2016 CrossFit Games South Regional Team Champion... Doesn't sound so bad. Well that's only an achievement and a lot of work went into getting there but let's recap the weekends events. I'll try to give you a glimpse of what it's like to be on #TeamDensity. Some outburst to ensue.
Thursday - leaving day!
We packed up and headed out early. Once in town we got a bite to eat and did some grocery shopping, which was entertaining to keep, what are supposed to be, “grown adults” away from eating crappy food. After shopping, we got settled in at the house, and then headed to check-in. After check-in we did some exercise activities to keep things loose and get acclimated to the equipment. To finish off the night we headed home, had a meeting, ate more food and then headed to bed early.
Friday - Each day presented its own challenges.
This is the morning you realize it all starts now. By the time we arrived at the competition venue we knew that we weren’t in the top heat, due to seeding from the Open Results. A little extra motivation to start the day never hurts. As you can see we keep things slightly serious before events.
We kept things very routine for every workout meaning we warmed up, cooled down together, and did everything together. Event 1 went about as planned. No big snags, the workout really just came down to how good your team was at Strict HSPUs and Bar MU. Our group is pretty well-rounded, but we were aware that our 3rd girl was going to be slow on the HSPUs and that would determine our end result. We ended up executing well enough to finish 3rd on that workout. Moving forward I knew where we finished and that it was a decent start to the day.
Next up was the snatch event for the Men then the Women. I was extremely confident in our men's side as we went first and would set the bar for the women to follow. Things went nearly as planned, after a snag up with one of our men on the 245# bar. That delay ended up costing us a 1st place finish and we fell into 2nd place for that event. Now it was the women's turn, so we quickly left the floor to help them warmup in the back. Even though the warmup went as usual, I was more concerned about this event than any other for the weekend. Our women are decently strong and most of these bars should move easily. The problem there was the word "should." Two-thirds of our women are highly inconsistent and lack confidence with the lift. That becomes problematic when you have ascending weight, descending reps, small lifting area, and you have to manage the clock with failed reps. We are fortunate to have one girl that is solid and didn't miss a single lift. The other two women performed just below their capabilities, leaving the floor having missed multiple lifts and with all of us not sure what that result would be for us as a team. Once I saw the updated leader-board I was somewhat surprised, we got 2nd on the women's event and were in 1st place overall. The rest of the team discovered this shortly after getting back their phones. (Yes, I confiscate their phones at the beginning of each day and return them once we finish the competition day.) We relaxed for the rest of the day and summarized the day’s event finishes. The Coach in me made sure to tell them how we might have finished well, but we also left points out there on the snatch events and that is not something we want to get in a habit of doing.
Saturday - The Fight Begins
You wake up knowing where you stand and know it's going to be a fight with these workouts. We felt very good going into Events 4&5. Well that turned out to be wrong. As we hit the competition floor I gave one of our girls a simple assignment that she failed to execute correctly. Even though it was a minor detail, it was a sign of a lack of focus and understanding, something highly unacceptable at this point in the competition. A stern discussion ensued which was apparently caught on camera during the live feed.
Moving on to the event, we got a terrible judge and she proceeded to "No-Rep" us on OHS. Another sign that we needed to focus more and adjust to bad calls regardless of their legitimacy. I wasn't surprised by some of the no-reps the women received but I was shocked with the guys side. The judge was in a terrible position to judge OHS and because of the event design they were not allowed to move much. Either way it was terrible and anyone that knows me and the standards that I hold, knows that if I am saying it was terrible then I mean it. We ended those 2 events with an 3rd and an 11th. Very upsetting but we had to move on.
Event 6 was up next and this was definitely the last workout of the weekend we had concerns about. We expected our 1st two pairings were going to be fine but the last pair was the unknown. That was my part and while the workout was a good one for me, my partner was not a fan of either movement, so my job became to make it the best workout possible for her and minimize lost time. We needed to pace properly and empty the tank to finish. As the event actually unfolded, the two pairs that went in front of us went slower than we expected after receiving a small amount of no-reps. That just made it even more clear to us that we needed to execute well. It's hard to express what the emotions are like standing at the start mat waiting for your turn to finish a workout with a whole team and fan club cheering you on. I looked over at my partner to reassure her that we were going to do great and tell her that I was proud of her to this point. We started the Deadlifts and from there on the struggle was real for her. I'm kind of good at bar-facing burpees, especially for a fat kid and as we proceeded further in the workout I just wanted to go faster and I'm pretty sure she would have called a timeout if that were allowed. We finished the workout and the result was good enough for 7th in the event. Another day completed and still sitting in 1st place overall. A small sigh of relief knowing this was going to be the day that tested us the most. Some of the team members also got a glimpse of what it is like to be in the lead and have extra attention from the Judges. You can see this at every Regional on Day 2&3 if you pay close attention.
Sunday - The Finale
I'm not going to lie, it was hard to fall asleep but easy to wake up for Sunday. Especially when an old friend jumps into your bed at 5:30 AM after flying halfway across the country to surprise you. With each growing day it got harder and harder to just even eat breakfast every morning. I know my big butt should be hungry, but with the reality of being at the door to the CrossFit Games I didn't want to do anything but get the day started. I knew if I was feeling that way then the rest of the team must be feeling it some. I attempted to lighten the mood with my normal hurling of insults and attempts at laughter. As the Captain of this ship I needed to keep us on course and focused for storm ahead. We had a good lead and with 3 scored events left anything could happen. Event 7 went as planned with a solid finishing time, very similar to practice.
Event 8 was flying by and we were crushing the field right up until the handstand walk. Our last girl in the group decided to go into complete salvage mode only getting 10' at a time, which was well under her capabilities. Upon finishing the event with decent results, (both 4th place finishes), I was extremely upset, easily more pissed off than I had been all weekend. I released some of that anger on the floor but carried most of it to the back were I absolutely ripped into the team. With every word that came out of my mouth my voice just kept getting louder. If you have made it this far reading this post it's likely you have seen how fired up and emotional I can become at times. Most people are not capable of handling this kind of aggressive coaching style, but this team has seen nearly every side of me and are fully aware of the passion that I speak with. They know where it is coming from and by now have come to expect it. They know if someone screws up then we all screw up and you must be willing to answer for your actions and be held accountable. After the scolding, we pressed reset and moved forward to the last event. With this being the finale and the team not being aware of our point lead, I simply told them to go out there and execute our plan. With our fans knowing we had already clinched a spot to the games, the event came to a close. There was no big dramatic ending for us, we came 1 rep short of finishing the workout. Even with the disappointment of not finishing the workout I knew based on the other teams finishes that we had won the whole thing. At that very moment it all hit me like the proverbial sack of potatoes, it was hard for me to squeak out the words to let them know that we did it. That the dream came true. We held each other and embraced for a while.
Following the insanity of realizing what had just happened I always make it a point to tell our fans/community/family thank you for the unrelenting support. I made sure to personally talk to each and every person there at the end of Day 3.
After letting everything digest it was only a few hours later that I realized that even as great as the moment was, I just wanted more. You can call it selfish, but I'll call it driven. I almost had to force myself into enjoying the victory. I wanted to give my teammates the time to enjoy the achievement and not take it away from them just yet. The truth is I have always been this way, whatever "it" is, it's never enough to satisfy me and I always want more. I don't look at it as a bad thing or a curse, but more of a blessing. I have been blessed with gifts and it's my calling to share them. Being a leader is just one of them but one that I take extremely serious. I will lead #TeamDensity to Carson for the 2016 CrossFit Games and we will be prepared running full steam towards our goal.