I have been annoyed at many Crossfit shirts. This started when I watched a guy at a local weightlifting meet warm up next to Donny Shankle wearing a “Crossfit: your workout is our warmup” shirt. Donny was warming up to open his snatch at 160kg, this guy was opening at 60kg and was struggling with 50kg in the warmup room. I remember thinking that this guy couldn’t even do Donny’s warmup, not even 1/4 of it, let alone his workout. Who did he think he was? For some reason this stuck with me and every time I saw one of those shirts my blood pressure went up a couple of points. Shirts like “Smoke you like cheap crack”, fed into this. I mean really, smoke everyone who reads the shirt? Smoke them at what? The clean and jerk? The 2 mile run? Open water swim? Smoke everyone at every possible athletic event? Then the endless shirts playing up the fact that the wearer, or crossfitters in general, hurt more than anyone else, collapse at the end of the workout more than anyone else, throw up more than anyone else, or even sweat more than anyone else.
I recently read the first two articles in Lyle McDonald’s series about the shape American weightlifting is in, (for a discussion of the articles, click here) and one of the things he tries to do is explain the conditions that must be present in groups that are successful or even dominant. He talks about the absolute dominance of Kenyan distance runners, and one of the things present is both a belief that the harder they work the better they will be, and, the constant attempt to run each other into the ground at training camps. They are obsessive about trying to out-train each other, in particular any newcomer to the camps or training centers. Prefontaine is mentioned, along with his belief that he was willing to suffer more than his competitors and this was the key to his success. Hard work, suffering, and the belief that one can “break” competitors by pushing harder and suffering more than they can. Sounds like Crossfit. This made me see the various slogans in a bit of a different light. Although I won’t be buying a “smoke you like cheap crack” shirt myself, behind the slogans I see a belief that working harder and suffering more is what will make the wearer better at Crossfit, or more fit, however you want to define it. Putting it in those terms takes away much of the annoyance, and let’s me understand the mindset a bit better.
I recently saw a CF shirt that is truly awesome, and today Jon recieved an example of it. Not we will dominate you, not we will destroy you, and not we will smoke you. This one just gets straight to the end-game. We will kill you. Crossfit Salem, complete with a rainbow and a Pegasus on a light pink shirt. Crossfit Salem: We Will Kill You. Sounds like something Prefontaine might have said.