The Open & Friday Night Lights

The Open & Friday Night Lights
Written by: Coach Slater

What is this “Open” you keep talking about and what the hell is “Friday Night Lights”?

Great questions! Let me try to explain it as quickly & simply as possible.

The Open
What: Starting Thursday, February 22nd, and lasting for the next four Thursdays, CrossFit, Inc. will unveil an unknown workout to us at 8pm EST. Everyone in the CrossFit community has until the following Monday to complete a version of that workout (Life or Rx / Life or Sport) and post their score on

Friday Night Lights
What: Once we determine the time domain and equipment needs of this unknown workout, we establish “heats” for Derby City athletes to complete this WOD sometime on Friday night. Our first heat typically goes at 4:30p, and the last is usually around 7:30p. If the WOD is 9min long, we might run heats every 15min to allow for people to complete the workout, with extra time for the next heat of athletes to come workout area and claim a spot on the floor.

We setup the night like we’re hosting a competition to up the excitement factor. This year, we’ll have separate people acting as Head Judge to verify movement standards, an dedicated photographer to capture your next great profile pic and hopefully your first bar muscle-up, and an official MC to increase the hype before & during your WOD.

Furthermore, we build these heats into our class Scheduler so you can select which heat you want to join. Maybe you want to go head-to-head against a friend, or maybe you want to be next to an specific athlete for inspiration, all are great. Pick whatever works for your schedule. It’ll be your responsibility to warmup and be ready to go when your heat time comes around.

If you can’t attend Friday Night Lights due to a schedule conflict, you can still complete the workout during our 5a, 6a, 8a, or 12p class on those Fridays, as we’ll schedule that week’s workout for Friday’s class WOD. Or, if you need to complete it over the weekend, you can do so on Saturdays after the 10:30a class or Sunday during Open Gym (9:30a-11:30a). In either of those instances, you’ll need to secure a judge ahead of time to track your good-reps and no-reps.

Why should I sign up for the Open and Friday Night Lights?
Anyone who signs up for the Open at gets drafted onto one of four Derby City teams that fight for year-long bragging rights. And, simply by completing the workout and logging your score, you earn a point for your team. This year, we’re also adding more opportunities for you to earn points for your team (see below). But, maybe best of all, we’re adding a penalty for the Coach of the losing team. If you allow yourself to have a little fun with the team concept, Friday Night Lights is a great experience. Trust us.

And, on a macro level, the Open helps us navigate our year and give us something to plan for. It’s like a lighthouse in the dark. The Open is inspiration. A reason to give a little more and cheer a little louder. The Open is an annual event marked on the calendar of CrossFitters all over the world, from Games athletes to the mother of three who’s still gunning for that first pullup.

CrossFit gave us the Open back in 2011, meant as a screen to find the fittest people in different regions throughout the world. For those without hopes of moving to its next level (Regionals), it’s simply a chance to test our fitness against a few hundred-thousand participants and see how much fitter we’ve become in the past year.

Derby City rookies workout alongside veterans and post their scores on the same leaderboards as CrossFit Games Champions. We compare with friends in different states. And, from year-to-year, we watch our strength increase, our skills improve, and our determination sharpen.

A lot of us train because we love the way it makes us feel and the people we train with. We don’t have any specific hopes of fitness greatness. The Open is simply a challenge for ourselves. Us against the workout.

While loving how we feel and who we train with is reason enough to keep doing it forever, specific feedback that has a start and end date is priceless. Ultimately, we may not care about the leaderboard, we may not even look at it, but having something to shoot for every year livens even the least competitive among us. You’ll experience it at Friday Night Lights.

Also, the Open slows us down. Often, we hurry into class just before/after work, fist bump and smile, hit our workout, then take-off. We miss the conversation. The connection. The Open brings back that CrossFit connection we can take for granted at times. For five simple weeks, we can train our asses off and cheer for our friends. Just us and the crew that helps us be better today than we were yesterday.

So, are you in?

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