Are these things contradictory? Yes. Is that okay? Yes. As Walt Whitman wrote many years ago: “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)”
And so it is with CrossFit. We are large. We contain multitudes. And within each of us, the same is true.
As much as we like to slap a white hat or black hat on society or CrossFit or each other, that’s just not accurate or fair. Highs and lows exist in each person. Good and bad. Strengths and weaknesses.
Each time an Open workout has been announced over the years, there have been cheers and jeers. Accusations of too easy or too hard. Suggestions that maybe things are too inclusive or too exclusive. You know what I take away from the cries and the exultations? We’re getting it right.
If everybody loves what you’re doing, then you’re playing it too safe. If everybody hates what you’re doing, then maybe you’re an asshole. But if you’re somewhere in between? Maybe you’re getting it right.
This is a fitness competition in a very competitive yet supportive CrossFit world. Think about that: competitive and supportive. We don’t find those qualities to be mutually exclusive. They exist in all of us, if we are honest with ourselves. And so our competition should be hard. It should weed out those who are weaker, who have not trained enough, or who maybe just are not mentally ready to stay in the pain. I’m okay with that, and if I’m honest with myself, I see where I fit in each one of those categories.
This isn’t high school. We’re not awarding Most Popular or Most Likely to Succeed. We’re looking for the fittest people in the world. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t still be fun for those amongst us who are super geeks (raising my hand) or older (raising my hand) or injured (raising my hand), or whatever sub-category of Super Beast that you might fit. But if you want to keep playing, you’re going to have to meet the bar, however high it is or however heavy it is. Do what you can do, safely and enthusiastically. That’s all you should be asking from yourself anyway. And then go cheer like hell for the next person.
This is CrossFit, and this is the Open. We are large, we contain multitudes. Go have fun.