The 2018 Open is coming – Blinders

Posted: January 26, 2018 in CrossFit, Training
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A lot of people claim to not be very competitive in the gym. Sometimes those same people register for the CrossFit Open and immediately turn into absolute psychopaths! What do I mean? Well, our sport created a verb that describes an action taken by thousands of humans all over the world for a 5 week period each year.

That word: Leaderboarding

What in the world is leaderboarding, you ask? It’s the absolute obsession with knowing the current rankings of an athlete/athletes throughout course of the Open. “Can you use it in a sentence, please?” Yes, I can. My company lost 40+ hours of productivity out of me over the last month because I spent almost all day every Monday leaderboarding by just hitting refresh on the my internet browser so I could watch my worldwide ranking drop by the second. Leaderboarding.

Why is this an obsession for so many of us? I think there’s a few reasons:

  1. It’s crazy to put into perspective just how many people play this little game we love called CrossFit. When over a quarter of a million people sign up to do the Open, and you know that likely doesn’t represent even close to a quarter of the people who CrossFit and just don’t sign up the event, it really makes us realize that this thing people called a fad nearly a decade ago, is still very much around. Being a part of that community is pretty cool.
  2. You’re just dying to know how you stack up in your state, your country, the world! Does it really mean anything to know that on workout 18.3 you were the 29,537th best person who registered for the Open? No. But it’s still really cool to know for some reason!
  3. Competing against your friends can be really fun! The CrossFit Open is the only competition I’ve found each year where you can go head to head with friends in your gym, and friends all over the world at the same time. I still haven’t found another at this scale that allows for real-time ranking and updating of results for so many fun events.
  4. This is my least favorite reason, but perhaps the most accurate explanation as to why a lot of people really leaderboard… to get justification that they are “better than” certain people, or be given fuel to add to the fire as to how they know other people aren’t as good as they claim to be. A score that’s better than yours gets posted by someone you beat day in and day out at your gym. An athlete you competed with last summer at a local event who couldn’t clean 225lbs, suddenly posts a new 1RM of 355lbs. You do a dry run of 1 round of the workout with no weight at all, and the score you see posted by another athlete is 2 minutes faster per round and they also used a heavy kettlebell. Did they cheat? They must have. Steroids? Yep, probably. A judge who counted every single one of their no-reps because it’s their best friend? You bet that’s what happened.

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It can be infuriating to work really hard to perform well during the Open, and then feel deflated because of reason “x, y, or z”. As the most intense few weeks of CrossFit for most of the world approaches, all I can do is ask you to take a breath and relax. Unfortunately, there will always be people who try to bend the rules for their own gain. There will always be athletes, gym owners, and judges who think that submitting a score that isn’t legitimate is alright for some reason. But here’s the thing to remember: There is literally nothing we can do to change them. 

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My advice for you is simple. Enjoy the Open. Check how you stack up against the rest of the world for five fun workouts. Hey, click refresh a few dozen times, I know I will. The only that I ask of you, is that you don’t obsess over your ranking. Don’t lose sleep because of another person’s results. And the most important message I hope you take to heart: Don’t ever associate your self-worth as a human being with how you rank in a fun exercise race competition. We’re all so much more than that.

Put on your blinders, get to work, and have some fun!

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