The CrossFit Games are fucking awesome. Kevin Daigle explains why Games tickets sold out in just a few hours.
It isn’t just a major sporting event. It’s a transformative experience for a rapidly growing number of people.
In 2009, I was fortunate to experience the magic — and unrelenting dust — at the Ranch in Aromas, Calif. I was head over heels for CrossFit before I set foot on the Ranch, but oh, what a difference a day makes.
Attending the Games is transcendent — a pilgrimage of sorts for CrossFit’s faithful who come to see the sporting display of our training methodology. What they find is more than fun in the sun, spectating and carousing. Much more.
In Aromas, the feeling of kinship was palpable amongst hundreds of CrossFitters. It was the first time I’d been in the presence of so many people who “get it.” I remember thinking, “These are your people.” That’s the best way I can describe it. Sure, that happens at the box, but at the Games there is an energy and excitement that goes beyond.
There is a bright line between players and spectators in every major sport. At the CrossFit Games, that line isn’t a line … it’s a broad, blurry swath. Everyone is a player, not just a fan — the distinct difference in our sport. In no other sport do fans have such a kinship with competitors. The cheering faithful feel every wince and every gasp for air. They understand because they’ve been there — probably that morning in a box with other CrossFitters doing the same things as these modern day gladiators. It’s an understanding that exists not just between fan and competitor, but also between fan and fan.
People move from each event, talking with fellow CrossFitters and basking in the sense of belongingness. It’s a reinforcement of what we already know, a proof of concept that, yes, this really is that good.
Coach Glassman once referred to the Games as the “Woodstock of fitness.” While the Games have come a long way from the dusty slopes of the Ranch, that feeling flourishes today on the concrete in Carson, Calif.
The CrossFit Games are not CrossFit. They aren’t the point. But they are part of what we are — the biggest celebration of our culture.
But why are they important? A training methodology –– CrossFit –– has proven to be more than the sum of its parts. It's a way of life. A path to increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Domains that extend from sports, to work, to relationships, to family and beyond.
CrossFit makes better people. The CrossFit Games are a giant billboard or beacon for what we've already done and what we're capable of.
Once upon a time, every conversation about CrossFit with the uninitiated began with a long preamble. That's all but a memory with the proliferation of the Games across the Web and major television sports networks. Now, to give someone a taste of what you're talking about, you can simply point to an ESPN broadcast and say, “This is it.”
A Pilgrimage to the Games is Just Another Step on the CrossFit Vision Quest
The first workout I did changed my life. So did working out at an affiliate for the first time and taking the Level 1 Seminar. Each of these experiences was a rite of passage. Visiting those hills in Aromas, though, was something different entirely.
People come into a gym and change their habits. They make friends and improve their lives. But, some are looking for more. Some are so inspired by the world they’ve discovered that they need to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. It’s these people who find their way to the CrossFit Games. Once there, nothing will ever be the same.
It's the pinnacle of our budding sport and the most public face of our movement. It’s a condensed, Cliff’s notes version of everything that makes CrossFit extraordinary. For a few a days in July, CrossFitters and not-yet-CrossFitters get a grand snapshot of this extraordinary community, both in person and 'round the world in stunning HD streaming video.
When you found CrossFit, it changed your mind. Next, the workouts and nutrition changed your body. Then, the community changed your life. Maybe you decided it was time to pass the gift on to others, so you took the Level 1 and started coaching. Something more beckoned and you found yourself in California, at — or even on — CrossFit’s biggest stage. An event that shows just what is possible with dedication to constantly varied functional movements and proper nutrition.
I was there with many of you in Aromas … so full of the gospel of CrossFit I could barely stand still. I had no idea what to do with it — yet. That week became a religious experience of sorts, a pilgrimage to the burning man of fitness and ass kicking: The CrossFit Games.
The Games are the muse of the CrossFit ethos. They aren’t what we are, but they’re a part of us. So many passionate, positive, inspired people in one place stoke the fire that forges our elite community. Even if you haven’t been, the tales of towering achievement dare you to wonder what you might be capable of.
The sport of CrossFit shows us what can be done. CrossFit the training methodology gives us the tools to go out and try it ourselves.
All who come leave with a steeled sense of purpose and conviction. We are on the right path doing the right things. Nothing this good or this benevolent has existed before. It’s a community where the right things are done for the right reasons. If you needed to see it with your own eyes, you’ve found yourself there … on that Sunday night in July, under the lights when the Fittest on Earth are crowned. Look around you, you’ll find all the right people.