Reflections on the Whiteboard
Why write your score?
The infamous whiteboard — so central to the spatial organisation of the gym and to our CrossFit experiences. It has become such an integral part of our daily gym routines that it is now second nature for athletes to check the time the second the last movement is finished. Drop the bar, check the clock, yell “time!” Coaches encourage this practice right and left, but, have you ever stopped to think about the motivations behind writing your score, accurately or not, on the board?
More than friendly competition?
We’ve all walked up to the board to check the scores of our best ‘friendly’ competitors thinking What? Really?! Since when does she squat that much? That can’t be right… As a result, the whiteboard has transformed into a personal yardstick for every athlete that approaches it. A series of attempts to one up the other athletes you feel you should be comparing yourself to often leads to a much larger dose of competition than is needed to maintain a healthy competitive attitude. Not to mention the little white lies that start to emerge… Your “inability to count” or your “forgetful memory” are not excuses for upping your rounds or decreasing your time on the board. We don’t want to undercut the awesome sense of community and camaraderie that makes CrossFit so unique by partaking in this ‘embellishment’ do we?
Are the beginners forced out?
But while the top athletes at the gym are eyeing each other’s rounds and times, what happens to those beginner athletes who are forced to write their names down next to those who have been doing CrossFit for over three years? While coaches may think writing down scores works as a tool for motivation, many new athletes are left with a sense of defeat as their times repeatedly end up at the bottom of the list. While the experienced CrossFitters in the gym compete with one another, beginner athletes are left out, and this doesn’t always act as an incentive for them to persevere.
The whiteboard is something special…
For those athletes that have worked very hard to achieve PRs and significantly increase their fitness level, the whiteboard is something special. It marks a moment of pride as others recognize their achievements, and motivates them to continue improving. But for anyone else who walks up to the board with any negative feelings of over-competitiveness, nervousness, or uneasiness, step back and relax before you start passing judgement on anyone else’s score. We must all remember that the whiteboard starts blank everyday. Most importantly, it brings together our CrossFit box communities in acting as a clean slate where we can display our achievements. No more, no less.
- The WOD Life