By George Demetriou

If you want to find the real competition, just look in the mirror. After awhile you’ll see your rivals scrambling for second place.Criss JamiKillosophy

Thank you to all the athletes who competed in the 2015 CrossFit Open!  We had a total of 33 competitors and all performed valiantly!  Thank you to those who helped me and Lisa judge our athletes, namely, Lauren, John H., Ben, Kelly, Jon B. and Jay.  You stepped up at crucial times.  Thank you to those who did not compete. You put up with the excitement of the Open without complaining and you cheered on the competitors.

The Conflict: To Compete or Not To Compete

Everyone who CrossFits does so to stay strong and in good condition.  When I began my training there were no official CrossFit competitions.  None that I had any knowledge of, anyway.  I’m not emotionally attached to competing, meaning I won’t be upset if there were no competitions.  I’m in competition everyday–with myself.  My goal is to be better than I was yesterday.  My rival is often a tough customer and sometimes I fall short of my goal.  Just like being in any tough workout, I just keep moving forward.

I’ve done every Open since CrossFit introduced the Open in 2011. (Lisa began competing when CrossFit was still doing Sectionals in 2010.  She had to travel to Montclair, New Jersey to compete one freezing cold weekend in March!  She advanced to the Regionals, but couldn’t attend due to previously scheduled surgery.)  Every year I say, “This will be my last.”  And just when I think I’m out, The Open pulls me back in.  Personally, I find it more challenging and more rewarding coaching athletes for competition.

So why compete?

1) It’s fun!  Why compete if it isn’t fun?  You get to suffer and triumph with like-minded people.  There’s a tribal bonding that occurs.  

2) Your weaknesses are exposed.  Whatever wall you’ve constructed around the things you are not good at it will be torn down with ferocity.  If you have a weakness, and most do, it will be exposed in full public display.  Why is this a good thing?  You’ll be far more motivated to strengthen your weakness.  Doing so will not only make you better physically, but you’ll get stronger mentally.  You’ll leave your comfort zone and grow as a person.   Sure you’ll face weaknesses without competing, but not being able to do something that is part of the competition will drive the point home like nothing else.  When you overcome an obstacle you come out stronger on the other side.

3) The most important reason for competing is you learn about yourself.  Some of you have made this comment during the 5 weeks of the Open.  In competition we understand that we have to face the other athletes trying to beat us.  We have less understanding, or, in the very least, we just don’t speak about it as much as we probably should, of the fact that we have to face ourselves.  Not an easy task!  Every time we compete we discover a little more about who we are.  Do you rise to the occasion during competition or do you crumble from the stress?  Are you challenged by competition or does it make you want to hide?  Do you worry and complain about events or do you enjoy the process?  How do you handle winning?  How do you handle losing?  Compete and add pieces of the puzzle that help you discover who you are.

What if you have no desire to compete?

Everyone who CrossFits is competing with at least one other person–themselves.  Everyone is competing at some level.

Other Observations

15.5 was the most demanding of the 2015 Open workouts and one of the most demanding workouts we’ve ever done.  At least it seemed this way hours after completing the workout as I jotted a few notes for this blog.  My hallucination is I have not done a harder workout.  My reality is I was physically drained, but emotionally soaring because I survived 15.5.  Winston Churchill once said, “There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.”  My training version of the Churchill quote is, “There is nothing more exhilarating than to survive a workout that you’d swear was designed to kill you.”

Jay’s performance during 15.4 was impressive as he had to Power Clean what amounted to be his 1-rep max over and over again.

At the time of this writing Lisa is 91st in the world and 10th in the Northeast for women of her age group.  Amazing!  Despite a laundry list of medical conditions Lisa consistently performs at a very high level.  If there was a category for Big Hearts Lisa would be in the top spot.

Matt’s performance during the entire Open was outstanding right across the board.  As of this writing Matt is 7115 in the world for individual men.  That’s out of tens of thousands…probably close to 100,000!

Melissa’s 90 reps during 15.4 (handstand push-ups and 125 lbs. Cleans in an ascending ladder) was awesome especially in light of the fact that she’s been preparing for a powerlifting competition and not doing Olympic weightlifting or gymnastic movements.

Kelly doing 15.5 two days in a row and besting her first performance was remarkable!  I don’t want to see that workout come up again in this decade, but Kelly had no problem facing and besting it 24 hours later.  Kelly’s effort came from the depths of her soul on Saturday.

Beth’s transformation into an athlete was inspiring.  Beth competed in the Masters 55+ division and did well during every event.  She did this while working two jobs, working at night and taking care of her family.  She had reason not to be on her game, but she always managed to clear her mind for the workout and put in a solid performance.

We are proud of everyone who came out to compete, especially the first timers.  Thank you for the opportunity to watch you compete and advise you.  We were constantly amazed at how many of you stepped up your game for this event.  All form and technique looked improved from everyone in the gym.


Workout of the Day
High Hang Clean (Hip Clean)

6 rounds for time of:
5 push jerks  115/75#
10 burpees

Post your scores to the Whiteboard.

“Strong Turnover in the Clean” with Coach Burgener – [video](Courtesy of


19 Responses

  1. Ben B.

    Great writing George!!! It was amazingly inspiring watching and judging athletes compete at their top level, giving everything they had, then comin back and doing better in some cases. It was a crazy, hectic time, and I’ll miss it, until I can hate it and love it again next year!

  2. Bevin

    Congratulations to everyone! This was one of the best experiences ever. I am not sure which as more fun, competing or cheering on the competitors. For me personally, this experience definitely showed me a lot about myself and that I am capable of more then I thought. I will say that I loved 15.4 and 15.5, George can we have them as wods one day? 🙂
    I am sorry it is over, I looked forward to Thursday night’s at 8 and then coming in seeing everyone and the excitement we all had for the abuse we were about to suffer. I can’t wait for next year!

  3. Lenny

    Thank you George for all of your hard work and for caring about all of us the way you do. It’s shows everyday. While the rest of us were having a great time with the open, you were busting your ass and still managed to do well as a competitor.

  4. Jen D

    “Will you rise to the occasion or crumble from the stress?”… I love it! Perfect reminder… Thank you!!!! Congrats to everyone… What an exciting 5 weeks!!! And Lisa.. 91 in the world … AMAZING !!!

  5. Kelly R


    Thank you- my favorite words bc often I can’t find the right words to say.

    Lenny said it well- we all come in , compete, laugh & have a great time while you & Lisa make this all happen for the rest of us while competing yourselves, doing fantastic and setting the bar high.

    I have been with you guys the last year and a half but the past 5 weeks have by far been the greatest. I have learned so much about myself and also so much about others.
    The encouragement and support in this box is something that exists bc of the comradery of this group.
    I still havent figured out if my favorite part was being a competitor, a judge, a cheerleader , or simply just a member of Crossfit suffolk.

    Congrats again to everyone that finished the open, we all have stories to tell and moments of “rising to the occasion”
    It has been a privilege to be a part of this with all of you.

    And I could go on and on ……..

    Next year EVERYONE pay the $20 and compete. It’s a whole different world when you do.

  6. Jay

    Congratulations everyone – You all did great! George, Thank you for all your hard work running the open and competing in the open – Its not easy but you make it look easy – Lisa your amazing and an inspiration to us all. Special thanks to John H. for pushing me through these open wods, expecially 15.5!!! – Thanks big man!!

  7. Al

    George,Lisa, and all the judges; thank you so much for all your hard work over the past 5 weeks. With 33 competitors and many of us doing workouts multiple times I’m sure it was very hectic to manage. We really appreciate your dedication and hard work!!! Every tribe needs a chief and you Lisa are the very best!

  8. Tatyana

    What a great read!!! Congratulations to all athletes! George & Lisa, you are the reason people come back to the box (or follow the box life from a far :))! You are inspiration to all of us who know you and especially 33 athletes who competed. You encourage and it’s contagious! You lead by example and it’s contagious! You are fair, no bullshit, giving and loving! No wonder you have so many followers! 🙂 miss you guys SO much. Congratulations to all athletes who finished, conquered, excelled and overcame fear! There is no stopping you now!

  9. Patrick Wingler

    an amazing experience for my first open, and it was the best feeling having all of you cheer me through every workout. Its true, I’m not sure what I enjoyed more, cheering, competing, judging, or just being a part of it all

  10. Beth

    George thank you so much for your kind words. I have never been labeled an athlete…it’s so amazing that I really actually am an athlete. It only took me 57 years to get there but it’s so exciting!! Thank you and Lisa for all the great coaching you did, especially yesterday with the 15.5. You somehow are able to figure out what to say to all of us to keep us going. The open was crazy and I never thought I would attempt it and I’m really happy with my own personal standings. I did much better than I ever thought I could although I did think at one point that the adrenaline was going to kill me!!

    Watching everyone do the wods and squeeze every bit of energy and will to get as much done as they could was inspiring and fun. The excitement in the gym was electric!!

    Congratulations to Lisa for placing so high…let’s be honest, none of us is surprised by that right?

    Congratulations to everyone for getting through it all. As the old lady of the place I’m so proud of you all lol. It beats Eisenhower’s second time in office!! Time to work on next year!!

  11. Ashley

    signing up for the open was probably one of the best decisions I made. These workouts pushed me to work harder than I ever had and showed me what I really need to work on! Thank you Lisa and George for all of your help training me to be able to complete this open! And thank you to everybody for pushing me and cheering me on through every workout! Congratulations to everyone who competed !

  12. lisa

    Great work by everyone and we certainly appreciate all the patience and support from the non competitors. The past few weeks were certainly a bit of an inconvenience on you but you stood without complaints and supported your peers- for that we are most grateful!! To ALL who took part – spectators , judges, competitors and especially FIRST TIME COMPETITORS!!! You were all sooooo completely awesome and very inspirational it was so nice to see everyone come together to push and encourage one another! It was more than an honor to watch people get their first muscle up , pull-ups and personal records on lifts -it was quite an amazing AND VERY fulfilling experience as a coach!! I look forward to seeing what you will accomplish next! Keep forging forward! God bless you all in all you set out to do! We have all become so much more than just friends! Great work everyone and thanks for the very kind words! Stay strong ..never settle 🙂 XO

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