CrossFit competitions are like snow flakes: a lot alike, but no two are exactly the same.
While writing for CrossFitters all over the world, I find myself traveling to many of these sporty and spirited gatherings. Over the years, as everything does, they have changed. And by years I mean about five or so because anytime before that, a CrossFit inspired competition was called a cookout.
It’s fun to get a feel for what other boxes smell like on game day. Many smell like home; rubber and sweat. Others waft of vendor prepared food and paint, at least the newer boxes do anyway. And a few smell as wrong as a salad at a steakhouse. Those are the ones who think CrossFit competitions start at 6 a.m., with a 5k run. Maybe they didn’t get the memo – I don’t CrossFit to run, I CrossFit so I can run – big difference.
While these boxes with battles between each other; teams, individuals, charities and various incantations tailor their competitive art to the crowd, competitors seem to be figuring it all out. Gaming it you could say, getting smarter; or softer?
It seems like forever and a day ago, but I competed in the first ever Affiliate Cup at the Ranch in, Aromas, California. Back then, the qualifier was online, and based on your ability to register your crew the fastest. I totally killed that part.
The events were fun and sucky like CrossFit events should be.
Most CrossFitters couldn’t really snatch, not by today’s standards anyway. Maybe half of the field couldn’t hit a wall-ball target which was maybe a three-foot wide, 10-foot-tall piece of lumber. And some were paralyzed by a handstand push-up on parallettes. But here’s the thing; they tried.
In the beginning, CrossFitters, during and after competitive events, looked like rag dolls owned by pissed off children. The word “time” feel like a grenade that ended a battle between sides that would never surrender. Medals of valor were awarded to the body who was able to sacrifice the most, not the most able body.
This kind of of rugged, bitey willingness to go the distance even if it killed you was pure CrossFit. Men will die for points, Coach says. That’s what it looks like.
But over the last couple of years, I have witnessed some CrossFitters give-up mid-fight. Something that was unheard of.
I think some athletes are so dialed in to their bodies, that giving up means retreating to fight another day.
It’s still weird though. Sometimes it looks like the smart move of a seasoned athlete. Sometimes it looks like shrugging your shoulders and taking this whole game for granted.
“Live to fight another day,” sounds presumptuous when tomorrow is no guarantee.
Every CrossFit competition I’m lucky enough to attend, competing or not, I always look for my motivation. I always find it too.
It always looks like a CrossFitter of old giving everything they have in the midst of a crowd cheering for a stranger on. I look for that human who makes me and the crowd cry.
It’s Annie getting her first muscle-up, and losing. It’s Miko blowing an ear drum, and still swimming. It’s Shelly competing knowing that she doesn’t have a pull-up, but happy that she can burpee. It’s special.
I guess the answer; softer, or smarter, is for each individual to decide. But I do know this; smart is knowing the limits that will cripple you, and challenging the limits that frighten you. True CrossFit is knowing the difference.
*Add weight if possible.
3-Squat cleans 95/135
AMRAP 3 Minutes
-recover (1) minute-
3-Power cleans 95/135
AMRAP 3 Minutes
-recover (1) minute
*Hold the bottom (hollow) position for (2) seconds, and the top (flexed) position for (2) seconds on each rep.
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