You can find the original copy of this letter at Wolfbrigade. It It was a challenging time for everyone and certainly for me in many ways that I could never have expected. I've had so many sad conversations with all kinds of small businesses – but especially with fitness. I hope this letter helps, even if it only reads that others have felt the same kick in the teeth as this week.
An open letter to CrossFit
My name is Greg Walsh. I started working with CrossFit in 2003 and was a member, trainer and manager of CrossFit Long Beach until I returned to my hometown Rochester, NY in 2008.
I started with the Wolf Brigade in 2008 and since then we have been training people from all walks of life and fitness levels every day.
During my time in Long Beach, I developed relationships with many CrossFit employees and started a friendship with Greg Glassman. This resulted in a "partnership" based on my idea of offering partners a one-stop shop to get top quality artwork and clothing prints, as well as the opportunity / option to present them on a website called for worldwide purchase, crossfitshirts.com.
We had a small but very high quality printing company in Rochester. I loved CrossFit – especially the affiliates – and I wanted to both help and show more engagement. I presented the "CrossFit Shirts" project at an affiliate meeting in 2007 with a very positive response, and we set off.
The project was a great success. The CrossFit brand had never looked better, and the subsidiaries benefited from our high level of expertise in art direction and graphic design.
The crossfitshirts.com platform was fun, exciting and mutually beneficial. CrossFit received a percentage of everything that was sold, as did the partners we worked with, and it expanded rapidly.
Between 2007 and 2009, Greg and I became friends (or at least I thought I did), and I felt no obvious reason to apply the brakes as we developed our combined projects. We expanded the print shop, hired talented employees and adapted to the growing occasion. During this time, Greg routinely called to talk about his life, marriage, and business problems, and routinely invited me to his Cross Arizona vacation home for various CrossFit trips, etc. We work intensively in the gym and develop our “partnership”.
My mistake was to assume that a handshake “contract” meant the same to others as to me.
In 2009, when our coordinated projects were in full swing, I was called out of the blue – first by a persistent lackey by Greg and then by a smug and stylized CrossFit lawyer. Both were asked to send the message that we are no longer allowed to use the CrossFit name without affiliate-specific branding, and much more seriously
The website crossfitshirts.com should be handed over to you immediately.
Without dubbing the hand, it felt like a bad joke. We have always had problems – I have been working in and managing small, high quality companies for over 25 years, and we were finally on the way to something that grew and fully in our wheelhouse.
I did everything I could to find out what was really happening. Greg did not return calls, text, or email, and was finally given the “option” to take any remaining soft goods to another partner event in Austin, Texas and try to sell them off. After selling shirts at shows and events since I was a kid, I knew exactly how it was going (bad), but had no choice. After paying for the shipping of the clothes and my trip and selling less than half of what we brought with me at less than half the prices we would normally charge, I lost several thousand dollars.
This was around the same time that poor decision making, self-based leadership, and myopia drove some of the most advanced, lovable, and respected minds in CrossFit, including Robb Wolf, James "OPT" Fitzgerald, and Greg Everett – three people I've had since my first one Respected exposure and whose positions I took very seriously. I knew at the time, although I was very marginal compared to these three, that our “partnership” was really over; I was classified as expendable or worse, and we had to act accordingly.
In retrospect, I should have downsized, given up on the second press I just bought, let our newly hired, experienced print workers go and get to the point, but I really felt we could keep a lot of the affiliate business and keep going. I was very wrong
The removal of the website crossfitshirts.com and clearly our "CrossFit blessing" has rejected many partners. Many stayed, and I still appreciate this step of faith to this day, but the loss was too great, our answer wasn't what it had to be, and in late 2009 we were forced to close our print shop and solve the committed people who had operated it.
Now in deep debt after I moved across the country to work on a project that was now dead and cheated and abandoned by someone I thought was a strong ally, I concentrated all my efforts on training people really, really well.
I set out to develop and document our processes meticulously and adapt the general education elements that we had worked on in Long Beach that I knew were critical to our idea of “global linear progression” Meaning. In short, if a glass in this story were half full, the Wolf Brigade would have become one of the best training platforms in the world – in every way and in many ways that no one had ever addressed before. When the chips were at the bottom, I grabbed what had brought me to where I was:
Help people as best I could.
Greg Glassman has never been a good person. Even if almost everyone who reads this believed that he was, he was still a very judgmental, elitist (wrong way) and opportunistic man who made himself comfortable telling everyone who would listen how much better he was offers very little evidence for this statement.
During this time there are currently many partners / ex-partners / participants who question their direction, the next steps and the need for "damage control". As someone who has often been targeted and attacked based on the irresponsible words of others and outside of the subject at hand, I will say the following:
Stand for what you know is right and stand damn hard. Do what's right, not what you're told.
If you want to train people, chase all the ways of progress and the facts that are available to you and excel in your market.
In response to the fact that he never offers territorial protection to his territories, Greg would say: "The cream rises up". Now is the time to prove this theory to yourself. The current climate is causing unfortunate casualties in small facilities that would otherwise have survived, and the idea of distancing oneself from something on which a foundation was built and branding it is daunting to say the least.
But that is not impossible. And with all of the current sharpness and negativity, it's important to remember that CrossFit DID, in one way or another, functional or dysfunctional, proves to all of us that we are stronger than we think.
Partner, ex-partner, participant:
Now it is time to "prove your fitness" … and it has nothing to do with burpees or box jumps.
CrossFit introduced me to concepts and ideas that I had never seen before, and I took the ball and ran with it. Greg Glassman teamed up with me – a small, independent, unhealthy, passionate idealist – and left me cold without ever saying a word of comfort, an act of repentance, or even an apology – as he did all of you last time.
This betrayal closed one door and opened another – as was the case for many at that time and under similar divisions – and I used it to reinforce the fire I already had and to develop a brand and training system, that are far more transferable. multi-level access and more effective than anything CrossFit has ever done.
If I / we can help you, our door is open.
We are not trying to capitalize on the misfortune of this situation, but we have had the displeasure of being able to predict for a long time, live by ourselves and now have the skills and abilities to help others.
After all, EVERYTHING – at least for those who should still be here – is about helping others.
Honest and sincere Greg Walsh