66,100th place.

That was the position I was in when I completed my last CrossFit Open.

No one else in the world can claim that title; it belongs to me.

So close, just couldn’t quite pull it off.

This year, if I work extremely hard and do really well, I can probably break the top sixty-thousand athletes and finish in like 59,999 place. Or, perhaps I fall on my face, completely shame the family, shit the bed, and make a complete fool of myself and finish 100,150th place.

Does it really make a difference?

Am I so self-absorbed to believe that anyone is really watching me close enough to scrutinize a guy who carries a folding chair with him in his trunk so he doesn’t have to stand, is planning to ask for a gift certificate to get his back waxed for his birthday, makes old man noises out of habit (even when no effort is being exerted), remains seated when he hears fire alarms because it’s almost always a drill and is willing to take his chances, and consistenly chooses Mexican restaurants because he knows there will be chips and salsa readily available, as his biggest fear is starving to death before his food is ready?

Do I really think so much of me that I would deny myself the opportunity to experience the rush and exhilaration that comes with being a part of the CrossFit Open?

At forty-one years old, about 250 lbs, and hips that were engineered to be boat anchors, my opportunities for adrenaline filled physical activities are relatively limited. My days of locker room camaraderie and the rush of Friday Night Lights has been replaced by early bedtimes and the thrill of the bedside light going out in tandem with the CPAP indicator light coming on.

I owe it to myself to get whatever thrills I can outta of this short life, and the opportunity to release endorphins in a safe setting with a room full of friends who legitimately want to see me do well is something I can’t pass up.

Of course, there will be the one or two people who don’t want to see you do well. There will be the sad individual whose biggest contribution to this world is his “Fran” time. He will see you as competition and he will probably win and get to take home the title of the World’s Twenty-Four-Thousandth-Eight-Hundred-Fifty Seventh-Man and finish first or second in your gym, but you have to look past him and allow him his burpee-driven life.

Yes, there will be the girl at the gym with rock-hard abs and a killer physique. She will be the one who looks down at you because you can’t do a toes-to-bar and she will do what she does and dominate the gym because her life has been devoted to finishing in 15,000th place. While you beat yourself up for not being able to do a muscle-up, a double-under, or a pull-up, just know that behind every beautiful woman with shiny hair, six-pack abs, an arrogant air about her ( along with a strange propensity to alternate between resting bitch face and duckface) there is a person with a dirty room, a chaotic relationship, and a mom who desperately wants her middle-aged daughter to stop focusing on squats and start focusing on getting a job.

And for the real athletes, the ones who have a shot at making Regionals?

They have a need for you. They want nothing more than to see you do well and want to thrive off of your energy. You are not competition to them, you are their audience, their driver. The real competitors have their own concerns, none of which involve my fatass making it over the bar or finishing within a time cap. They are playing an entirely different sport, wearing a different suit, driving a different car, and cooking with a different set of utensils. Watch them work and appreciate their efforts, it is to be appreciated not to be intimidated by.

I know what it is like to have a thousand reasons to do something good for myself and focus on the one or two reasons that I shouldn’t. I know what it looks like to magnify the one thing I fear, the one person I dislike, the one scenario that makes me uncomfortable and deny myself the fulfillment from the opportunity that lay ahead.

The CrossFit Open is…open. It’s open to everybody and it is for everybody. They don’t have full contact scrimmages for old men, they don’t organize state championships for middle age people who play on teams that don’t exist, and they don’t have “Field Day” after elementary school.

I encourage you to sign-up, learn a little bit about what you are made of, and enjoy the experience. If nothing else, you might just be the inspiration that someone else was needing to see.

Peace, Love, and all things, Beef related,

Beefcake

 

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