#404 – Semifinal Preview with Brian Friend, Taylor Self, and J.R. Howell

JR Howell (00:00):

Who was, uh, ready to rumble?

Brian Friend (00:04):


Taylor Self (00:05):

This is fucking hyping me up. I

Sevan Matossian (00:07):

Like a,

Taylor Self (00:08):

This is such a treat.

Sevan Matossian (00:10):

Bam. We’re live eight seconds late, Jr. What’s up buddy?

JR Howell (00:14):

What’s up, man?

Sevan Matossian (00:15):

Have we ever met?

JR Howell (00:16):

No, sir.

Sevan Matossian (00:17):

Okay. Well then I’m gonna touch button up a couple of these buttons. Then

Taylor Self (00:21):

You wouldn’t let him on the podcast. And Brian’s been asking for months,

Sevan Matossian (00:24):

Years, what was the years? What was the reason? I’m sure it was valid. What was the reason?

JR Howell (00:29):

He’s a master? He’s a master and no one cares about those guys.

Sevan Matossian (00:33):

<laugh> you got to, you got tore pretty good in the comments the other day for your, uh, texting while being on the show. Fuck it. The fuck crowd,

JR Howell (00:41):

Dude, killing me. That, that, that noise was there before we even started.

Sevan Matossian (00:47):

I just, I just love it, how you’re trying to make this show better, but instead you’re getting just tore up because, and blame for something you’re not doing. Yeah.

JR Howell (00:55):

I’m like holding the phone, like this trying not to shape because my computer wouldn’t work and everyone’s like, why is he texting?

Sevan Matossian (01:02):

Uh, and, and then yes. Yes, Mr. Fran. Hi, good morning. Good morning from, I know, uh, you’re you’re over in Europe, right?

Brian Friend (01:09):

I know it’s been a few weeks, but don’t you usually unbutton your shirt more the first time you meet someone.

Sevan Matossian (01:15):

Normally, normally I’m not wearing pants though.

Brian Friend (01:18):

Um, oh, there it is.

Sevan Matossian (01:20):

Thank you. Uh, Taylor, the, the outline is fucking brilliant by the way. Thank you. I just, I do wanna say one thing about this. There’s a, there’s a bit of these, this show. So the, I had Hiller on last week.

Brian Friend (01:33):

Wait SVAs before on last, before anything Patrick Clark. Wow. Why is there a bright light accentuating the baldness of Taylor’s head, dude?

Taylor Self (01:42):

Should I turn that off better if I off

Sevan Matossian (01:45):

I, for that in every show? Well, it’s the light Jr needs.

JR Howell (01:52):

There’s like eight windows in this room and this is the only way you can actually see my face.

Sevan Matossian (01:56):

P people are, uh, are lit based on, um, how, uh, handsome they are Jr. Is the most handsome you got the less light, least light that’s way

Taylor Self (02:04):


Brian Friend (02:05):


Sevan Matossian (02:06):

Natural light. There there’s a, there’s a component to these shows that that’s kind of like, uh, uh, uh, in my mind kind of cry. Baby-ish it’s like this, I yesterday I give my kids, uh, all tiny little piece of chocolate. And instead of saying, thank you, they start fucking, and then they never get chocolate and they start fucking crying, um, that who got the biggest piece. And I feel like that there’s a piece to that in these shows. I’m all about like supporting the rule book. I’m all about

Brian Friend (02:33):

Like seven. They probably are comparing size because it’s you talk about it often on your show.

Sevan Matossian (02:38):

That’s true. Wow. Wow. Uh, uh, Brian is heavily caffeinated and on point so far, Brian is a two out of two for three point shots. So, um, I’d just like to throw that out there, like, like the, the rule book shit really is bizarre when they can’t follow the rule book or the CRI or, or the judging criteria, or we don’t know how, how is this guy getting into the semifinals when this guy did better than him, but some of this other stuff, I just feel like yo, this, these are the fucking events, fucking do them. That’s all I got. Okay. Uh, but this is well

Brian Friend (03:14):

That, whoa, whoa, whoa. Seven. Yeah. Yeah. That perspective should be the perspective of all the athletes and their coaches should be instilling that perspective into the athletes.

Sevan Matossian (03:23):


Brian Friend (03:23):

But there is, I think that there is a room for people like us to potentially have conversations about elements of the programming that we like, maybe don’t like that we could see improvements on or that, um, you know, vary from event to event and the implications that those possibly have.

Sevan Matossian (03:40):

Okay. And, and maybe it was just because Hiller is so aggressive about it too, just in regards to like, like that rope climb one, which

Brian Friend (03:46):

Is so strange. She’s usually so docile,

Sevan Matossian (03:49):

What’s he? So what

Taylor Self (03:50):

Was he so aggressive about Hiller?

Sevan Matossian (03:52):

I just, um, this, this whole thing. Well, that rope climb won in specific, right. He really, he, he really did not like that workout. And I’m just like, I’m thinking to myself if I, and then, well, and maybe I get, maybe I got moved a little bit by this too. Uh, this evening I’m having the high rocks champion on Chris rlasky or something. And I was watching a video of her and she was talking about the Spartan race competition that happened a few, I don’t know, a few months ago. And she was complaining about the event. She said there was a wrestling event and it was single elimination. And I just reached a point to where I kind of like reached my threshold. I feel like of athletes, um,

Taylor Self (04:31):


Sevan Matossian (04:32):

Not complaining, cuz there is a, I mean there is a, there is a place to be like, Hey, the rule was, I mean, that, that, I mean, uh, and, and I’m splitting hairs with, uh, with, um, like the hip and still video. You could say Andrew Hiller was too nice on if the fucking move like that rule book saying, you may do this or you may not do this. Or we don’t know if it’s a step up or a pistol. I mean, that’s just fucking that shit insanity.

Taylor Self (04:54):

Where is the discrepancy in the rule book in that rope climb workout though.

Sevan Matossian (04:58):

I’m but there isn’t and that’s my point. Yeah. That’s my point. We’re now at this point I feel like we are, um, it, it makes me sometimes I just feel like these shows like this show that we’re gonna do you guys have issues with the workouts and not so much with the rules?

Taylor Self (05:13):

No, we don’t. Uh,

Sevan Matossian (05:16):


Taylor Self (05:17):

Yeah. To a large degree. The issues with the workouts. I think any athlete that has a lot of experience and knows anything about their craft and hasn’t just, you know, stupidly stumbled into their fitness will look at a lot of workouts and you to think, wow, I like that. That’s a good test. Or I think that’s fucking stupid. I think a good example of that is Matt talking about, uh, first cut from the 2019 games. He loved that workout and thought it was the perfect workout for what it was intended to do. You don’t hear Matt saying when he thinks something’s extremely stupid, but you can probably see it on its fucking face.

Sevan Matossian (05:52):

Well, let’s use something else. The, the swim event, I think a lot of people agree that the swim event in Africa shouldn’t be used in a semifinal,

Taylor Self (05:59):

But it doesn’t matter.

Sevan Matossian (06:01):

But yeah, but for me, I’m like, fuck you do it. If there were sharks in the water, I would understand, but there’s not sharks in the water. I

Taylor Self (06:08):

Thought South Africa,

Brian Friend (06:09):

I love that event by the, for the record Sevan.

Sevan Matossian (06:11):

You do. Okay.

JR Howell (06:12):

Okay. So here’s my deal with the swim event, Sovan and I’ll I’ll to you always talking about precedent,

Sevan Matossian (06:18):


JR Howell (06:19):

Right. You can tell the event, organizers that they have freedom to do what they want and you let them do a swim. Now precedent’s created so next year, if I want to do a high rocks event, I want to have a massive heat with all the women and all the men in one heat, one hour long test. And then I want do it lift later that day I can do it because you’ve told me I can do what I want. I just have to have a long test. I just have to test endurance. And then when does the next semifinal say, okay, we’re gonna do a ruck offsite. And then now you’ve set the precedent of being able to do whatever you want. And you can’t bring that back in. You can’t reel that back in once you’ve started it.

Sevan Matossian (06:59):

Uh, okay. Okay. I, I hear you on that. I I’m, I’m sort of jumping the gun here, but I have this question for you. Are you a proponent of, uh, all the semifinals being the same?

JR Howell (07:11):

Uh, yeah. I, um, proponent of the bumpers being much tighter. Let’s put it that way.

Taylor Self (07:16):

I’m a proponent of, if you’re gonna have six tests, they need to be standardized. And someone who’s really good at programming needs to be doing the programming. Otherwise the bumpers need to be a lot tighter and they probably need seven or eight.

Sevan Matossian (07:28):

So Taylor wants this cake and to eat it too. Fair enough. And, and, and, and I want the rule book to be followed. If there’s gonna be a rule book. Brian, what do you have any, uh, do you have any wishes? What do you think about what these two are saying?

Brian Friend (07:41):

I think that there is an opportunity to reign it back in. Um, and that’s, you know, and, and CrossFit intentionally writes the rule book so that they have the freedom to, to loosen the leash or pull it back tight when they want to.

Sevan Matossian (07:54):

But specifically for this year, uh, specifically for this year, something like this win, swim, I think, uh, what Jr’s saying is, is like valid, like yeah. What what’s someone gonna try next year?

Brian Friend (08:04):

Well, yeah, I mean for, for sure, but the rules could be different next year and there could, you know, and, and as we know, there’s often multiple iterations of the rule book within the same calendar year and you know what I don’t know. And what I would like to know is, is what kind of pushback, if any, the competitions do get from CrossFit when they submit their original workout plans.

Sevan Matossian (08:25):

Right. Do we know that have either of you guys heard anything about that?

Taylor Self (08:28):

Well, we know the bumpers and based off of the bumpers, I think they’re not getting much feedback

Sevan Matossian (08:35):

Be because you don’t think they’re very strict.

Taylor Self (08:38):

That’s putting it lightly.

Sevan Matossian (08:40):

Okay. Uh, okay. So I think that’s good. I think that’s good. Big picture. Uh, this weekend we have three semifinals, uh, uh, some people, I don’t remember who I was talking to, but someone was saying that this actually this week is better than in, uh, than all the other weeks combined. So this is a huge week. We,

Brian Friend (08:56):

That was, that was me.

Sevan Matossian (08:57):

Okay. Uh, we have Australia, which is huge. Obviously we have Europe, uh, and we have, um, this syndicate. Correct.

Brian Friend (09:05):

And look, we should clarify the reason why this weekend is, is so big and so important is because in each of the next three weekends, there’s one of two and then one of two, and then one of three competitions that won’t have, um, the quality and production of a broadcast that the other seven semifinals will have. Those are gonna be Cape town and week two far east and week three and Copa, sir. And week four, that will have minimal broadcast relative to the other seven. And therefore there won’t be as much content to consume. Additionally, the women’s field in the lowlands by any metric you measure it is, is the deepest, uh, women’s field in semifinals. And you have both reigning champions competing this weekend.

Sevan Matossian (09:47):

Uh, um, it’s interesting that you use the media coverage as the metric for how big they are. I, I would, I would focus it primarily. Why? Cause I would focus it primarily on the competitors, like who cares, how good the media coverage is in Africa? Like,

Brian Friend (10:00):

Well, because whatever number of what, you know, whatever number of, uh, viewers you’re able to host on site, I don’t think there’s any sites this year that have the capacity to seat more than 5,000 fans and on a CrossFit production of this caliber, you can expect to have upwards of a hundred thousand viewers it’s 20 X. And if so, if you’re missing, if you only have two competitions in week two and two competitions in week three and half of the competitions that week don’t have a broadcast, then that’s just a lot less opportunity to tune in and, and find out what’s going on,

Sevan Matossian (10:31):


Brian Friend (10:32):

Irrelevant of the fields. But if you add on top of that, the fact that the fields are extremely competitive, especially because of the few qualifying spots in Australia, all of those things stacked up together is why I think this weekend is so critical for the entire semifinal month.

Sevan Matossian (10:46):

I just need the other way around. I see as the, the ice cream as the athletes and the cherry as being the media. But, but I hear you

Taylor Self (10:52):

According, according to Dick butter Cape, town’s going to be broadcast on ham radio.

Sevan Matossian (10:57):

<laugh> <laugh>, that’s pretty funny. Uh, we’ll

Brian Friend (11:01):

See. I mean, Cape town did have a, did have a broadcast on Facebook last year. And, uh, and, and I think that there will be a way to follow along with all those competitions. I just don’t think that it will have the same level of support and accessibility as the rest of it.

Taylor Self (11:20):

I think you also have to note that the quality of the broadcasting is not just what platform they’re using, but the relevancy of the commentating, the, the quality of Camerara angles. Are we getting like a spider cam view or are we watching one person work out for all 11 minutes?

Sevan Matossian (11:37):

Well, that, that, that, part’s definitely true. We keep seeing that obviously at the, at the games we’ve seen that for forever.

Taylor Self (11:45):

Are you, so Brian, are you commentating? You’re commentating. Lowlands. Yeah,

Brian Friend (11:49):

No, I’m involved with the production of the broadcast and we’re gonna do our best to make sure that, uh, that, that doesn’t happen.

Taylor Self (11:55):

Cool. I believe in you.

Sevan Matossian (11:58):

Okay. So, so as I was

Brian Friend (12:00):

Picks a team, but I’ll, I’ll try to be a valuable part of that team.

Sevan Matossian (12:04):

As I was saying, the semifinals are the first semifinals or this weekend. And, uh, to get, to get to the semifinals, you had to, uh, participate in the CrossFit open, which was open to everyone. Then from there, you graduated to the quarter finals, and then from there you went to the semi-finals, uh, the first topic, uh, we’re gonna hit on God. You’re good. Taylor, uh, the first topic we’re gonna hit on here. Yeah, it’s really cool. I was freaking out this morning on how we were gonna do this, um, cuz I’m fucking clueless compared to you guys. Uh, let’s talk about the lack of variance, um, or, or, or the well-roundedness of the workouts to get here from the open to the quarter finals to the semifinals. Do we all agree that we got the right people? Ma mans

Taylor Self (12:47):

Ma Manos. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (12:48):

Okay. But, but, but there still is some issues, uh, with variance. And can you explain what you mean by that?

Taylor Self (12:55):

The first, yeah, the first example for me, which a lot of people made note before me make a no note of it or the first two open workouts. Um, you know, in the first workout you have an upper body press in the wall, walk, you have a jump in the box, jump over and you have a pull from the floor with a dumbbell snatch. And then in week two out of three, you have another upper body press out of the burpee. Another jump over the bar and another pull from the floor and a deadlift. And when you look at those two workouts, for sure, there’s a lot of difference. It’s just not a lot a lack. It’s not a lot of variance in movement pattern in, in a three test event, you have 15 workouts and those two workouts of the 15 or no issue at all, you have three events and those are two of them. Then it’s a little bit of an issue. And I don’t wanna preface that, but I’m not, I, I think the team programming, this was rushed, you know, they fired Dave. I don’t know, however many weeks before the open and these, this team of people is probably like, fuck, what do we do? Um, but that’s besides the point. Yeah. That’s, that’s the first example for me Jr.

Sevan Matossian (13:59):

Ha has CrossFit ever made a, um, statement about, about the open programming in regards to Dave being fired other than the fact that they were his workouts and they were changed a little bit?

Taylor Self (14:10):

I don’t. Yeah. Other than that, I don’t think I haven’t heard

Sevan Matossian (14:12):

Anything. Okay. And, and I think the most valid point, and I think I’ve heard Brian make this up too, is when you only have three workouts, you have to be extra. Um, what’s the word cognizant of the movements.

Taylor Self (14:24):


Sevan Matossian (14:26):

Anything Jr that you want add to that?

JR Howell (14:28):

Yeah. I mean, I, I would probably echo all of Taylor’s sentiments and, and also add that for the greater community that’s involved in the open, they have a goal of moving on to quarter finals, knowingly not gonna be competitive in that stage, but when you leave out something that is a little bit more strength, biased in testing, it kind of leaves the community, feel a little bit empty. You know, people have been working on skills all year, but they’ve also been working on getting stronger so that they can show that. And with only three tests to have 225 pound deadlifts and ending at, you know, 1 35 thruster can be heavy or moderately heavy for some, but not really showcase their strength. So to speak

Sevan Matossian (15:12):


Brian Friend (15:13):

That’s an, you know, and that’s a particularly an interesting concept when you think about how heavily weighted a singular, you know, strength test has been in other formats, like the last chance qualifier or an online semifinal or an online quarter final that has, you know, a few more tests than that. And one of those is, is singularly that, and then to have it be so far from that, you know, in terms of absent in the open, you know, makes that, makes me just ask the question of what is like, what is the open actually testing for? And, and, and I think I even wrote an article about that. Like we might have to reshift our expectations for what the open’s gonna look like if this continues to be the format for the season going forward.

Taylor Self (15:55):

I think the bigger question though, to, to on top of that is if this is what it’s gonna look like going forward, is this taking the sport and the community forward or not? You know, there’s an article I forget who brought, maybe it was Hiller who brought this up, but the article, um, that Glassman came out with a CrossFit journal talking about not sacrificing the difficulty of a workout for the sake of inclusivity. And it feels like that’s what the open’s doing now, but is that gonna drive the sport and the community forward or just make shit easy?

Brian Friend (16:26):

I think, I mean, look, seven. I don’t know if you know how good, uh, Jr is, but he’s very, very, very good at CrossFit. And so as Taylor and I can, you know, and I’m not relative to these guys and those workouts were painful and hard for me. And they were, you know, moderately heavy in the deadlift and pretty heavy by the time I got that thruster, I can only do singles. So there’s a huge part of the community that is feeling the burden of those workouts in a different way than you guys are,

Taylor Self (16:50):

Uh, point.

Sevan Matossian (16:51):

And I’ve been super duper clear. I, the, the open annoys me because it means nothing. When we have people writing on the cover of their journals athletes, the open means nothing. It annoys me and it annoys me that it’s only three workouts too. I think it should be five workouts. And, you know, and I think probably most affiliates would disagree with that. And I do give a fuck what they say, cuz the events are at their, at their facility. But I think it should be a five week event. And

Brian Friend (17:16):

Adrian, I do think that Adrian BOS Bosman has alluded to the fact that you shouldn’t get comfortable with three tests, even if we keep three weeks. So I would, I would expect four scored events next year in the open, even if it’s only three weeks long.

Sevan Matossian (17:28):

Okay. That’s a good clue.

Taylor Self (17:29):

Keep all wa zombies comment. <laugh>

Sevan Matossian (17:33):

See where I don’t see it.

Taylor Self (17:34):

I’m excited to see Taylor compete in the adaptive division.

Sevan Matossian (17:37):

Oh shit.

Taylor Self (17:39):

<laugh>, that’s pretty fun. Uh,

JR Howell (17:44):

And I would even say, you know, I would even say if, if, if you add more tests for the open, then just decrease the percentage that move on to quarters 10% is so big. Let’s, you know, let’s make no mistake. There is an out on quarter finals that is saying I would’ve made it to semis. Had I made it to quarters? No one

Taylor Self (18:04):

I, with that,

Sevan Matossian (18:05):

What you’re saying, no one is no one says that. Yeah. Right, right. That’s a good point. What do you think? Well, we’ll get to that in a second. Um, there, there were two, there were two videos. I can’t remember. There were morning chocolate videos that I watched yesterday and one of them, I think it was morning chocolate, one, maybe, maybe it was Andrew Andrews, but it was basically alluding to the fact that the semis are also part of a money grab. I think that’s a little harsh to say that because I remember when Brian made the semifinals or quarter finals last year, he was really excited. And so, and so it’s really easy to point to blame it CrossFit and be like, Hey, it’s a money grab. That’s why they’re letting 10% of the people get there. But the people who get there are genuinely excited. On the other hand, Brian did have some concerns early on in the year. Like, Hey, what the fuck? He saw some huge percentage of people who made it to the quarter finals who don’t actually do it.

Brian Friend (18:51):

Yeah. But we, we actually were able to do a study and kind of narrow in, on, on what per what percentage of each kind of demographic of that 10% participated in, uh, quarter finals this year. And it was more, uh, like more uniformly distributed than I thought, you know, after the, you know, at the top there was a higher percentage, but once you got down to like the third percent through the 10th percent, it was fairly similar.

Sevan Matossian (19:14):

So, so we have two threads going here, whether this, the, the open, um, is, is what’s best for the community and what’s best for getting people to, uh, for the community and to showcase their talents and what they worked on for the year. And what’s best for, uh, moving on to the quarter finals. Um, what this lacking the unknown and unknowable is this, is this part of the showmanship piece? What, what, what was missing,

Taylor Self (19:39):

Uh, the leaks, the leaks workouts.

Sevan Matossian (19:42):

Oh right.

Taylor Self (19:43):

I think the leak workouts, the leak.

Sevan Matossian (19:45):

I actually liked that shit. I loved it, that we were on air and I got to,

Taylor Self (19:49):

At least in terms of the open, the, the example of the unknown and unknowable in the open are the fact that they change Dave shuttle runs that takes away the unknown and unknowable element of the open that there typically is. Typically you see an open something that people have never seen before in this open. We didn’t see anything that we’ve never seen before. Um, regular pullups

Brian Friend (20:09):

Except for, except for a workout leak.

Taylor Self (20:11):

Pullups yeah, but pullups, that’s not enough unknown and unknowable. Am I, you know, exactly the workout leak that was, uh, that was new. Um, oh,

Brian Friend (20:19):

<laugh> I don’t know about the pullups

Sevan Matossian (20:21):

<laugh> I mean,

Brian Friend (20:23):

I mean, Taylor I’ve I’ve, I’ve said to many athletes, you know, coaching over the years that, uh, yeah. You know, pull ups will be in the open, but they’re gonna be chest bars because it’s, it’s far too hard of a standard to judge a pullup and you know, that’ll change people’s perspective. Like, oh, I gotta learn those chest bars then.

Taylor Self (20:37):

Yeah. But were they thinking, oh no, no, no. Noble let’s throw this, pull up in there or let’s make it more inclusive. Let’s throw this, pull up in there.

Sevan Matossian (20:45):

Uh, no, sorry, not, uh, this, this is something that probably should come up periodically throughout this podcast. This only matters cuz they fucked up quarter finals. If they hadn’t have screwed up event three up, no one would be talking about this and I disagree. I dunno if I agree or disagree, but he, we shouldn’t forget. I mean that was a huge train wreck. I mean that’s a, that’s the, I think Fatalities in that one.

Brian Friend (21:07):

Well, yes. And to the question that you asked earlier, there are athletes that have missed out on a semi-final opportunity because of CrossFit’s decision to declare those scores erroneous and people around the world have done the studies and, and shown that. But we’ve discussed that at length. I think what Tyler’s point is that one mistake is, is forgivable two. Mistakes is understandable, but when it starts counting up 3, 4, 5, 6 in succession, that’s when people start to get aggressive.

Sevan Matossian (21:32):

Yeah. And, and, and they’re, and they’re, they’re beyond mistakes too. Right? There must be another word for them. A mistake is that it was that the workouts were leaked that someone hacked that someone was hacked the uh, the, the PDF URL or whatever. It’s not, it’s not a mistake when people are showing you like, Hey, that person based on your rule book, this person should get to go to the CrossFit, uh, quarter finals and this person shouldn’t, and they’re not doing anything about it. Then there’s like some sort of, um, uh, complacent negligence at, at best and at worst, um, something nefarious going on.

Brian Friend (22:07):

What the thing, the thing that I’ve seen as being a pattern this year is that there’s, it’s, there’s the inability to foresee a problem and cut it off. And so, you know, you could take a big example as we’ve talked about with choosing locations, like the Atlas games and South Korea to host semifinals, which we identified potential problems for those areas of the world immediately and thought about potential ways to solve those problems. And instead we see a reactive CrossFit to that after quarter finals in the process of seating, the semifinals, or you could look at a minute problem, like the choice of the use of the use of the word may when describing what you can do at the end of a workout in a master’s category and, and how athletes interpret that. And then when an athlete reaches out and asks you about it, instead of taking that opportunity to take initiative and reach out to the entire community, deal those athletes and say, Hey, we made a mistake that should not say, may you are not allowed to do this movement. You have to do this one. They respond privately, which still leaves open for the opportunity for many other athletes. And in that division to interpret it as they will, if, if they don’t take the initiative to reach to CrossFit. And I don’t know why they’re not taking the action to cut off the problem on the big scale. Uh, and, and instead continue to address it, you know, as things are evolving and individually,

Sevan Matossian (23:23):

I can’t even believe that’s a real story by the way,

Brian Friend (23:27):

But it is they’re, they’re all real.

Sevan Matossian (23:28):

I know. I, I saw it in a real book. May what do you think about that Jr. May?

JR Howell (23:34):

Yeah. I mean, I just think it’s a shame that that happened because it covered up some things in quarter finals that going back to what Taylor said did bring a little bit of unknown and unknowable. I mean, if you would’ve had a year that had bench press and quarter finals and had the other total people would be saying it was the coolest quarter finals year ever, or because they did double, overhead walking lunges, and no one assumed that movement was gonna be in quarter finals. People have been asking for shuttle runs for years as a way to test running in the earlier stages. But because of that, ironically, due to the shuttle, run that whole mix up now, no one’s talking about any of the positives. It’s all about,

Taylor Self (24:15):

That’s a good point.

Sevan Matossian (24:17):

The main thing is just fuck. Some of these stories are just crazy. Okay. Uh, and, and, and, and to finish this up, do you have any speculation why we’re seeing this, uh, this year was, is it because of change in leadership? Is it because, um, someone there is lazy? Is it because, uh, things were rushed? Was there a natural disaster? Do you have any speculation on why we’re seeing this is may, maybe it’s always been happening and, and we never, we never noticed it before.

Taylor Self (24:42):

I think it’s, I would like to use quarter finals as an example, but I think it’s a hundred percent the, the leadership issue, you know, I’m sure that that is a massive and tangible that Dave brings to the table. Um, he knows he’s a problem solver. I mean, that’s, that’s been his job for his, you know, his career, his entire, the entirety of his career. He solves problems and he solves problems at a really high level. And I think, unfortunately they took that’s, that was probably his creativity, um, and his vision. And then his ability to solve problems is what they removed when they fired him. And that’s not, he also to put it into context, it’s not, I’m sure he wasn’t grooming anybody to take his spot cuz they fucking blindsided him. Um, so it’s not anybody who filled in the roll’s fault. Um, you know, they were I’m sure is blindsided as he was, but it’s, that’s, that’s a big shame. He, he brought a lot of value and it’s pretty, there’s a vacuum there

Sevan Matossian (25:43):

I’d agree a hundred percent and, and, and not just him, J all, all over the company, there’s a lot of things that happen when, when you lose leadership that I don’t think other people realize also it’s not just that the leadership is gone, but it’s the, um, it’s the, it’s how it disrupts the pecking order and everyone’s relationship. It disrupts everyone’s relationship. I hate to use such a bad example, but imagine having a family and, uh, and one of the, a family and you have five kids in it, one of the kids dies. Like it’s not just one kid died. A little piece of everyone in there is just fucking destroyed

Taylor Self (26:14):

And to use quarter finals as an example of that is they, you know, Dave has talks about all the time that as soon as the games are done, he’s already programming the games for the next year. So as soon as quarter finals are done from last year, I’m sure he’s programming quarter finals for this year. And I sure I’m sure that the guys who are filling in for him are feeling the pressure to not just take the workouts that he wrote and use them. And so they’re put on the spot and what do they come up with? Kind of the same workouts as last year. And I, you know, if you look at ’em side by side, it’s not, it doesn’t look good.

Sevan Matossian (26:43):

Yeah. There is a war room at the ranch. That’s all that’s in constant. Um,

Taylor Self (26:47):

I’ve been there.

Sevan Matossian (26:48):

Yeah. Okay. So you, you know that room, the one where all the guns are a very long trip. Yeah. One of the rooms where, where all the guns are on the safe are that, you know, that war room is, uh, um, not everyone’s allowed in there and there, and it’s, it’s there, there were events there for the next five years being programmed for the games and for all sorts of shit. So the walls are covered. Okay. Uh, is there anything you wanna say, any speculation? You have Brian on that, on, on why this happened? What we’re seeing.

Brian Friend (27:13):

I’ll just defer to the CEO.

Sevan Matossian (27:15):

All right. Cool. Uh, and, uh, Mr. Howell, uh, J how, what, what year did you find CrossFit? Did you cross pass list CrossFit

JR Howell (27:22):


Sevan Matossian (27:23):

And, and you run an affiliate.

JR Howell (27:25):

Yes, sir. CrossFit

Sevan Matossian (27:26):

Crash, CrossFit crash. And your Instagram account is private.

JR Howell (27:32):

It is not.

Sevan Matossian (27:33):

Oh, I thought I put it in a request yesterday.

Taylor Self (27:35):

There might have,

JR Howell (27:36):

There was a hacked one. There’s a hacked one. That’s private.

Sevan Matossian (27:39):

Oh, okay. All right. Fine. Uh, um, I’ll Def I’ll defer to you. Do you have any thoughts since you’ve been seeing, since you’ve been watching this since 2012, do you have any thoughts on what we’re seeing? Is this something that’s always been going on and we’re just cleaning house a little bit. Is this new?

JR Howell (27:54):

No, I think this is a it’s, it’s a new, it’s a new era in what we’re doing right now. Right. We have people like you that can magnify all the things that people walk around and maybe just think of by themselves so they don’t have it. And then they start to hear it and they think, yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, this is, this is a problem. And so everything is just magnified.

Sevan Matossian (28:12):

Okay. Fair enough. I like that. Give, give us credit. Uh, um, Taylor. So in, in number two here, there’s some examples, uh, open 21.1 and 21.2 and you made a slide. I’m gonna try to pull that up. Is that what we want?

Taylor Self (28:29):

Yeah. The quarter finals workouts side by sides.

Sevan Matossian (28:33):

Is this it? Oh, good.

Brian Friend (28:34):

Steve. I was afraid these were gonna be like a stick figure drawings, like the last, uh, diagram.

Sevan Matossian (28:39):

<laugh> um, this is the wrong slide though, right?

Taylor Self (28:42):

No, this is the right slide. This is 20. These are quarter finals events and we’ve taken event one from 2021. And put it next to event one from 2022. And you look at ’em side by side and it’s dumbbells, strict handstand, pushups, dumbbells, handstand, pushups, dumbbells, handstand, pushups. And there’s some difference in the modalities, but, or not the modalities, but the, but the movement pattern in terms of the dumbbells, but virtually it feels like the same workout, or it feels like, Hey, can I copy your homework, but just change it.

Sevan Matossian (29:16):


Taylor Self (29:17):

It’s that obvious? You know? I mean, wow.

JR Howell (29:20):

Yeah. And the same can be said for, for event five,

Taylor Self (29:23):

All of them for all of them go to event two.

Sevan Matossian (29:25):

Wow. Holy shit. And, and, and why do we care? Who cares? Why do we care?

Taylor Self (29:31):

Well, the, the, in the years past, there’s a progression in the sport from year to year, there’s unknown and unknowable. There’s variance. That’s the core of CrossFit. And right here, you’re looking at these workouts and there’s no variance and there’s no unknown and unknowable. I mean, to me, it’s and to add insult to injury is event. One are the same movement patterns as event one, like at least make one of ’em event five, make the order different. I mean, that’s kind of easy to.

The above transcript is generated using AI technology and therefore may contain errors.

Check out our other posts.