After the Open: The Amp Community at Large
Another CrossFit Open has come to a close, after 5 weeks of physical tests and mental challenges, ending with an inevitable Thruster/Burpee combination-- which everyone now realizes tastes exactly like... burning.
CrossFit Amplify had over 100 members register for this year's Open competition, by far exceeding any expectations the coaches had about involvement. This was also one of the largest numbers in the Midwest and North Central Region.
We set a lofty goal of around 75-80 athletes, and had hopes of hitting that mark only because of increasingly solid involvement over the past few years. Our experienced members are good about passing on encouragement to newcomers. In fact, our gym is better than just "good" about things like that-- yes, the Open is a great bonding experience but it's because of the Amplify community, not because of the weekly workout.
Let's be honest: the weekly workout is always horrible.
It's not necessarily a bad workout choice, per se, although sometimes the Open includes skills or movements that not every CrossFitter has. (IE: double unders, chest to bar pull-ups, muscle-ups, etc.) Moreso, the issue is that even at just 7 or 8 minutes in length, the Open workouts are enduring tests of work capacity and stamina and mental fortitude and sheer will. Gut checks. Suckfests.
As Amplify coaches we always set the weekly Open workout as our Friday WOD. This proves to be fun and exciting to have our entire gym, Open athletes or not, push through the same workout as everyone else in the world... including the elite athletes. You know, those ab-ridden, superhuman TV stars even our non-CrossFit friends and family can watch on ESPN each July. ("Can you do that?" "No, mom... *sigh* Those are the elite." "Well you're elite in my book, sweetie.")
And how do we stack up in comparison to the rest of the world? For us mere mortals, fair. Average. Maybe above average.
But that brings us to the point. Bigger than all this, more importantly for our trainers and members, is the exponential growth of Amplify unity.
It gets difficult to put in writing without making it sound trite. I've touched on this before. (Check it out HERE, you carnies.)
It always ends up sounding a bit cliché or repetitive: the community at Amplify is amazing. The feeling of family is unbelievable. The people here are incredibly supportive; it's more than just a gym.
Yet it's true.
We often have athletes complete a skilled movement for the first time during an Open workout. Have only done a few double unders before? Knocked out 30+ in the WOD. Can hardly get one chest to bar pull-up? Got 10 before the time cap.
A submitted score will never show the emotional struggle or the small accomplishments or the uproar of a spontaneous cheering section at our gym's Friday Night Lights.
To hammer this point home, this Open season my wonderful wife, Sarah, and I welcomed a baby daughter to the world. Little Elliott. She was born on one of those Friday nights, during 14.4 in fact, while much of Amplify was cheering each other through endless Toes to Bar and Wall Balls and Power Cleans. I could sense it without actually being there. And as we shared the great news with family and friends, making it Facebook official of course, best wishes and comments poured in from our friends at Amplify. ("Future CrossFit Games champion!" "So when will Sarah complete this week's Open WOD?" many joked.) I'm also sure that a warm welcome will be waiting as we bring the baby in to see our Amp family for the first time.
This, this is the stuff that can't be seen in the numbers or the final results.
And now the waiting game begins, at least until April 14, as we see how our top rankings file in place in order to bring a team to Navy Pier in Chicago for the regional fun. (Read about how regional invitations work on the Games site HERE.)
Last year, CrossFit Amplify had initially missed advancing to the North Central regional in the CrossFit Games by one spot. Top 30 teams move on from the CrossFit Open. We were 31st. That is, before all the declarations took place with the North Central individuals and teams. After all was said and done we did in fact qualify a team for the 2013 regional, to go along with Kristin, our individual female athlete and resident badass. It was all a whirlwind of disappointment and excitement and frustration and pride... but a great learning experience in all aspects. (Check out a more detailed wrap up of last year's regional action HERE.)
So we wait again with only hopes and guesses for 2014.
And whatever the outcome, whatever comes of our team, I know that the 100+ other Amplify members will be there cheering on Kristin and uniting in the experience once again. If the team qualifies it'll just be the paleo icing on the cake. Because, in essence, the effort of the top athletes at the regional is the work of many. Yes, of course our competitive athletes do the work, day in and day out. But the team is in fact the Amp community. Those few on the big stage are representatives of us all.
That's the stuff that the Open season is about.
Once again I am more than proud to call all of you, the CrossFit Amplify community, our "team." Cheers to those of you who took on the 2014 Open, and welcome to those who will join in the carnage of 2015.
Now please, let's vow to never do that combination of Thrusters and Burpees again. Well, at least until next year.
- Scott, 4.3.14
Amplify's 2014 CrossFit Open Leaderboard