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Gant Grimes
07-10-2008, 10:31 AM
This will probably piss some off. I've always thought of an athlete as one who does something beyond training just for the sake of training. I've seen some people who can destroy a metcon workout but couldn't catch their ass with both hands.

If you're a guy or girl who can do 30 rounds of Cindy but trips on his or her feet on the way to the water fountain, I have a hard time calling you an athlete. Am I off base here?

Dave Van Skike
07-10-2008, 10:57 AM
yes...

http://www.straighttothebar.com/images/posts/071210_pisarenko.jpg



yes....

http://www.dirtrodders.com/images/title_280x247.jpg


No.

http://s2nblog.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/tiger.jpg

Derek Weaver
07-10-2008, 10:57 AM
Nah, I'd say you pretty much nailed it. Though, people tend to look at CF as sport, and as such, consider themselves athletes.

I've had a hard time wrapping my head around that one at times too...

Pat McElhone
07-10-2008, 10:59 AM
I concur. One of the many things that may have been lost as CF grew was the premise of playing actual sports (I do not think Fitness was determined to be a sport in Oct 2002). This is in CFJ#2.

A little off this topic but, Track and Field is called "Athletics" outside this country.

John Alston
07-10-2008, 11:06 AM
Fitness is not a sport, just like Strength is not a sport. Nor is balance.
Athlete, to me, is someone who plays a competitive (at least at some level, even a low competition level) sport.

Dave Van Skike
07-10-2008, 11:11 AM
Fitness is not a sport, just like Strength is not a sport. Nor is balance.
Athlete, to me, is someone who plays a competitive (at least at some level, even a low competition level) sport.

Isn't this the whole reason for the cross fit games? to give those people a venue for competition? I mean, I think it's sort of ridiculous given the scaricity of competitions but whatever, if people can invent new religions, why not a sport to go along with it? fair enough,

highland games and strongman probably started with two yokels hefting rocks and throwing sticks...

Scott Kustes
07-10-2008, 11:30 AM
I like Charles Staley's much less scientific and philosophical approach to it:

-Developing an unnatural mindset — everything from becoming mentally tough, open-minded, goal-directed, and laser-focused. You might even develop an autotellic approach to training: doing things for the love of doing them, rather than only for the secondary gain. The “naturals” among us can’t wait to get finished — the “unnaturals” can’t wait to get started.

I think saying, "If you don't play a competitive sport, you're not an athete" is part of the problem in our society whereby athletes are people wholly different than the rest of us. Is running a 5k competitive enough? How do we set that threshold? What is "competitive enough"?

Frankly, to me, if you're out there improving your fitness, not just so you can down a pint of Haagen-Dazs at night, but because you genuinely love being active, striving to be stronger/faster/etc, and competing, even if just against yourself, you're an athlete. I don't see a need to set some arbitrary bar to the term just so we can disclude some from calling themselves as such. Athlete is a mindset more than anything.

Gant Grimes
07-10-2008, 11:41 AM
Fitness is not a sport, just like Strength is not a sport. Nor is balance.
Athlete, to me, is someone who plays a competitive (at least at some level, even a low competition level) sport.

So it's the application of one or more components of fitness that makes a thing a sport and a person an athlete. A girl that has great balance is not an athlete; that same girl, walking on a 4" beam and doing flips is an athlete. The strongest guy in the gym who just lifts for the hell of it is not an athlete; the scrawny guy who is training specifically for a powerlifting meet (using periodization, selecting opening lifts, etc.) is an athlete.

I can go wtih that.

highland games and strongman probably started with two yokels hefting rocks and throwing sticks...

That, IMO, is the essence of athletic competition, an ancient sport born from necessity. In the early days, there was a need to run, wrestle, and fight. There was--and still is--a need to left heavy stones and hit other people with sticks.

Garrett Smith
07-10-2008, 11:46 AM
I don't compete in anything anymore, however, if someone decided to say that I wasn't "athletic" (and hence, an "athlete"), I would highly disagree.

Dave Van Skike
07-10-2008, 11:49 AM
The Teddy rule....

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

one can be athletic...like an athlete...

one can be a former athlete...

but...Athletes compete.

Derek Weaver
07-10-2008, 12:20 PM
If Athletes compete, then CF'ers are indeed athletes. The purpose of the "post time or poundages to comments" is to offer a venue for scoring... although that's rarely what it's used for anymore.

Plus, the CF Games, East Coast Challenges etc. are all venues to compete.

One of the first things they'll say at the Level 1 Cert. these days when defining CrossFit is "CrossFit is sport".

I think I now consider CF'ers "athletes" after typing all that out. Ask me again in an hour though.

Gant Grimes
07-10-2008, 01:05 PM
If Athletes compete, then CF'ers are indeed athletes. The purpose of the "post time or poundages to comments" is to offer a venue for scoring... although that's rarely what it's used for anymore.

I don't know that my view of athletes has current competition requirement . However, I think there is a need to be training towards a goal in some applied fashion.

One of the first things they'll say at the Level 1 Cert. these days when defining CrossFit is "CrossFit is sport".

Chess players compete. They each have a ranking, and their matches are timed and scored.

What makes CF an athletic event compared to just a competitive event? I'm not trying to debate anyone; I just want to make sense of why fitness could be considered a sport.

If the Games were held every two years, and the format was something like 10-12 events over five days (assuming the events stayed the same, tested everything we wanted, etc.), I might could go with that.

John Alston
07-10-2008, 01:22 PM
I don't know that my view of athletes has current competition requirement . However, I think there is a need to be training towards a goal in some applied fashion.

Chess players compete. They each have a ranking, and their matches are timed and scored.

What makes CF an athletic event compared to just a competitive event? I'm not trying to debate anyone; I just want to make sense of why fitness could be considered a sport.

If the Games were held every two years, and the format was something like 10-12 events over five days (assuming the events stayed the same, tested everything we wanted, etc.), I might could go with that.

Fitness is not a sport because it can't be won or lost. It can be measured, and the measuring process is the sport.
Let's call the sport the decathlon. That's a sport that measures all around fitness, plus some impressive skills. It has a way to determine a winner. It proves who the best decathlete is, which implies, to a degree, who is fittest, but it also means who is the best competitor.
See also how "Strength" is not a sport, but weightlifting and powerlifting are sports that measure strength. I could go on...
If you want to be a competitive crossfitter, you can, but your sport will be xfit, not fitness.

John Alston
07-10-2008, 01:25 PM
The Teddy rule....

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

one can be athletic...like an athlete...

one can be a former athlete...

but...Athletes compete.

Excellently said all around.
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21261/21261-h/images/frontis.jpg

Gant Grimes
07-10-2008, 01:28 PM
Fitness is not a sport because it can't be won or lost.

I think it can be lost...

http://bikehugger.com/images/blog/fatguyinspandex-1-01.jpg

Dave Van Skike
07-10-2008, 01:59 PM
I think it can be lost...

http://bikehugger.com/images/blog/fatguyinspandex-1-01.jpg

I think he might be winning...a... completely... different.....game.

Mike ODonnell
07-10-2008, 07:03 PM
I could go in circles with this one...however...to each his own...and someone else's sport may not be mine. But to "compete" is a universal human motivator, not necessarily to be better than someone else...but to do something to the best of their own ability and push themselves...the inner challenge to be something greater than before....that is an athlete by nature.

Peter Dell'Orto
07-10-2008, 07:42 PM
Webster's Dictionary says pretty simply:

"a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina"
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/athlete (w/f s)

So, yeah, Crossfitters would count.

I think the term has gotten more refined, and people get really picky - what's a sport, who is an athlete. It's generally considered complimentary, so it's going to start arguments if you start labeling people non-athletes.

I tend to think "I'll know it when I see it" applies best. I'm not sure exactly when I stopped being a recreational trainer and became an athlete, but it was before I started competing. I look back and mark it as when improving my performance for a sport became a vital and important part of my life. When I started to be more concerned with improving my performance than other things, I became an athlete.

It's probably not best to get too picky about it. Starts fights for no good purpose. If a person considers themselves an athlete and trains for a sport or sports with seriousness and dedication, then, well, I'd say the definition fits well enough. Who benefits from deciding that person is or is not an athlete, anyway? If you stick with the dictionary definition, it's broad enough to include most crossfitters, whether they compete or not.

Mike ODonnell
07-10-2008, 07:51 PM
Who benefits from deciding that person is or is not an athlete, anyway? If you stick with the dictionary definition, it's broad enough to include most crossfitters, whether they compete or not.

No one....exactly. Only someone that wants to prove others wrong or inadequate would benefit from it, not saying that is anyone...just saying that is the state of mind...otherwise who really cares if you just go about what you love to do. Think a downhill skier cares if someone else golfs? Honestly....why listen to pop 40 radio if it is just going to give you a headache? Change the channel and stop turning back to a station you don't want to hear.

Dave Paton
07-12-2008, 09:00 AM
What the CF games should consist of is a 2 day competition where the first day is athletic events that are scored that might include a 3 point contest, longest drive, basketball throw from a kneeling position, obstacle course etc etc. then the second day is the met-con based activities like the current CF games. that would help define a true athlete.

Garrett Smith
07-12-2008, 09:19 AM
What is the statute of limitations on calling oneself an athlete then? I remember hearing a while back when I was doing triathlons that one shouldn't call themselves a "triathlete" if they hadn't competed in over a year...

Peter Dell'Orto
07-12-2008, 09:39 AM
What is the statute of limitations on calling oneself an athlete then? I remember hearing a while back when I was doing triathlons that one shouldn't call themselves a "triathlete" if they hadn't competed in over a year...

Got to be more than a year. My coach is fighting Friday night after an injury layoff since November of 2006. He trains full-time and runs a gym. I think he's still an athlete, and would be even if he wasn't able to recover and fight pro again.

I think if you're training and competing in a sporting event, you're an athlete. But if you're formerly a competitive athlete and still training, perhaps to compete again, perhaps not? What if you're planning to compete, but haven't yet? It's a hard line to draw.

In our gym we post pictures of the members. We've got three boards - member, amateur fighter, pro fighter. You don't come off of the "fighter" or "pro fighter" board even if you stop competing. I wonder if "athlete" is much the same...

Dave Van Skike
07-12-2008, 11:25 AM
statute of limitations is up the minute you're not actively recovering from the last one or specifically training for the next one....

it's really NBD. I was an "athlete" for a long time, competed about 100-150 times per year..most unhealthy time suck of my life, i was poor, i was tired, i had no life. athlete is not a great label to hang around one's neck. Person is a better one.

Mike ODonnell
07-12-2008, 11:46 AM
athlete is not a great label to hang around one's neck. Person is a better one.

Well said Dave.

Liam Dougherty Springer
07-12-2008, 02:15 PM
Main Entry: ath·lete
Pronunciation: \ˈath-ˌlēt, ÷ˈa-thə-ˌlēt\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin athleta, from Greek athlētēs, from athlein to contend for a prize, from athlon prize, contest
Date: 15th century
: a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina


from Greek athlētēs, from athlein to contend for a prize, from athlon prize, contest

Its only a word get to the root all the rest is opinion no one can be "right". It is also not an adjective like athletic however I don't see why athletic is not just as admirable a thing to be. Just because you choose not to participate in competition makes you less than some one who does?

Some people just play sports, a buddy of mine is brazilian grew up playing soccer... he had never done a WOD in his life we invented a metcon workout involving running box jumps L pull ups and Jumprope he smoked me ... he is athletic as hell but gave up competitive practice. He is not an athlete.

him and his latin american buddies "school" college teams in scrimmiges all the time. they recently played the state champs so I asked him if they won. He said "well we were pretty much playin around with them we probrably could have but we didn't keep score." Huh

Peter Dell'Orto
07-12-2008, 06:09 PM
Person is a better one.

Yeah, but "Please define 'person'" is going to be an ugly, ugly thread...

Dave Van Skike
07-12-2008, 06:33 PM
Yeah, but "Please define 'person'" is going to be an ugly, ugly thread...


if that seems tough, you may be beyond help.

Peter Dell'Orto
07-12-2008, 06:35 PM
if that seems tough, you may be beyond help.

And the ugliness begins!
:(

Mike ODonnell
07-13-2008, 07:30 AM
and the thread needs to take a new direction....as no ugliness needed here.