It was only about a week ago when I wrote about giving credit to the powers that may be at CrossFit HQ. And before getting into this whole post I need to make something very clear: I have the utmost respect for what Coach Greg Glassman and his team have created. From the simple concept of giving people the ultimate training program, they grew the fastest growing movement in the fitness world by merely believing in the effectiveness of their program. I personally aspire to run my company and my ideas in the same way CrossFit started. Believe in something, practicing that something, and offering it to the world in a forum that allows people to do with it what they want. Freaking inspiring is all I can say. That is exactly why I wanted to be a part of the program. They have created a community that allows us all the freedom to be the fittest we can be, learn anything and everything about all aspects of health and fitness, communicate freely with one another about our thoughts, and change the world by making it healthier, faster.
Now that that has been made clear, I need to touch on how things have all of a sudden hit an incredibly massive wall. This year’s necessary shift in how the annual CrossFit Games is being approached has caused a sort of uprising within the growing and very vocal community. Interestingly enough, when push came to shove, their new Open Sectionals method I think won most people over. It has allowed for anyone in the world to be a part of such a huge event. I mean come on, this is unheard of in the sports world. If you want to compete in front of the world at any sport out there, well, I would assume that 100% of the people who read this blog just can’t do that. You don’t even have the opportunity, unless of course there’s a major strike and they hold open tryouts (then they can make a movie about you with Mark Wahlberg too!) But with CrossFIt, any person in the world with access to a gym, a camera, a computer, a couple friend, shoot, well maybe you can be named the “Fittest Athlete”. And even if your chances get smaller and smaller each year, it does not take away from the fact that you COULD.
Now if you are a CrossFitter, you are totally aware of all the crazy glitches that have been messing this incredibly groundbreaking event up. People can’t register, people have registered but their account won’t show up, affiliates can’t register, people can’t opt in to workout at affiliates, confirmations of people’s workouts are not sent out, and on and on. Oh, and the first workout was delayed from being introduced by about 5 or more hours. Because of the open-forum style of business CrossFIt is, this has led to an overwhelming influx of comments on the CrossFit main site, the Games site, Facebook and twitter. I mean shoot, 20,000+ registered competitors and probably up to a million or more people keeping tabs, you better be VERY prepared to handle it. And it appears as though CrossFit was not prepared. So yeah, it’s understandable that people would have some issues with this. They made a major change in how the Games would be approached, they set it up in a very specific way, they gave us a schedule and told us in immense detail what to expect. And then they failed to follow through.
I understand why people complain, I get it, it’s a let down, it proves they don’t “have it all figured out” as they constantly and confidently express to us in so many ways. I personally will complain behind closed, I think that in the end, the fittest person in the world will still be crowned correctly. This post is not to complain about their lack of preparedness for the KNOWN aspects of putting together an insanely huge online program (obviously I am complaining a tad here…). It is not to complain about their seemingly unprofessional demeanor, weather it be posting up controversial pictures on their main site, dropping the f-bomb all over their public videos, or wearing Budweiser shirts on the first ever “how-to” video post on the Reebok sponsored CrossFit Games website. CrossFit has never pretended to be a suit-wearing, perfectly well spoken, non-abrasive organization. In fact, I have seen on multiple occasions that they take pride in running a financially successful company while lacking in commonly understood professionalism. And you know what, good for them! They have been able to generate a worldwide movement without ever straying from the personalities they wish to hold on to.
So if in the end I don’t care all that much about the glitches or how their company is run, what the hell is this post about? Well, it is about their complete and total lack of communication. They screwed up, and screwed up BIG. And what have we heard from them? Practically nothing (there was a sarcastic, VERY defensive comment on the CrossFit Facebook page, that’s really it though).
I have all sorts of ideas on how they could have approached this whole process differently; I have ideas on what they could do now to fix things. But it’s not my place, I am sure they are doing everything in their power to figure it out. BUT, there in lies the problem. If they truly are doing everything in their power, they are not telling us. They are not updating us, they are not giving us insight into the problems they are dealing with, shoot man, they are not apologizing for any of this!
Remember the crap Toyota went through? Well, when their cars started failing, they recalled billions of dollars worth of them, apologized profusely and made efforts to change. People complained sure, people stopped buying their cars sure. But I am willing to bet that their website would have crashed with the amount of complaints if they had not said or done anything. They recognized a problem, then acted to make it better both internally and publicly.
Remember all those professional athletes who screwed up by either taking banned substances or just being irresponsible all around? Well the ones who openly apologized and made a physical effort to change didn’t get all that much crap for very long. The ones who denied things, or stayed silent got so much crap that they became practically obsolete as public figures; or, at least respected public figures.
We the public are pretty damn forgiving when the ones who made mistakes are just honest, sincere and open about those mistakes. But the second you try to hide it all, or pretend like nothing is happening, we eat them alive by our outspokenness and our freedom to express ourselves. I would almost guarantee that if CrossFit went ahead and issued an open apology for everything that is going on, then gave us insight as to what IS actually going on, things would be a whole hell of a lot better. But as of now, each hour, every time someone logs on to the Games website and sees yet anther athlete article posted instead of progress on all the glitches, they loose a little more faith. So my plea to the head honchos up there at CrossFit HQ is to just keep us informed! You have a responsibility to your hundreds of thousands of followers (probably a lot more than that!), not to be perfect, not to be flawless, but to follow through on your word and to be open and honest with all of us. If you choose not to be, you slowly become something similar to all those money-hungry fortune 500’s and financial institutions that, after long last, have crashed and burned because of their selfishness and lack of connection to their customer. Your goal at the start was to be “one” with all of us, to be on par with everyone and bring to the same level all people around health and fitness. Do not preach this and then, when the going gets tough, disregard us and hide from problems. Please just communicate with us and I assure you, all will be better.
I love CrossFit. If you know me, or spend time reading this blog, I am sure you get that very, very clearly. But, I am worried that with its rapid expansion will come the inevitable “it’s all just business” decisions. I have seen this happen with a few companies (all fitness-based mind you) in the past few years and its heart breaking to me. I have come up with a new little slogan, much like the “too big to fail” that we all know so well. “Too big to be kind”. When a business starts to deal with millions of dollars, it becomes pretty damn tough to be friendly with everyone. Companies like lululemon seem to do a good job of it; 2XU (a company I have become very close with recently) does a great job as well as far as I can see. CrossFit defined this idea to me. They refused to become anything but a huge family. But right now it looks like the parents of this family are refusing to talk to their children. For whatever the reason, this is just not good parenting.
I hope that they can open up to us. I hope that they work through all the problems going on right now. I have faith in the fact that the CrossFit Games will be huge, exponentially bigger than last year. And if in the end, HQ chooses to go the route of closed-off, “deal with it yourself” parent, so be it. I just hope they stick to their grass-roots base, no matter how big they become.
So, I’ll keep checking out the Games site here and there. I’ll be hoping things get fixed, waiting anxiously for the next workout, and wondering if HQ will ever let us know what is going on. Besides that, I’ll be working out, writing my blog, and going on with my life as I always do; just with a little less attention being paid to the CrossFit world.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Get Discounts Below!