And when my kid talks about “wishes coming true” he means I came home from the store with the carton of strawberries he wanted. At any rate, I have “wishes” and goals too, and as I registered for the Open yesterday I couldn’t help but reflect on how they have evolved since registering for the Open last year, and how far I’ve come. This thought has actually come to mind a few times in the past month or two. Since I started The Outlaw Way I’ve been asked to do things that I didn’t know I could do- this is an experience I’ve had time and again in sports. It’s one of the things I think is great about growing up in gymnastics. There were many times growing up that I was tasked with something I doubted I could do. But in that environment you just do it, you don’t question your coach and after enough times you start to have some faith in the process. I’ve adopted a similar mentality in Crossfit, which is why, as I’ve mentioned here before, it’s so important to me to have a coach I trust. So this week when I had to do jerk doubles at 180# I was at a loss for how the hell I was going to do it. In the past I really haven’t liked bringing relatively heavy weight down from overhead into the rack position. However, I’ve done a few workouts recently that have made me put more value on being comfortable managing the barbell going both directions. One of the workouts was doing the rope/clean & jerk workout from last year’s Games again, the other was a workout with light push presses in which I smashed the barbell into my face- oops. Anyway, long story short, I did the jerks, no big deal. It made me laugh though, because a year ago I thought it was insane to do “DT” at 80#. Now it’s more weight, but in many ways it’s the same process. Getting past that doubt and doing the work.
I can’t remember specifically what went through my head last year when I decided to sign up for the Open. I certainly had no idea where it would lead. I knew little to nothing about the Games, didn’t know any of the athlete’s names, and from what I could gather, took years of Crossfit experience to compete at that level. I knew even then that competing at the highest level was something I’d like to do at least in theory. I didn’t know if I had the potential to. When last year’s Open was approaching there were tons of movements I wasn’t proficient at (still are!). So what business did I have signing up? I don’t know, but I’m so thankful I did. I still occasionally have self doubt about my Crossfit goals, wondering who am I to dream big? I am lucky enough to have people around me who unwaveringly support me, and Crossfitting itself has increased my confidence exponentially- to the point I’ve been actually been called arrogant. Shrug (I will write some other time about why being “accused” of arrogance and cockiness makes me laugh). But guess what? I bet I’m going to stay focused on what I set out to do.
The Open is what set me on this path. It truly is for everyone, no matter what your goals might be and here’s why:
One of the greatest things about the Open is participating with the whole community. I’m starting to laugh at how much we talk about community in Crossfit, but it’s real. Whether you’re doing workouts within your own gym, at The Arnold with Games athletes, or in your garage and a submitting a video, you’re participating in a worldwide event that’s shared with a ton (can’t wait to see how many this year) of people who have something in common with you. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be “competitive” or you’re not trying to qualify to Regionals or the Games, or don’t expect to see yourself at the top of the leaderboard, it’s a pretty powerful experience to be part of.
The Open will also push you to better yourself. I saw so many people during last year’s Open doing things they didn’t think they could. From the WOD 11.3 the clean and jerk workout where I saw people taking their previous one rep max and lifting it for reps, to people like me practicing double unders day and night for that 11.1, first muscle ups- the Open is great motivation to up your game.
You never know what the outcome of participating in the Open might be. I had no real reason to believe I had a shot at the Games last year, but by doing the Open I left doors open myself. You never know how you might progress in the coming months, your team might need you, and you might do things beyond what you imagined, just like we do all the time in Crossfit.
I may sound like a cheerleader for the Open right now, but that’s ok if there’s a possibility that one person who might not have otherwise signed up will read this and not miss out.