Yeah, I never understood that either. The conversations about this were positively alive and often times on fire. Leave it up to me to have friends that would happily throw gasoline on this issue. Unfortunaely, I was sidelined since I wasn't friends with the original posters. That's about the time that it hit me: I have a blog and I can say what I want on it. So, what I was aching to tell everyone that I couldn't post to was that this issue is a triple-stacked bullshit sandwich. Here are the layers of uncomfortable facts that everyone loved to ignore:
SEX REASSIGNMENT IS INCOMPLETE!
Crossfit's reasoning behind telling Johnson that she has to compete in the men's CF games because being born a man gives her too-significant advantages over the rest of the natural-born women to assure a fair contest. The counter-argument is that since California legally recognizes her as a woman after going through the obligatory chopAdickFromy procedure, getting some fake boobs, and taking the right hormones to feminize her body. After all, the Olympics has long-recognized transvestite athletes and allowed them to compete in their newly adopted sex. So, what leg does Crossfit have to stand on?
Frankly, probably the right one... even if few want to acknowledge it.
What people fail to take into consideration is that Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS) is a biologically incomplete process. Yes, it takes a man/woman and makes them look and feel like the opposite sex but that doesn't address the other differences between men and women. A characteristic of every, single mammal is that the males are typically built bigger and stronger. Relevant to our discussion here, they have bigger, thicker bones (why archeologist can identify millennia-old skeletons as male or female, in part), more muscle mass (why male fighters can cut more weight than women: they can have more meat to dry out), thicker tendons and ligaments (why women are more likely than men to tear ACL's), and those tendons insert and attach in differing positions that make a male capable of producing more power than a female.
Does GRS go through the effort of re-positioning tendons, thinning those tendons down, removing extra muscle mass, and changing bone structure?
So, if Crossfit is interested in an equal playing field for the female competitors in their games, then there is a basis for not allowing Johnson to compete with the women. She was likely born with some distinct, masculine advantages that her GRS didn't address, regardless of what the State of California and the IOC say. To CF, it's unfair, whatever that means because...
FAIRNESS AND SPORTSMANSHIP DOESN'T REALLY EXIST ANYWAY...
To the best of my knowledge, sports have existed for 4,000 years. Formal notions of sportsmanship and fair play seem to be, at best, 140 years old. The only notations about anything related to these two beacons of playing nice in sports seemed to crop up with the Marquis of Queensbury rules in boxing, the establishment of sports with a more game-like element to them (baseball, basketball, etc) and the re-establishment of the Olympic games in the late 1890's.
Prior to these happenings, the most common sports, dating back to antiquity, were throwing sports (javelin, rocks, shot puts, etc), various forms of wrestling, boxing and striking-based martial arts, archery, and often horseback-based sports. Surely there are more but has anyone yet noticed the strong, warfare element that all of these share? That's not an accident. Where I to draw a conclusion about why sports even exist, it would be for warfare training. Since when did we have any notions of fair play and doing not to win but for the sake of doing like Baron de Fredy envisioned when he got the 1896 Olympics off the ground? Where do we get off using war metaphors in sports so often?
It was a fanciful thought but ever since those formative years in the mid-late 1800's as when we started getting more rules, sportsmanship and fair play we seemed to get the much stronger notions of cheating as well as the curious concept of gamesmanship...playing not particularly fair but not really breaking the rules either. Ever since sports got so damn popular, the lines about what is universally fair and what isn't has been consistently hard to define.
- Is it fair to train in high altitude but not to Take EPO, despite the fact they both increase red blood cell count?
- Is it fair that fighters in combat sports can cut 1-2 gallons of water out of their bodies (8-16 lbs weight) to make a weight class?
- Are steroids fair if most of the participants are using them even though the rules prohibit them?
The reason why these cute ideas fail to work out most of the time is that they fail to take into consideration the combat origin of sports to begin with. People may be convinced ostensibly to play by the rules initially but we all know that there is an overwhelming urge to win at costs beyond what a sport tells us we can do. Does Cloie Johnson only want to play with the girls just because she considers herself a girl? Or, does she think she'll get her halfway-female ass kicked if she decides to re-cross the gender line in sports?
I'm sure that CF sees this as an issue of fairness in sport but let's face another fact here...
CROSSFIT ISN'T A SPORT!
If you wanted to look up the definition of a sport and prove me wrong that the Crossfit games are indeed a sport, you might be able to convince a few people that I'm a dick for saying such a thing. Here's your definition:
: a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other
: sports in general
So, getting together and doing competitive exercise is now a sport. So, by that definition, we could make a sport out of hockey drills couldn't we? Maybe we could call sparring in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu a sport while we're at it. It seems that, by Crossfit standards and a dictionary's wording, we could just throw some rules and competition into a physical activity we therefore make a sport out of it. Is that going overboard calling physical preparation for sports sports themselves? We've already established that sport is watered-down warfare preparation. I'm curious about how farther diluted things can go. I ponder how much longer before we call tying shoelaces a sport since we have to tie up laces to do exercises. Hey, it's physical activity and all we need to add is a competitive element...
This whole ordeal is bullshit because each issue I brought up seeks to change reality for the sake of human benefit. Life doesn't work like that. I have no overwhelming interest in GRS's legitimacy, notions of sportsmanship, or in sport in general. Chloie Johnson can play in anything she/he wants and Crossfit can tell her where to play it for all I care.