Oh, the Open! A curiosity to those outside of the CrossFit world; an anticipated event to those within it.
And for the Affiliate owner, it can be one of two things: a headache they dread or an opportunity they use – though it could still be a headache even if they view it as the latter.
There’s a lot of ideas out there on what to do with the Open and how to use it in your gym to build community. As I’ve already shared some of them, I won’t rehash them again. But what I will do is talk about a recent Open event I saw.
While in Boulder, Colorado, at CrossFit Sanitas – surprise, they are the May/June cover of Box Pro – on March 2, I witnessed what they were up to in terms of Friday Night Lights. Owner Melissa Roza said they split up the Open participants into five teams. Each team is lead by one of their full-time Coaches. That week, Coach Elissa Morello’s team was in-charge of the Friday Night Lights party theme. They had chosen a theme along the lines of neon/rave.
As I was chatting with Roza in their lounge, Morello started wrapping bright blue, orange and yellow streamers around the rig. Roza explained the gym gave each team a $75 budget to buy decorations and whatever else they needed for the party they were in-charge of. That week, the team had not only invested in streamers but also in Jell-o shots that were being delivered later that evening.
At 3 p.m., athletes and Coaches rolled into the gym in bright neon clothing, sporting socks and shirts and even tu-tus that were brightly colored. Heats were started for 18.2 and the Box became loud. I asked Roza how they got so many people to show up from 3 to 7 p.m. on Fridays for the event; she explained they get their team points if they participate. “People do anything for points,” she joked, but we both knew it was the truth.
All in all, there was a jamming party going on as I left CrossFit Sanitas. It was neat to see what another gym was up to in terms of using the Open to build community. Perhaps this will inspire some of you to throw a rave. Maybe it gives you ideas for next year. Whatever it is though, one thing is for certain: The Open can be used to build community. So you should take advantage of it.