Awesome Guest Post From KB!
I recently had the chance to attend the CrossFit 2014 North East Regionals, where I was constantly reminded why I love this sport and the people connected with it.
Beyond getting to watch some of the biggest beasts of the East, looking at some of the hottest bodies around, exploring vendor after vendor and meeting some awesome people, I also got to experience first hand two of the most wonderful parts of CrossFit: friendship and community.
I made the trip up to Canton, MA with a bunch of people from my box that I don’t necessarily hang out with. We don’t work out together much, and haven’t really gotten to know each other.
But spending three days at Regionals with them opened a new door, and I gained a few new friends along the way. Allowing myself to open up to new opportunities, and allowing others to do the same, showed me once again that CrossFit connects people from every walk of life. We may be different ages, come from different towns, have various beliefs about life but we all have one thing in common - CrossFit - and a lot of the time that is enough. It’s enough to bring us together and allow for new bonds to form. With this as a starting point, we can usually find more commonalities besides CrossFit in each other’s lives. In fact, CrossFit has led me to some of the best and strongest friendships I have ever had.
I have made so many friends through CrossFit, some I would even consider my best friends. But, it constantly surprises me that even after two years of CrossFit, I am still meeting amazing people and making great friends. I have made some incredible connections in the community and for that I am thankful. Which brings me to my next point…
The second biggest thing I experienced this weekend was the Community. We all know that the CrossFit Community is huge, supportive, beastly and passionate. But there were three moments during the North East Regional that really showcased what CrossFit is about—hard work, competition, fun and mostly, community.
The first of these moments was during Event 4, that glorious strict handstand pushup event. It was the first event of the weekend that I was able to see, so I was in full on CrossFit geek out mode. Watching these men and women struggle through over 50 strict handstand pushups, front squats and burpees, I was in awe at even the slowest moving athlete.
During Heat 1 of the men, there were a few athletes struggling to come in under the time cap. Michael Sabato was one of them. I had fun watching him all weekend, because you could tell that although he was working his ass off, he was still having fun. As the clock counted down those last few seconds, he was still on the wall, fighting for one more rep. When the buzzer sounded, he literally collapsed on his neck, and I thought he got hurt. Instead, he stood up with a huge smile on his face and shrugged his shoulders. The smile that he flashed to the crowd summed up how I, among many others, feel after going to war in our box: that was “fun” and I gave it everything I got but thank the Lord it’s over. Although he didn't get a ticket to Carson at the end of the weekend, his spirit was true CrossFit, and this moment showed it.
The second moment that stood out to me during the weekend was during Heat 3 of men’s Event 7. Ben Isabella ran out onto the competition floor with his shoulder all wrapped up, clearly injured. The high volume pull-ups and overhead squats that loomed in the future probably were not making the situation any more bearable for him.
But you know what? He sucked it up, got after it, and smiled the whole time. He probably knew this event wasn’t going to be his best, but in true CrossFit spirit, he went to battle and little by little, chipped away at this workout. I remember the announcer pointing out that he was probably injured, and he just gave the crowd a look that said, “Well, DUH!” and laughed and continued with his pull-ups. The kid never gave up, and that to me is another example of what CrossFit is about: persistence and hard work even when the odds are stacked against you.
The last and final moment of the weekend that showed quintessential CrossFit was during Event 5, the legless rope climb event. It still gives me chills when I think about it.
In Heat 2, again it was coming down to the wire and a few athletes remained on the floor struggling to finish. It eventually came down to two men - Rob Moloney and Robby Teixiera. Teixiera was clearly gassed, and on the brink of giving up, or so it seemed. But suddenly, all of the athletes that had already finished slowly began to circle around the two remaining athletes.
Teixiera had been trying and failing for a few minutes, and every time he slid down the rope, ripping his hands to shreds, you could hear the collective groans of the crowd. They were all clearly pulling for him to slap that rig and finish his last and final climb.
Moloney hit the rig before Teixera, sprinted to the finish, took a quick breath, and immediately turned around and ran back to Teixiera and began coaching him and cheering him on. All of the other athletes that had competed against him were literally telling him what to do, how to do it, and giving him the confidence and strength to keep at it.
Can someone please tell me what other sport this happens in? Because I cannot for the life of me think of a single one. This happened countless times over the weekend, where athletes would gather around and push each other, but for some reason this one stuck with me.
When Teixiera went up for his last attempt, you could feel the tension in the air. When he hit that rig, the crowd erupted and it sent chills down my spine and brought tears to my eyes. EVERYONE in that stadium wanted him to succeed. When he came off that rope, Moloney sprinted with him to the finish. That is true sportsmanship. But moreover, it is true CrossFit.
Yes, CrossFit is the sport of fitness. It’s brutal workouts and lying on the floor gasping for air. It’s sweat, tears and blood. It’s booty shorts and shirtless men, Progenex and Reebok Nanos. But to me, more than all of that, the pinnacle of CrossFit is community.
It’s every single person, including the competitors, pulling for one athlete. It’s cheering and screaming for the people you know, and having the same enthusiasm for the ones you don’t. It’s pushing your partner, fellow athlete, and yourself when death seems imminent.
CrossFit has taught me so many things, but that weekend just reinforced what CrossFit is to me: friendship, and finding strength in yourself, in others, and in an entire community of other crazy CrossFitters.
Now, if I can learn all that in a few days at the regionals, I wonder what I’ll discover at the Finals in Carson, CA!
About The Author
KB is a former Division 1 College Rower. She is a CrossFit Level 1 trainer and recently completed the CrossFit Movement and Mobility Trainer Course.