Man in the Arena
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Why do I compete in the Open?
Because I feel it is important that we regularly test ourselves.
Because I refuse to spend my life on the sidelines.
Most people live life on the sidelines. They feel safe there. Comfortable. There is no risk of failure if you never try.
But life is short. And it goes by so fast. Who cares about winning or losing or looking like a fool? Life is meant to be lived. Life is meant to be exciting. Exhilarating. Life is about effort. Life is about trying. Whether you succeed or fail.
It is better to have tried and lost than not tried at all.
I have competed in the CrossFit Open every year since 2013. I have not won my age division yet. I have never qualified for the CrossFit Games. I’m a perennial loser. Sure, I’ve qualified for the CanWest Games four times but my best finish was in 2022 when I placed 7th in my age division. And we all know that 7th place is the same as saying 6th loser.
My Judo career was no different. I competed from the age of 9 to 39 and I have lost more fights than I’ve won. I’ve finished on the podium many times but I’ve actually only won gold two times in my entire life!
When I reflect upon my competition experience however, it is not those two gold medal performances that stand out the most to me. My greatest moments were winning silver in 2008 and two bronze medals in 1990. Though I didn’t win in either of those competitions, I felt those were my best performances, the tests that required me to dig deep and overcome something. I may not have won on those occasions but I felt that I fought like a champion.
So I suppose I just do not value outcome as much as effort. To me, the heart of a champion is measured in effort. Champions do not live on the sideline. They are in the arena testing themselves. Win or lose, champions come to play!
And that’s why I love the CrossFit Open. It is a competition that everyone at every level can participate in. There are scaling options to make it accessible no matter where you are at in your CrossFit journey.
I am looking forward to putting forth my best effort and losing the CrossFit Open again this year. How about you?
Would you like to lose the Open with me?
The CrossFit Open starts February 29th with one workout per week for 3 weeks.
We will be hosting Friday Night Lights at Empower Friday March 1st, Friday March 8th and Friday March 15th.
If you want to play, register for the 2024 CrossFit Open here.
Prep yourself for competition and learn the judging standards by completing the 2024 CrossFit Open Judging course here.
And special thanks to Garfunkel and Oates for writing an anthem that speaks directly to my athletic experience!
Friday Make Up Day
1) CanWest Team Training 23.1
20 min AMRAP
15 Wall Balls
50ft DB Lunge
2) 60/75-calorie row
21 push jerks
15 push jerks
9 push jerks
3) Echo Bike EMOM
See how many rounds you can successfully complete, max 20 mins
Score = Rounds completed + Calories of final incomplete round