Friday, March 13, 2015

Dave Castro Killed CrossFit

At least he did for me.  And at least what he did was kill the CrossFit Open for me.  A few safe harbor statements.  I am not a competitive CrossFitter, I'm not even a particularly good one.  I'm not very strong, I'm definitely not very fast, and I have the gymnastics skill of a baby elephant.  I do, however, love everything about it.  I love pushing, and sweating, and suffering, and more than anything, I love the shared experience of it with everyone in my gym.  I "come in last" in almost every workout I do with 10-15 other people, and sometimes by a huge margin, but after it's over, I have shared something with the people next to me that we laugh and cry and cuss about until the next time we do it. I rarely do the weight the big dogs do during their workouts, and my totals are way below theirs, but we have a common bond.  And every March, something incredible happens. For 5 weeks, the CrossFit Open MAKES me do every workout RX with the same weight and same movements that the man who's going to win the CrossFit games does.  I might do 5 and he might do 155 reps, but we do the exact same workout.  For those few workouts we have a connection even though I'll never touch the level of skill and fitness that he has.

This year Dave Castro destroyed that.  He made a scaled division in the open, basically giving the people who "can't" do certain movements a way to "take part." What he really did was say that we have these professional athletes that do one thing, and then the rest of you can do this other thing that is kind of like what they do.  What Dave Castro did was say, see these NFL players, they're going to do their thing, you can go play in the vacant lot with your friends across the street.  What was special about the Open was that I got to play in an NFL game.  Not with a crowd, not with any money, not with any glory (sometimes the opposite), but I got to play the exact game that the pros did.  That CrossFit Open said that we are a community of fitness where everyone is important and connected and capable.  This CrossFit open feels like I would be playing dress up.

I didn't participate in the Open this year, and I'd like to say it was because of my philosophical differences with Dave Castro's new format, but the truth is I let myself go and wasn't in any shape to even try this year.  But when I heard how this was going down, especially hearing about releasing a workout with muscle ups, probably the biggest limiting movement in the CrossFit arsenal, I see clearly that the Open isn't for me anymore.  Dave Castro doesn't care if I want to do the Open or not, he cares about making a sporting event to put on ESPN, and I get that, I just wish it weren't true.