Friday, September 12, 2014

Why do we Love this Crazy Sport?

I've been holding on to this for just the right moment.
At the start of the year we have our new year's resolutions.
Then we have the CrossFit open in February and March.
Then we have Regionals in May.
Then the Games in July.
But now... what is our motivation?
Why across the world do people start to fall from their goals towards the end of the year?

I asked Anna Marie to put together her feelings on paper after her and Don got back from the CrossFit Games.
Because her and Don's excitement for our sport were Contagious as soon as they got back. So I  wanted to capture that.
But... i wanted to release that energy right now because I think we all need it.
So please take some time to read this, and then get your butt into a box somewhere and crush some weight!

From Anna Marie:
When I drank the kool-aid 2 years ago, my coach (Quattlebaum) had just returned from The 2012 CrossFit Games. He was fired up and high on CrossFit my first day. So I asked the question a lot of non-crossfitters tend to ask you when you tell them you went to a competition…Did you compete?  He just smiled and replied, “Not yet.”

The next year, Don and I went to the 2013 CrossFit Games along with a few other crossfitters from our box. We had an amazing time. The atmosphere was crazy. Good looking people everywhere and so much swag (that I just thought I had to have) you would go broke. As soon as we stepped off the plane, we headed to the Masters finals. Wow. Age is definitely just a number. I was beginning to realize what it all meant. The following days were full of wonderment. Taking it all in. Watching every workout, teams and all, and just feeling your body yearn to pick up some weight, jump rope, handstand or, hell, even do a burpee. I was still pretty new to the game and wasn’t quite sure if I belonged yet but I can definitely say I was happy to be a part of it. And then I witness Rich Froning become the 3 time Champ on that tennis court. The first thing he did was thank his fans. We were on the front row(thanks Roy). Rich walked down and high fived us all. I remember Don saying, “I am never washing this hand again” He had become our hero.  Then to top it off, the rest of the athletes came walking over to us. Jason Khalipa, Camille, Scott, the list goes on. Everyone stopping to take photos and say thanks. To US! The fans! I had realized at that moment I belonged there. Because everyone did. CrossFit HQ and all of the competing athletes made that very clear that day. It takes a village.

Then you go home. The high stayed with me for a few weeks. Then it started to diminish. Understandably so. Life brought on several challenges, PR’s were starting to get few and far between and your purpose was just a faint ray of sunshine in the horizon. We have all been there. I will admit. I wasn’t prepared to go to California a second time. My thought process was, been there done that. We can’t afford it. It’s just $12 beers and lots of sunshine. I didn’t reach all my goals. I’m weak. I don’t want to find a sitter. The list goes again.

Then we came across tickets (thanks Roy). We were going. I began all the necessary preparation for travel and still wasn’t 100% sure it was what I wanted but I definitely wasn’t going to let Don go by himself. The day before we left, the excitement hit me like a freight train. For some reason, all the amazing things about the games came rushing in. I couldn’t sleep. We couldn’t get to California fast enough. We stepped off the plane. And it started. The 5 most amazing days a crossfitter, like me, will ever experience. The last day, as we were about to watch the final men’s heat, I leaned over to Don and said, “No matter what, we will be here next year. No matter what.” And here’s why:

Just a sea of beautiful people. Yes, I love seeing guys with their shirts off. And just like every other girl, I check out the ladies too. Fit people are pretty! But that is not what I am talking about. There was more confidence exuding the crowds than I have ever seen at a spectator event. From those that have just started their fitness journey to coaches that have helped us get there, smiles were across the floor. I didn’t remember this part from last time. Always a conversation in line. You got to know who you were standing next to very quickly. You were either motivating someone or being motivated. There were no insecurities. The only ugly people I saw are the ones that never really quite understood the term, humility. Those guys didn’t have a lot of people around them either. But hey, no one said CrossFit cured everything.

Up close and personal with the competitors.  Where do I begin? Well, the teams’ competitors, for starters. They put on a show. For those that don’t know, the Games start at 9:00am and the last wod usually comes to an end around 9:00pm. Very little breaks in between. Each wod is just as intense as the last. You find your favs and decide which heat you will miss for your lunch break. Even your bathroom breaks are timed out, and then you just pray that you don’t miss anything. You can hear them yelling at each other on the field. And by yelling, I mean encouraging, coordinating, and just all out yelling for an ounce more of strength. (Saw a lot of this displayed during The Big Bob sled pull.) As soon as you finish cheering for them in their last wod, you see them walking vendor village with their friends and family. Unreal.  Again, smiles across the floor. The individual competitors seem to hold a little more of a “celebrity status”. I didn’t see them walking around as much this year. The Games have definitely exceeded in numbers. But when one of your favorite athletes (Kenneth Leverich) comes running down the sidelines during the muscle up biathlon and gives you a wave as you scream “Come On Kenny!”…unreal. Even better, a friend (Meagan) was standing on the floor during meet and greet Wednesday night and started talking to Talayna Fortunado. She suggested dry needling for her pulled hamstring. Talayna then asked, “Can you needle me tomorrow night?” And so she did. There is an abundance of admiration for each competitor. But because of  what CrossFit stands for and what each one them held true, they admire their fans. Which brings me to my last and final reason.

Community. This is one of the hardest experiences to put into words. But here goes…Each box has built a community. These communities come together to cheer on the top fittest people in the world. It doesn’t get much better than that. We have all seen on TV when Chris Spealler was going for his last clean in the Clean Ladder and the crowd began chanting his name. I was a voice in that crowd. Several others had already lifted that weight without any problem at all. But Spealler needed his community. And I believe it was us that help him stand up. Without the fans, these athletes would do ok. But we make them great. No man or woman leaves the competition floor until all athletes are finished. They make each other great. Just imagine Tiger Woods standing behind a rookie and helping him with his swing at the British Open. Never gonna happen. I’m not saying anything negative about other sports. Each one has its level of skilled athletes. But there is much more glory in a sport where the person in last place gets the fans on their feet and in their hearts. It didn’t matter what place you were in, you were welcomed to the finish line with cheers and noise. Rich would not be the 4 year champ without God and his community. He is the perfect example of a leader and follower of Christ.

There will be struggles. There will be pain.  No matter what, you have a community of folks who will be there for you and encourage you, right there in your own box.  And so you do the same.  This is why we CrossFit. Witnessing this in a setting like the CrossFit Games is an overwhelming sense of admiration and connection with others like yourself.  So if anybody asks me if I am going to the games next year, my answer is, “God willing…yes.”

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