The Pegboard

I’m still pondering, so I’m typing out what I’m thinking and hopefully that will straighten things out in my brain.

I hated the pegboard.

I mean, I love pegboards. They are fun. I wish we had one in our gym. Holy crap do your arms have to be strong and be able to stay strong for a long, long time.

But as a the final event in the CrossFit Games? Meh.

pegboards are good for hanging stuff

pegboards are good for hanging stuff

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go stand in front of a wall for seven minutes and imagine that millions of people are watching you and there is $275000 on the line, with even more money in sponsorships and the potential for worldwide fame – and then you crap your pants.

That was the pegboard.

I’m willing to admit I’m wrong, and that maybe Dave Castro is more forward thinking than I am. I am not infallible and don’t believe that just because I have an opinion that it’s true.

But if you want to program a test of fitness no one can pass, don’t put it on Prime Time ESPN. Don’t make it the last event, a neck and neck must-win, determining the winner. A Kentucky Derby where all the horses break their legs and one manages to limp across the finish line is tragic, dumb, and kind of boring to watch. Of all the thing human beings can do to test their fitness, you pick one they can’t actually do?

i googled

i googled “horse broken leg” for a picture but…. that was a bad choice. don’t do it. you can thank me later.

Ok, say you really REALLY love the pegboard. Put the skill early in the week. Put it at the end of the event (Airbike – dumbbell snatch – pegboard) to encourage participation in the event.

As a coach, I would have been telling my athlete to do exactly what Katrin Davidsdottir did and quit to recover for the next event, regardless of what people thought of the effort. In that situation, effort doesn’t matter, winning matters. $275000. GAME THE CRAP OUT OF IT. She played it right. No one will remember the athlete “who tried the pegboard but lost”.

As a fan and spectator of the sport, however, I wanted to see something…awesome. After a week of paddling boarding, sandbag carrying, and Murph, I wanted a throwdown. SOMETHING EPIC. It might be juvenile and selfish to say, but I’m being honest and open with my feelings and I hear that’s what blogs should be about so pass me my kleenex.

I am all about tests of fitness. ALL ABOUT THEM. Love them love them love them yum yum tests of fitness. If you ask my athletes, they will be the first to tell you I have them do some wacky/repetitive/boring/not fun stuff in the name of “Test of Fitness”.

But I’ve also programmed competitions, and for me a beautiful event is when it’s as fantastic to watch as it is a fantastic test of fitness. I don’t think those things have to be mutually exclusive. The power of the sport of CrossFit is that it brings excitement to human performance; both for the athletes as well as the spectators. Instead of watching people hooked up to O2 sensors running on an incline treadmill to test V02 max and getting blood lactate samples drawn – we get to watch people jump, sprint, climb – and lift heavy shit, lots of times, very fast.

Sure, the women will come back next year and be able to climb the board one-armed, and people will talk about how the Games pushed the envelope once again, but I’m going to be selfish and short-sighted and say for the final event of the 2015 CrossFit Games, winner takes all, I want to see people….do stuff. Like, exciting and awesome stuff.

This was an alright post by Rudy from The Outlaw Way, pointing out “impossible” events in the past that are now commonplace acts of CrossFit. Of course, weights are scaled for women but things aren’t scaled beyond that and to say “Ok, women, do one ascent half the distance” could be construed as an insult. I get that people will say The Games push the limits to push the sport. That people will come back next year, better.

But in that moment, with all those people, I don’t care about the future of the sport eight years from now, or that every gym in the country is going to invest in a $800 Rogue pegboard, or that in 2024 people will be linking YouTube videos to this year and laughing because the women couldn’t climb a pegboard.

I care about the collective experience of athletes and fan, of tests of fitness being fantastic fantastic to watch.

But again, I’m willing for you to convince me otherwise.

C’mon, and go for it, babe.

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