Church of CrossFit (11): The CrossFit Open

By April 5, 2011No Comments

This is sort of an update to the CrossFit series that I penned during February.  Indeed, it’s that series that sends most of the traffic to my site.  One of my non-CrossFit-related posts even got featured on the main site’s affiliate page last month, which gave me 10X the normal page views that week.  So since a good amount of my readers are fellow CrossFitters, I thought I would pen some thoughts on the current CrossFit Open.

For those who don’t know, the CrossFit Open is a six-week, worldwide fitness competition.  Every Tuesday evening a new workout is posted. You have until Sunday to do the workout, get your score validated, and post it to the online leader board.  Scores can be validated either by performing the workout at an affiliate, or by videotaping yourself and posting it to be judged by the CrossFit community.

In this way, CrossFit HQ hopes to find the fittest man and woman in the world.  The top 60 from each of the 17 regions advance to the next round, which will trim the field to the top 100, who will compete in the 2011 CrossFit Games.

Sounds epic doesn’t it?  It is.  A staggering 25,000 people all over the world are participating.  (This kind of competition could only be made possible in the age of the Internet.)

Most of the 25,000 are better than me.  At least the 10,000 men in my age group are.  Right now I believe I’m ranked something like 8,000 out of the 10,000 worldwide, and 600 out of 800 in my region.

Still, there is something about posting a score that you think is pretty good, only to watch it get buried by thousands of people who are better, faster and stronger than you.  Something about watching a 10 year old girl score 60 more repetitions than you.  Something about being humbled by how far you have to go.

But I think the very idea of the Open showcases the tension that CrossFit tries to hold between inclusivism and elitism.  By making participation open to all, it demonstrates inclusivism.  By asking the participants to perform technical movements like the double-under, the snatch and the squat clean, it demonstrates elitism.

Real inclusivism doesn’t mean, come and do whatever you want.  It means, come, and it doesn’t matter who you are.  But once you get here, you don’t get to define things.  You tune yourself to the standards.  They are there for a reason, for your good.  Our standards are tried and true.  Doing whatever you want won’t get you anywhere worth going.

Come and do it this way.

I think it is the same way with the Christian faith.  It is inclusive (“whosoever will may come”).  But it is also elistist: we want to submit to the Truth, which means you don’t get to make things up as you go along.  We are not trying to get reality to fit us; we are trying to tune ourselves to Reality.

Come and live this way.

It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone is welcome.

But if you come, who you are will begin to change.

Question: Anyone out there competing in the open?  How are you doing?

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  • Luke says:

    Great thoughts! I’m really enjoying these CrossFit articles, and the fact that so many parallels can be drawn between the CrossFit community and the community of Believers is what in fact attracted me to the idea of Crossfit. I like the idea of “come as you are… but don’t stay that way,” being applied to both the CrossFit and Christian community. And the beauty of both is that if you do come and you do choose to continue to journey in these endeavors, and you truly put forth effort into the principles that are taught, growth and improvement is the only option. Overall physical and mental health in CrossFit and spiritual growth in Christ. I think the more difficult aspect for me is to take the same passionate enthusiasm that I have towards my CrossFit workouts and to translate that into my Christian walk. I am afraid that all too often I find myself doing “religious bicep curls.” (Great quote, by the way!) I have been thinking more about how I can have more of a renewed enthusiasm for Christ and why, at least at this point in my life, it seems easier to get inspired and excited about Chris Spealler doing over 100 consecutive pull-ups than it does to get excited about a risen Savior. The more I thought about it, I began to realize that what inspires me about athletes like Spealler is not their super-human-like feats, because I’ve seen plenty of those in my life, but rather what is most inspiring is Spealler’s overwhelming sense of genuine humility. And ultimately we are drawn to that humility and to want to be like athletes such as Spealler in the ways that they are like Christ. I think that’s where the key to passionate faith lies. Finding things we are passionate about and pursuing them in ways that produce genuine, Christ-like character that will undoubtedly be evident to all. Anyways, that’s all of my ramblings for now! Thanks for the read, and keep ’em coming!!

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