The Open is the ultimate CrossFit event. It’s all about personal bests, Me vs. Me, Me vs. the World and five workouts.
It’s time for the community to bond. And most of all, it’s fun.
The sentiment echoed in boxes throughout the Africa region is “do it for the fun of it.”
There’s a celebratory feeling in the boxes and there are plans to partner the Open Workouts with social events. CrossFit Vaal, for example, is holding a get-together every weekend.
“Once we’re done with the workout on a Saturday morning, we will either hit the local coffee shop as a group or have a barbeque at the box,” affiliate owner, Brad Strydom, says. “It’s this kind of social spirit that’s inspired many people to participate. They simply want to be part of the fun.”
Come One, Come All
In most boxes around the region, athletes are encouraged to bring friends and family to add to the energy.
“We’re creating a spectator-friendly environment where everyone can get into the vibe with these crazy CrossFit devotees,” Laura Newman, of CrossFit Proform, says.
Last year, the final Open Workout at CrossFit Platinum had supporters crowded into any available corner cheering on the athletes. With the growth in participation, particularly in Africa, these crowds will surely grow.
But for many, the most exciting part of the Open comes from experiencing the global buzz. In community spirit, CrossFit Tokai may join up with one or two other boxes to do the workouts.
“More people means more of a vibe,” Gina Goosen, of Tokai, says.
Neil Sholtz of Ballistix CrossFit is thinking along the same lines,
“We’d like to get some interbox competition happening,” he says.
CrossFit Bryanston’s David Ayres agrees.
“We want to encourage other crews to come throw down at our box,” he says.
In the spirit of CrossFit, many affiliate owners are opening their doors to anyone who needs a spot to do the workouts, whether they are affiliated or simply devoted to the sport.
“We’ll make our box available to any athlete who finds themselves in need of equipment, an affiliate or a judge to officiate their scores,” Craig Lourens, of CrossFit Valar, says.
The general sentiment seems to be: the more the merrier.
Getting Over the Fears
Highlighting fun instead of fear has been a major part of Open preparation for many people. Goosen says people are often nervous to compete because their only exposure to the Open has been seeing people like Rich Froning and Annie Thorisdottir.
“We’re trying to show them that it’s mainly a fun event for them to experience a competition-type environment,” she explains.
In light of this, many boxes have been programming the 2012 Open Workouts as part of their regular classes.
“When members see how well they would have scored, it gives them so much confidence. They’re loving it,” CrossFit 10 Star’s, Ray Robertson, says.
While fun is important, the Open is still the first stage in finding the Fittest on Earth. As you’d expect, many athletes and coaches are in it to win it.
“Athletes who want individual attention can attend additional classes after hours where (head coach) Danie focuses on Games training,” CrossFit B4C's, Charmain du Preez, says. “This is really hardcore training, exclusively for the elite athletes.”
Most have also been running additional classes for all athletes taking part in the Open. Especially in the case of newer boxes, such as CrossFit 364, where most athletes have only been doing CrossFit for a few weeks and need extra coaching.
The magic of the Open happens when CrossFitters find the courage to be athletes, to compete against each other, to challenge themselves and to challenge each other.