This is my response to a recent comment posted on the CrossFit Games Facebook page insinuating that $20 is a barrier to entry for the CrossFit Games Open. I don’t get it.
I disagree. Let me see if I can address some of your points.
Roughly 500 athletes have competed at the CrossFit Games since 2011. During the same period 443, 758 people have participated in the Open. That tells me that hundreds of thousands of people have found the Open to be a beneficial mainstay of their annual training calendar, with ZERO delusions that they will advance to the Games. What does that look like?
The story of Daniel Casey comes to mind. He has transformed himself through hard work and used the Open to make a statement to himself and the world that he is an athlete. There are about a half million more stories like this. Check it out: http://games.crossfit.com/article/and-fitness-life
To say the growing participation numbers detract from your ability to gauge fitness year to year is a backwards argument – it’s actually additive. Casting the largest net possible to measure and evaluate where you stand is a priority of the competition. I personally find it fascinating to know that last year I was 22,080 in the World. More importantly though, let me offer another way to view the leaderboard. My main priority in terms of competition is beating one of closest friends in a tradition we have carried on for 5 years. I’ve also got side pots with friends and colleagues who are similar stages of life as I am (parents, career focused, 30 plus, etc). Regardless the growth of participation in the Open, my fitness in relation to those peers is what I value most. Check out the Custom Leaderboard: http://boxlifemagazine.com/the-crossfit-games-open-having-fun-with-the-custom-leaderboard/
Programming. The Open is and will always be a test of fitness, not specialization. If the workouts were the same from year to year you would be testing your ability to train for those specific tests. Every year the combination of workouts and your performance against them give you a way point at that point in your life as to where your health sits. We measure our work capacity, observe trends and benchmarks, then repeat that frequently. That’s always been the recipe, and it’s something that I plan to measure over the course of my lifetime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl6ANK8CN5w (if you’re short on time, fast forward to 4:00).
The Open gives you a 5 week period of your year to focus and prioritize. You’re right, you could do the workouts on your own. I could also run the Boston Marathon course on my own, but I guarantee you my training would look substantially different than a serious attempt at the course on race day.
Most importantly, the Open is very fun.
In light of all of this and when I consider other things I spend $20, money does not seem like a reasonable excuse to not participate. Think about a few cups of coffee, parking and your recent trip to the fair or one meal out at a restaurant. If the $20 entrance is your last barrier to entry, I’m happy to pay it for you. You just have to complete the workouts at a CrossFit affiliate and tell me about your experience when the competition is over.
And… most affiliates have beer. I hope you read all this.