Ok, I’m just going to come out and say it.
The classic CrossFit moment that everyone always praises—the one where the athletes who have already finished the workout gather around and smother the one remaining athlete struggling to finish her final muscle-up—is nothing more than a cliche.
The first time it happened, I’m sure it was spontaneous and sincere—a genuinely beautiful sports moment. But now, helping the last man has become an expectation, which (in my opinion) has cheapened the sincerity. The spontaneity is gone, and the moment often looks—and feels— forced.
There, I said it.
But there’s something else—something more subtle—that goes on at every single CrossFit competition I’ve ever competed in, and there’s nothing fake or forced about this.
This is the respect that each athlete develops for the rest of her competitors through the course of the weekend.
The recent Canada West regional competition was no exception.
Each of us competing in Richmond had worked our asses off to get there. We all had our own personal goals, our own ups, our own downs, and each of us went through an emotional roller coaster that weekend.
And to a certain degree, the competition brought us together in a way that we were able to recognize, and empathize with, certain aspects of the personal emotional roller coasters each of us was experiencing.
It often feels like we struggle alone, but I don’t think we do. Along with my own, I could feel other athletes' pain that weekend.
Photo courtesy of Blonyx www.blonyx.com
I could feel Jayde Quilty’s pain. She seriously got unlucky and everyone knew it. This girl is clearly one of the most natural athletes in Canada West, and in so many events she can seriously just dominate everyone else. Then came a shit ton of gymnastics at regionals, including 54 strict handstand push-ups.
I developed so much respect for Jayde over the course of that weekend in Richmond. The weekend wasn’t designed for her, but she kept fighting and found a way to smile through every single event. I saw her right after Event 4, her worst event of the entire weekend, and there she was smiling broadly.
Tina Popp was a similar story. She got a 0 on the snatch event, but she was a contender in every single other workout. And just like Jayde, she kept her focus and kept fighting.
I’m not pretending to know exactly what either of those girls went through emotionally that weekend, but I could see their characters—and they are sound. And at the end of it all that’s what we’re going to remember about our competition days—about ourselves and about our competitors: Character.
There are a few other things that didn’t go unnoticed, things that these ladies maybe don’t realize didn’t go unnoticed (just a handful of many, many more):
1). HOLY SHIT, WATCH OUT NEXT YEAR: Brittany Brown. You are scary! You have come so far in one year and if it weren’t for the handstand walk you would have been fighting for the podium, possibly even for the title, in the final event. This did not go unnoticed.
2). HEARTS HURT FOR YOU: It’s impossible to ignore Taryn Romanowich’s passion. Everyone knew she was a top contender, and everyone knew nobody wanted it more than she did. For whatever reason the weekend didn’t go her way, and every single heart in the building went out to her. This region is behind you, Taryn.
3). MISS CONGENIALITY: I’ve told you before, but I’m telling you again: Erica Livett, the energy you bring to any competition is invaluable. You compete like a rockstar and manage to find a way to take care of those around you in the process.
JUST FOR FUN:
4). BEST HAIR: Crystal Kirby-Peloquin: Your hair looked amazing all weekend. Serious hair envy over here!
5). I’M AS HETEROSEXUAL AS THEY COME, BUT I STILL FIND YOU SEXY: (I really hope this doesn’t offend you): Deanna Fester. You are gorgeous! The venue stopped as you did wall balls in those gray pants. I can’t believe Jeremy turned you down because he needed to take a nap when you first asked him out. Glad he sorted that shit out.
The point: Thank you Canada West ladies! You help us all become better athletes. And people.