Welcome To The Gun Show?

When thinking of guns in terms of Crossfit, prior to this week the majority of people would have immediately conjured up the image of someone tensing their biceps.  See below for a cringeworthy case in point:

CF-Pendle-March-148 (1)

Tickets to the gun show, anyone?

Unfortunately, as of Dave Castro’s recent announcement, the image that now comes to mind when hearing the words ‘crossfit’ and ‘guns’ will be firearms.  See below for a cringeworthy case in point:

Mat Fraser

Mat Fraser, a crossfit athlete showing his support for gun culture

Allow me to elaborate – every summer since 2007, the StubHub Center in Carson, California plays host to the Crossfit Games.  Think of it as the crossfit equivalent to the Olympic Games for athletics.  The Crossfit Games is a competition which is open to absolutely everybody right across the world.  Starting in February, a new workout is released each week for five weeks which every single crossfit athlete can attempt.  You submit your scores and if you do well enough you will be selected to represent your region in the next stage of the competition – Regionals (continuing the athletics analogy, think of this as the Olympic trials).

Only the select few at the top of their regions will advance to the next and final stage, the Crossfit Games (think Olympic finals).  These competitors are the best of the best at the sport and are rightly given the title of the Fittest on Earth.

The winners of the competition have always received a cash prize.  But this year, the director of the Games, Dave Castro, has announced that they will also receive a Glock handgun.  Yep, that’s right – a firearm.  Something that is illegal to possess in the majority of countries taking part in the Games outside of America.

There are so many things wrong with this that I’m not sure where to start.  On a personal level I’m completely against civilians possessing firearms and my thoughts can be summed up in nicely in 65 seconds courtesy of this clip from the magnificent, The West Wing:

But I’m adult enough to put my personal opinions to one side and respect that Americans have the right to purchase guns and bullets.  If people believe that the answer to reducing gun crime is to get more guns out there….then…well that’s their opinion and I can choose to respectfully disagree.

But politics aside, what the actual chuff have handguns got to do with Crossfit?  If it was a shooting competition only open to American citizens then the prize of a firearm would make absolute sense.  But crossfit is the sport of fitness.  It’s about being a well-rounded athlete that can run, jump, row, lift heavy and do gymnastics.  It’s about being healthy in all aspects of life; eating well, getting sufficient sleep and improving mobility.  It’s about being a better person.  Please, someone please tell me how a gun comes into that ethos?  Interestingly, Reebok (Crossfit’s main sponsor) who’s recent slogan is #bemorehuman, disagrees with the new prize.  It seems they don’t disagree enough to do anything about it though.

The fact that the competition is open to everyone is something that Crossfit prides itself on.  The sport places a huge emphasis on community; on getting everyone involved no matter what their level of fitness or physical limitations.  There are over 13,000 affiliates across the globe. So what happens if someone from Iceland wins the prize?  Someone from the UK?  Australia?  Are the organisers so short-sighted and self-engrossed in their own gun culture that they genuinely believe that athletes would love to win a firearm that’s illegal to own in the country that they have come to represent?

So for the first time since trying my hand at the sport, I’m genuinely ashamed of the hobby I’ve grown to love.  Don’t get me wrong, crossfit has many flaws – just like running does, just like athletics does, just like football does.  And I’m the first to take the mick out of myself and my new hobby (I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve used the hashtag #crossfitwanker on twitter!).

Ultimately I’d recommend crossfit to anyone and everyone.  I’m stronger, faster, happier, healthier and more confident in my own skin than I have ever been.  But I’m gutted that Dave Castro et al. refuse to acknowledge the thousands of us that would like him to revoke the Glock sponsorship.  For a business that’s invested so much time, effort and money into tackling the big soda companies in a bid to make society that bit healthier, I simply cannot comprehend their reasoning for pushing their pro-gun culture on their international following.  To say nothing of what impression this gives to the thousands of children out there that attend the Crossfit Kids classes.

If you’d like to make your voice heard, please consider signing this petition.

For me, the only pistols I’m interested in are those of the squat variety –

pistol squat