The CrossFit Games Are Stupid

By February 28, 2011CFMC Blog Archives

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When trying to explain the idea behind the CrossFit Games to someone who isn’t double-fisting frosty mugs of Kool-Aid, most often they stare back at you like a dog contemplating a frog in their water dish. This is not a new experience for anyone who’s tried to explain the basic concepts of CrossFit to someone unfamiliar with them, but when you add the idea of a competition they become particularly hesitant. One of the main arguments I’ve heard (and read in the comments of several blogs) is something to the effect of, “that’s stupid – who wants to go watch people compete in working out?”

Ok, let’s take a look at sports in general for a moment then.

Baseball – A guy on a little hill throws a ball toward another guy who tries to hit it with a stick. If he hits it, he runs like hell while a bunch of other guys chase the ball. If he doesn’t hit it, another guy gets to try.

Football – A guy takes a squashed ball and throws it (or gives it) to another guy with the same color shirt. When that guy has it he runs like hell and a bunch of guys with different shirts try to knock him down and take his ball. If he runs far enough, he throws down the ball and dances like an idiot.

Basketball – Ball. Hoop. Make ball go in hoop. And bounce it. A lot.

They seem pretty stupid when you look at them this way, but this is what someone who knows nothing about these three sports might perceive when someone else tries to explain them. Now take a look at my simplified (though accurate) description each of these sports and try to answer for me one question: why? Why hit the ball with the stick and then run? Why knock down the guy with the squashed ball? Why make the ball go into the hoop? My answer to all that would be, “why not?”

CrossFit as a sport may be in its infancy, but it’s as viable (and perhaps more so) than any professional sport out there, and it’s anything but stupid. Instead of seeing who can hit a ball farther, run 40 yards faster, or hit more 3-pointers, we’re finding out who can best negotiate the widest variety of challenges pulled from an infinite pool of possibilities. It’s the same thing we do in our local CrossFit Affiliate every single day, and when we watch the CrossFit Games we get to see the best in the world bring a new level of incredible to this thing we love so much. In my opinion, that’s just f*cking cool.

Read the sequel: The CrossFit Games Are Stupid, Part 2

  • dan lau

    after one good crossfit wod the ppl that don’t understand will have the light come on in there head.


  • Ray

    You made the CF affiliate page with this one, Tai!

  • Andy

    OORAHH!!! I love this, oh and thanks for not mentioning Hockey cause then I would have to fly out there and school you on the finer points of a good solid hip check.

  • Did you talk to my three girls to get their description of these sporting events? Sounds just like them!

    They fully understand CF, but really don’t get most of the other sports. To them, the traditional sports (except for Lax and swimming) don’t make much sense. They’d rather do CF Kids version of Fran and climb ropes for time.

  • Arlene

    For those who have not tried a CrossFit class, they are missing out!! It’s totally changed my life and I have gotten stronger. Plus, I’m liking my more athletic physique, which is not bulky. Don’t knock it til you try it dudes!

  • brian s

    Crossfit is the best. U can half ass anything but u u can’t half ass crossfit!

  • Red

    I wouldn’t say it’s ‘more’ viable than those sports. Sounds a bit biased to me. Just because you love something doesn’t make it better than anything else. The truth is the crossfit games may one day be on the popularity level of the worlds strongest man competition which in essence is people competing in working out. Very different type of working out but nonetheless ….

  • beardlywoodchop

    CrossFit is for pussies. You can half ass it because it’s “scalable” right? Isn’t the difficulty up to the participant? The only reason this laughable fad called CrossFit still exists is due to a prominence of dipshits duped into praising it. Anyone claiming it’s the hardest thing ever obviously doesn’t understand the applicability of the adjective “hardest.”

  • Tai

    Clearly you are the authority on the subject, “beardlywoodchop.” (Is that your real name?) I don’t know why I didn’t see your point sooner. Oh yes, it’s because I’m a pussy who believes in the CrossFit fallacy. Yeah, I’m ok with that.

  • beardlywoodchop

    Its like Glassman poured sprinkles on dead-lifts and called in x-fit or put some glitter on pull-ups and called it x-fit etc…marketed it then sold it. The majority of x-fits exercises existed before x-fit but x-fit took these old boring exercises took away heavier weight and proper form while substituting reps. What qualifies as a expert? Some idiot who forks out a $1,000 for a weekend x-fit personal trainer course or the even bigger idiot that thinks he’s a knowledgeable trainer.

  • Mack

    I know this article is older now but I still wanted to chime in. The way you wrote this and the proceeding article really bothered me so I want to say something. (Plus I’m bored at work)

    First, let me preface this by saying, I love Crossfit workouts. I have been doing them on my own for about a year now and soon I’ll be joining a local box after having rearranged some finances so I can afford it. So in no way at all am I an “Anti-Crossfit” guy because no doubt, I really love this stuff.

    That being said…when I first heard about the Crossfit games, I admit…I did think it was kind of stupid. Not that the workouts were stupid or that the competitors were stupid, but the idea of making a contest out of who can perform the exercises the fastest and then calling it a “Sport” just didn’t sit right with me. It’s essentially athletic training turned into a competition. To me, the workout itself can’t be the “sport” because the workout should be what you use to get your body more prepared to be better at the sport you do. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching the Crossfit Games and I think the people in them are complete badasses, but I just can’t get myself to call Crossfit…a “Sport”. It’s not a sport. It’s exercise. And trying to make it anything more than what it really is just seems like a stretch.

    And I really don’t like the way you took the existing major sports and dumbed them down so much. The statement “Instead of seeing who can hit a ball farther, run 40 yards faster, or hit more 3-pointers” is actually a very unfair assessment and here’s why. Those sports actually have a tremendous amount of physical preparation that is required (particularly football) and in order to be successful at them you not only need a lot of physical ability but you also put hours upon hours into mental preparation as well. And then there is game planning and strategizing that goes well beyond anything anyone will EVER have to do to become an elite Crossfiter. Show me the last time a Crossfit games competitor spent 20 hours a week breaking down film on their opponent over and over again to find even the slightest advantage they could use against them in a head to head matchup. Or researching through rounds of stat books so they can game plan when to shift a defense, when to call out a left handed pitcher when there are a specific number of outs with runners in scoring position. Or which 5 on 5 matchup with 7 seconds left in the game gives you the best chance at setting the most successful pick & roll so you can setup and take the game winning buzzer beater shot? A Crossfit athlete will never need do anything like that. A Crossfit athlete strictly works on one thing. Their ability to do the Crossfit exercise the fastest and in a way that would result in valid repetitions. Are they awesome at what they do? Absolutely! But…people…they are doing an exercise! The major pro sports are more like a chess match but using real life people. What is the major strategy one would use in the Crossfit games to defeat their opponent other than…GO FASTER!! ?

    Also, ever stopped to think about how so many of the competitors at the Games have barely been doing Crossfit for even a couple years whereas, athletes in Football, Baseball and Basketball play all the way from the time they are small kids just to perfect the skills needed to be elite in their sport? There are people competing in the Crossfit games who couldn’t even come close to stepping foot into the NFL, MLB or NBA even if they trained for it every day for the next 10 years yet, they are able to go to Crossfit. I’m sorry but I am much more impressed by a NFL quarterback who can step up to a line and examine every player on the opposte side of the line and go through multiple scenarios in their ahead of what each one will do when the ball is snapped and then at the last second call an audible, take the hike, drop back, scan the field, shake off option 1, shake off option 2, and then precisely wait for the EXACT split second that the window opens for them to pass the ball to the receiver number 3 who broke away from the defender who bit on the run fake all because of the audible that altered the entire strategy within a matter of seconds. Show me ANYTHING in Crossfit that even comes close to that.

    Again, I love Crossfit. It has become and for the rest of my life will be my workout program. But it’s not a sport. And when you write articles like this I think the truth is, you give Crossfit a bad rep. And I think you, like many crossfitters out there, need to stop being so impressed by yourselves. You’re awesome at what you do, but you couldn’t do what the pros in the major sports can do. Don’t act like you are better than them because they as you put it “hit a ball farther”.

    This article is a joke.