone that the Rx division required athletes to have mastered higher level gymnastics skills (“muscle ups – at the beginning, he must be satan!”) and to meet the high strength requirements (heavy cleans) in combination with handstand pushups. The “solution” of the Scaled Division also angered people who pride themselves as Rx athletes in their home gym but who have not acquired some of those higher level skills. The movements in the scaled WODs were viewed as dumbed-down skills, (“single unders, I haven’t done THOSE since SECOND GRADE” ??? ). Even the division title “Scaled” has been enough for some to categorically reject the workout. It is debatable as to whether or not CrossFit is making decisions based on the best outcomes for individual athletes, the sport of fitness or the mega-business of Crossfit, itself. Many people are threatening to never do the open again. But once the smoke has cleared, what can we take away from the 2015 open?
While some people were huffing and puffing that the Open was not fair, I have witnessed some really cool things at my favorite box. You might have done every workout Rx last year and scaled a workout or two this year. Does that make you feel like you have slipped in your performance? Now take a minute to consider that in the repeat WOD (15.2) most athletes at CrossFit Newtown significantly improved their scores compared to last year. In my book that demonstrates clear progress! Are you planning to go to the CrossFit Games or are you in this to get stronger, faster, and more baddassish? If its the latter, then despite the programming decisions at CrossFit Central, from my whiteboard it looks like you’ve all been working hard and getting better. Instead of seeing only where we failed this time around, celebrate the areas of accomplishment and also identify areas of weakness that you can target moving forward. Furthermore, we can enjoy the Open as a community building event without the expectations that we are going to compete in Carson.
CrossFit Newtown has made some progress in our work as a team. There has been more camaraderie than in years past as we have spent more time strategizing the WODs. These ” WOD-hacks” were utilized when we figured out how many reps to complete in sets, how long our rest times should be or when and where to save energy with movements. Mike Gillies referred to these as “points for being smart”. As a non-elite CrossFitter, I am always happy to take those kinds of points! Another example of the increase in camaraderie is the amount of time I got to spend with the other female athletes trying to work on skills together. Three days on muscle ups! There were a lot of laughs over that one. Additionally, there was more knowledge sharing about solving the puzzle of the higher level skills: “how do you do that?” and “does this look right?” And I witnessed a lot of support for each others’ successes. In particular, it is nice to see athletes who are not typically viewed as WOD-Killers spanking the rest of us because they got the skilz required this time around. There were several instances where athletes repeated WODS with new strategies in order to get higher scores to help our team score.
Once we got over the initial shock of what the 2015 Open was going to look like, I think many of us settled in to enjoy the ride. It is good to remember to keep our scores in perspective. It is enlightening to see where we stand compared to elite athletes, and also compared to other athletes in our age groups around the world. However, let’s not equate our CrossFit standings to our self-worth or our overall fitness progress. Always remember where you came from, set new personal fitness goals, and then do the work to meet them. CrossFit requires a set of skills and a certain level of fitness in order to qualify to go to the next level of competition and then to the CrossFit Games. So none of us are going this year, or next year for that matter. Don’t let that distract you from the real reasons you do CrossFit. Take advantage of and participate fully in what separates CrossFit from so many other exercise programs – the COMMUNITY! Let’s continue to help each other, support each other and learn from each other for another year!