For about seven months, I've been struggling to embrace the Reebok / Crossfit partnership. In fact, in JUNE, I posted my feelings of apprehension, or more realistically, my cynicism.
The issue subsided for the two or three months, and the Reebok / Crossfit partnership became a mere afterthought. My feelings of angst once again arose, however, when I heard the announcement of a primetime TV ad campaign - coupled with the announcement of a 5th Avenue Reebok Crossfit box opening - along with a retail store oh-so conveniently located next door.
With these bits of news fresh in my mind, I went to the Field House on Offutt AFB. There, they have an area of the gym dedicated to Crossfit. They hold classes, but also allow people to come and go as they please. I was sporting my 7 year-old college shorts (which happen to be a XXXXL - no joke), a $15 homemade FGB5 shirt, and my worn out Vibrams. While warming up, I noticed a Crossfitter decked out in the newest Reebok / Crossfit attire.
Conventional reasoning says that the sight of this Crossfitter would bother me. However instead of being annoyed, I found myself cheering this guy on... He was a newbie, and undoubtedly was going through a ramp-up course. He struggled to do jumping pullups, had to step up on box jumps, and he couldn't get the kettlebell over his head. I cheered because I realized that two short years ago, that I was right where he was. He was doing his best, and left it all out on the floor.
I then began to notice other people at the Field House. Some people sported worn out workout clothes, while others that had their hair done, make-up on, and / or matching shoes, shorts, and shirts. Some people struggled for one more rep, while others peddled just fast enough to make the elliptical turn, but not too fast as to disturb their reading of the latest gossip magazine. However, there was no correlation between effort and attire.
The truth is that clothing, magazines, iPods, etc. don't really matter. It's the desire, and effort that people put into their exercise that would determine the amount of changes they will (or won't) see.
While I may not agree with Reebok's steep price points, the erosion of the "grassroots" feel, or even a box being open on 5th Avenue, I can appreciate Reebok's efforts to reach further, to get people fit, and to expose people to a tried and true fitness regimen.
Sure, many people will try Crossfit and will leave, Crossfit may be seen as a "fad" and will be old news in a few years, and Reebok will undoubtedly make their millions with their partnership with Crossfit, but the beauty is that there will be those, like the kid at Offutt, who end up flat on their back, and happy that Reebok changed their lives by exposing them to Crossfit.
Personally, I still believe that a pair of expensive shorts won't help shave a second off my Fran time, and a pair of specialty shoes won't help me PR on my dead-lift (Unless they are PF Flyers - as seen on The Sandlot). While I'm still not sold on Reebok's "Delta" clothing line, and probably won't be for a while (or ever), The Reebok / Crossfit partnership is good in that people now have opportunity to know what Crossfitters have known for years - The "Sport of Fitness" lives, and everybody is capable of participating.
Now, if someone at Reebok allows me to sample their product, and it does make me bigger, faster, and / or stronger, I will absolutely retract the last two paragraphs :)