Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Of CrossFit and Personality

Those in my life are aware that I've been "CrossFit Crazy" for about a year now.  It's been a great thing for my overall health - I dropped about forty pounds last year and have kept it off.  I've met a lot of fitness goals, etc.

CrossFit is a pheonomonon that grabs hold of a lot more than the hour or so a day that a lot of us do it.  It is something that gets into your way of thinking in a lot of good ways.  It's about doing something all out - till you drop down from exhaustion.  It can be doing an intense MetCon - or picking up clutter around the house.  That sounds funny, but we all know how exhausting our day-to-day can be.  Sometimes doing that "one more thing" feels like the thing that will break us.  CrossFit is about preparing a mentality that we are always ready to do that one more thing.

CrossFit is also a huge financial enterprise, and it is largely the brainchild of one man - Gregg Glassman.  "Coach" as he is affectionately called (or "Couch", not so affectionately) is not much to look at himself.  He's short, has a slight paunch, and walks with a limp.  He says he spends more time promoting CrossFit than doing it.  He can't be accused of pioneering anything new in fitness, but rather rolling the whole thing together and making into a "movement".  And it is a movement.

I've seen personally that Coach Glassman is willing to do some pretty, uh, well, frankly, he's willing to do some horrible things to protect the organization he has created.  I've seen ths before in certain personality types - folks that are great at building a movement through the sheer force of their personality.  These folks are able to move mountains to realize their dream, and seem capable of doing just about anything.  Anything, that is, except ceding power and being vulnerable to the people that they love.

The story is that Coach Glassman's ex-wife, Lauren, who he divorced two years ago, is planning to sell her 50 percent share of CrossFit, Inc. to a private equity firm for 20 million dollars.  Coach Glassman is rallying the troops against this, but in many ways it seems like the denoumont of a story that involves all kinds of manipulation, betrayal, as well as huge piles of money.

Some background can be found here for interested parties.

I've personally sworn off of anything related to corporate CrossFit after seeing the way "HQ", as it is known, deals with people who cross them.  This includes frivilous lawsuits, character assasinations, sending anonymous letters to the workplaces of critical bloggers, and all kinds of general douchebaggery.

I'm hoping that this corporate oversight provided by a professional equity investment firm would help bring Crossfit, Inc. from a vanity project run by a meglomaniac entraprenuer into a responsible, ethical, and valuable company.  So I'm rooting for this sale, while the CrossFit community is rooting for the opposite.  We'll see how it turns out.


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