Whomever you are, whatever your skill or strength level, however good or bad you think you are at CrossFit, someone somewhere looks up to you. Somebody, somewhere is impressed by what you do. That somebody doesn't always have any idea if you are doing the movements correctly or not or if you are doing all the reps. They are just impressed by what they see you are able to do.
This is a position of power.
And as we all know:
with great power comes great responsibility.
To wield that power responsibly, you have to have integrity.
The workouts that you do generally require you to perform a given number of repetitions of a given set of movements, with a given set of standards within a given amount of time. They rarely, if ever, ask you to choose your own standards, movements or rep ranges.
There's been some cheating by the pros in the Open this year and it has upset a lot of people and rightly so. We all look up to the professional athletes and they have a responsibility to us to demonstrate faultless integrity. But just because a few individuals believe the standards do not apply to them, it doesn't mean we have to follow suit. We need to hold ourselves to higher standards. We need to hold ourselves accountable.
Let's say the wod today is 21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pullups.
That person you admire gets to rep 18 of the 21. They know they could do all 21 but that woman they admire is a few reps ahead of them and they know they're as fit as her normally. Today they just don't feel on top form but they'd like the board to reflect what they believe they are capable of. So they miss out the remaining 3 reps and move onto the pullups. Everyone (apart from their coach!) is too busy counting their own reps and breathing hard to know if they did the full 21 or not. When they get to the pullups, most of the time their chin goes above the bar. Sure there were a few no-reps in there but they're not being judged, it isn't the Open, they're not going to Regionals. It's just a workout. Round 15 of the thrusters and they're starting to feel a little tough. They could split them into 5s and go below parallel and get their chest through at the top but that would mean letting that woman they admire get even more of a lead on them and they know she just isn't that much better than them so they play fast and loose with the below parallel thing and locking out at the top and try to go unbroken. Sure there were a few no-reps in there but they're not being judged, it isn't the Open, they're not going to Regionals. It's just a workout, right?
You look up to this person. A lot of the time, you might even be as fit and as strong as them. Sometimes, you know you do a movement better than them but you still really admire them and are constantly impressed by what they do. So every time they beat your score in a wod, you beat yourself up about it. How were they a whole round ahead of you when you know you are about the same level as they are? You feel bad after CrossFit rather than great because you are confused. That person you admire was hot sweaty and out of breath after their workout. They go a good workout done.
They didn't cheat themselves, even if the didn't quite adhere to the standards or rep range.
They cheated you.
The only saving grace we can take from this is that if we adhere to the standards, we know our movement will improve. People with better movement get stronger and fitter quicker than people with careless movement. 3 extra pullups in a wod, even done more slowly than everyone else, over the course of a week, a month a year, adds up to someone significantly better at pullups. Finishing a workout last, knowing you did every pressup chest to floor and every squat below parallel makes you prouder(and fitter and stronger) than coming top of the leader board with a fake score and sub-standard movement.
It matters because it makes us better athletes. It matters because it makes us a better people. it matter because it makes us someone worthy of our secret admirers.
Having someone look up to you is tough if you're British, we like to be modest and play it down but it is a position of power.
Wield that power with integrity.