Friday Night Lights in St. Louis

How are you preparing for the Open?

When JoAnna Dettmann, the co-owner of CrossFit St. Louis, discusses the Open you can hear the excitement radiate from her voice. “I’m not looking to go to the Games, but, oh my God, I get nerves. I get so excited about the Open. I try a shit-ton harder during the Open,” she laughed with immense excitement coming through her voice.

The struggle for Dettmann is reiterating that same feeling to the rest of her 400 members at her gym. “I think there is a lack of education from the Open,” she said. “For me to explain what the Open is to 400 people, there’s another bi-monthly newsletter, we post and we Tweet on a daily basis, but it’s still overwhelming for most people. They are like, ‘the Open, I’m not looking to go to the CrossFit Games,’ but it’s so much more than that.”

Last year CrossFit St. Louis had an Open announcement party on the Thursday release, and then people could go ahead and participate if they wanted. But Dettmann found that in reality the vast majority of the people were in the competition team or competition class. This year she is striving to incorporate more of the day-to-day CrossFitters from the gym.

“We are doing a Friday Night Lights,” said Dettmann. “So, if you’d like to come in on Friday night, we’ll have someone there to score you … that’s at 5:30 p.m., and then at 7:30 p.m. the people that are hoping to go on the regional team are going to be performing the workouts. So, as a community we’re going [to] cookout and have some drinks, cheer on our team, and learn a little more about who is possibly trying to be on the team. The people that were on the team last year, and possibly trying to shoot for the team this year, will be kind of coaching the [day-to-day CrossFitters].”

Dettmann’s hope is to utilize the community typically seen in her Box around the Open. “The goal is to get the more general [athletes] in there, and the comp class can go at 7:30 p.m. so they can see how they do it,” she said.

The key to successfully managing an Open party is to discover what best brings your members together. How do you galvanize them around one singular event or over the period of five weeks? There are a multitude of strategies and opportunities, but to include your Box’s community, it’s vital you think about what will be beneficial for everyone.


Photo by Paul Nordmann

Tyler is a former editor of Box Pro Magazine.