“But I can’t do double unders!” The cry heard in boxes round the world after yesterday’s 14.1 announcement.
While I’ll admit I am surprised that CFHQ started the Open — a “fitness for all” event — with a skill that takes most months, if not years, to master, it will test athletes in a different way: mental fortitude. And that is an integral part of training, competing, and life in general.
But you’re not alone. There are more than 170,000 people signed up for the Open. I guarantee many of them are not proficient at double unders. I guarantee many of them struggle with the snatch. You will not be the only one trying your best. But if you decide ahead of time that the Open is “over” for you before you even start, then you are cheating yourself out of a learning experience that will help your training in the long run.
We aren’t doing this for glory. Nor do we endeavor to make Regionals. Only a respective handful worldwide will. We are doing this to be better versions of ourselves. To be stronger than yesterday. If we give up, if we count ourselves out, then we will never be able to advance to the next level of our training. When we fail, we learn. We learn where are weaknesses are. We learn where we need to focus our attention. Yes, we may also get upset, and we are allowed to because that means we care, but mostly we have a new appreciation for what it takes to succeed. And the only way to get better at something we aren’t good at is to keep trying. Perseverance is the key to success, and no one is going to put the work in for us.
There was a time when Rich Froning couldn’t climb a rope, and it cost him the Games title. But he trained his weakness and has since won three consecutive Games. There was a time when spectators watched in electric anticipation as Iceland Annie struggled and failed to get her first muscle up dring the heat of a Games competition. She learned what she had to work on and has since claimed two titles of her own. There was also a time when every person you see bouncing out double unders couldn’t do them. Seriously. But if they had called it quits after the first, second, or 100th try, they’d never’ve gotten to where they are now.
If you can’t string your double unders together, then that might be your goal for 14.1, even if that means only getting two in a row. If you can do them one at a time, then chipping away one by one and getting to the snatches might be your goal. If you can’t do one double under, then that’ll be your goal. But your goal will differ from everyone else’s goal. Your Open experience is just that: Yours. It is what you make it. Think of the Open workouts as any other wod. You do your best in the box every day, right? That’s all we can ask of you. Do your best and next time you can only get better. CrossFit is evidence-based fitness. The whole reason HQ is repeating the very first Open wod for 14.1 is to see how far the sport has come. Growth is a good thing. Don’t be discouraged, be inspired by possibility.
And you know what? Maybe you’ll get your first double under ever. Wouldn’t that be incredible? And then maybe next week will be your week. Or the week after. They’ll announce a wod, and you’ll give yourself a silent high five for being awesome at pull-ups, or amazing at deadlifts, or ridiculously good at rowing. And that person whose double unders you envy will be silently cursing their weakness for rearing its ugly head. We all must reckon with ourselves at some point.
Life isn’t easy. We’re all fighting for something. Be it a degree, a promotion, a new house, a relationship, a child, or any other myriad things that we want. But how often do we have a community rooting for us to succeed? How often is there a built-in support system of like-minded individuals who want something just as bad as we do and won’t let us give up? We will get through this together. Time will pass, and we’ll look back and see how far we’ve come. In a month, in 6 months, or in a year when we’re all biting our nails waiting for 15.1 to be announced.
“Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.” ~John Wooden