The Fire Inside

By Web Smith

In Rest Day/Theory

April 01, 2011

PDF Article

How do intangibles like passion and belief in self fit into a community driven by data? Web Smith explains.

Determination, faith and the value of conquering the “fear of failure” may fall outside the CrossFit pursuit of data-driven performance, but it’s apparent these factors existed for Matt Chan and Chris Spealler in the 2010 CrossFit Games.

Just as the variables of CrossFit competition are unknown, so too are the depths of an athlete’s heart, mind and faith. The intensity of their focus, faith and resolve may very well rival the actual intensity of their remarkable power output, and perhaps these intangible factors are at least partly responsible for the performances of these athletes. We cannot prove this, so we tend to avoid discussing the validity of these concepts.

But can we dismiss them?

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21 Comments on “The Fire Inside”


wrote …

Web, great stuff as usual. You set the bar high my friend. Keep it up.


wrote …

does anyone know where i can find the iowa wrestling video spealler refers to?


wrote …


Youtube ESPN The Season- Iowa Wrestling


replied to comment from Dustin Crosby

thanks Dustin!


wrote …

Thanks for such an insightful and inspiring article! I will be re-reading this one for sure. Thanks also for including the links to the Speal and Chan videos at the end -- I had not seen either of them before, and they were both fascinating for the perspectives they offered from these two top CFer's. And even though Matt's video wasn't meant as a lifting tutorial, his form is so solid on his C&J's and snatches that I was slowing it down and re-running it to improve my own lifts!


wrote …

Thanks for bringing up such a key point. Many Crossfitters solely focus on the physical leaving the spiritual side of life unaddressed. As a 40 year old crossfit want-to-be, I look up to Chris Spealler probably more than anyone. As a christian myself, I had a hunch that he was to but had never seen any content on the journal site about faith. Thanks for the great article and keep up the work christian brothers and sisters.

God bless


wrote …

This article is great, and the video interviews at the end are absolute gold.


wrote …

Crossfit is the long game. Chan and Speal are like Newman and Redford in the Sting. They understand athletic evolution and the process of unifying the disparate aspects of the self. To be around either of them is to understand that who they are as athletic competitors/trainees is who they are as men. They are integrated men, with few weaknesses. No wonder they inspire me, and are so damn hard to beat.

Great work Web.

Imagine being the fourth fittest in the family.



wrote …

Great article, web! I was unable to open the interview links on my ipad! Shucks!


wrote …

Great, great article. Matt Chan is great, but Spealor is something special.


Thanks brother!


Thanks, Will! The videos were new and produced for this article. We're glad you liked them!



Writing for the journal and learning from Tony, Mike, and crew is a cool experience. Especially when breaking somewhat new ground...



Thanks bro. That certainly means a lot! I'll pass on the video props to Elliot. He is masterful when it comes to capturing emotion in CrossFit.


Web Smith wrote …

@KSTAR "Integrated Men", I like that! And fourth? How do you cope??? I need pointers! :)


Frank DiMeo wrote …



wrote …

I am in my last semester as a grad student at CSU, Fresno. I am pursuing a degree in sport psychology. As a sport psychology consultant we are trained to help athletes with the mental component of sport. We help them set goals, maintain focus, use of imagery, relaxation techniques, etc. I have been working with Freestyle Motocross (FMX) riders for about a year now on their performance and safety. I am thinking about offering help to the community. What does everyone think? Would CrossFit be interested in working with a fellow CrossFitter and sport psychology consutlant to help other athletes on their mental game?



I know that Greg Amundson talks about it quite a bit, just not from the clinical perspective. I could sure use some help!


wrote …

Web - this is a beautifully written article! Thanks for highlighting the "intangible" yet so important qualitites of being a great athlete and person.



Thank you so much. I'd love to talk to you about it sometimes!



wrote …

Great job Web. Keep up the good work @ Sicfit

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