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What the Open Means to Me.

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Andy Newton

What the Open Means to Me.

For the everyday CrossFitter, the 9-to-5er whose feet find the bedside ground before the sun slides above the horizon, slams their coffee black to drive in and suffer through a predawn metcon just to head home, shower and roll into a full workday, our Games season is about to come to a humbling close, as it does year and year again. The Monday after Easter will arrive and back to grind we go. We’ll watch the Baileys, Dottirs, Bazinets and Heppners of the world continue on to Regionals, to Carson and then to presumably a month of ice baths.

At the end of the day, this methodology we’ve all committed to is just that, our fitness program. It snowballs once a year into a demonstration of physical preparedness at such a gladiatorial degree that we cannot help but watch, sure, but the purpose regularly is something less grand, equally impactful and more transformative. The Open gives us mere mortals a peak behind the pain curtain and quenches our curiosity of competition. It’s popularity, much like the brand itself, is categorically meteoric. The first year the Open format was implemented a stark 26,000 participants found their way to the leaderboard, a number that stands as a candle in the sun compared to the 272,000 athletes that registered last year. It’s a truly galvanizing five weeks, pitting you against you, former or future. Director of the Games Dave Castro’s programming is well composed and holds sturdy against scrutinization. He continues to challenge the capacity of every member of the community regardless of their experience within it. More than likely, nobody reading this is going to be on ESPN anytime soon (unless of course you plan on streaking during the Royals home opener) and that is the beauty of CrossFit. The overwhelming majority of the people who inhabit affiliates are pursuing fitness to live happier and healthier, and nothing more. 

This collective experience that the Open produces is a globally unique phenomena that can only be compared to other large-scale events of interconnectedness that happen annually at most, like Christmas mornings as a kid or a packed city square on New Year’s Eve or more appropriately perhaps, taxes. Whether it’s your first year CrossFitting or you remember the blue balls bouncing in the hopper at the Ranch, the Open provides something that can only be experienced. There is as much agony as jubilation. Controversy flourishes online as the purists repeatedly refresh the Games page. Bonds are forged and PR’s are shattered. If you’ve ever seen your favorite band play a dive, the word you use to convey the intimacy of a performance in a venue like that is environment. You can’t match the environment of the Open. Done right, at your local neighborhood box, it’s magnetic. It sheds the ills of the work week and slaps a stupid smile on your face. Personally, I revel in the Friday nights, losing my voice, vicariously suffering through every rep the athletes that call me Coach perform. I live and die in their firsts as well as their failures. This is what the Open means to me.

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