The Paradox of Watching the CrossFit Games

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by NICK PORTERFIELD, D.C.

The Paradox of Watching the CrossFit Games
The CrossFit Games got great coverage this year on the ESPN.  It’s the best and the worst thing to happen to CrossFit, depending on who’s watching it.

People who do CrossFit usually enjoy watching The Games. We understand the movements, the WODs, the difficulty, and the pain of what those athletes are going through.
People who do CrossFit usually enjoy watching The Games. We understand the movements, the WODs, the difficulty, and the pain of what those athletes are going through. CrossFit is probably the only sport in which the spectators — whether at home or in public — don’t jeer the athletes.  It’s so easy in other sports to yell at an athlete for not succeeding. Most of us don’t know what it’s like to hit a 95 mph fastball (while also wondering if you’ll get a changeup or curveball instead). We don’t know what it’s like to guard LeBron James. We don’t know what it’s like to try to tackle Marshawn Lynch. Yet fans of the more traditional sports have no hesitation to yell at athletes who fail at these tasks while they sit on their couches drinking beer and eating wings.

On the flip side, did anyone tell Elijah Muhammad that he sucked when he missed a 275-lb snatch and dropped it on the back of his head? Or how about when he missed on his first attempt at a 325-lb clean and jerk? I was in the stands when he missed the snatch and the answer is no. Why not? Because unlike other sports, people who do CrossFit can actually compare themselves to the athletes on the field, apples to apples. We know what it’s like to do Murph. We know how much we can snatch or clean and jerk. How can I yell at a guy for missing a 275-lb snatch (his 15th snatch, I believe, of the tournament-style speed snatch ladder) when I can only snatch 155 lbs? Not to mention that he had just completed Murph a couple hours earlier. After I do Murph on Memorial Day, I usually go swimming and eat BBQ ribs. Not only did the fans not jeer Muhammad when he missed the snatch or clean and jerk, but they went absolutely nuts when he rallied to hit both lifts on his second attempts.

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