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The most impressive athlete at Regionals

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The most impressive athlete at Regionals

By Alex Lima

Back in May I got a last-minute opportunity to join some of our members for Regionals weekend up in Albany, NY (thanks Jill!).

A little context on Regionals: After qualifying through the Open, the top male, female, and team competitors are invited to a 3-day competition in their respective regions, where they compete against one another for a chance to advance to the CrossFit Games. We got to see some BIG names compete–Mat Fraser, Katrin Davidsdottir, Patrick Vellner, Kari Pierce, and others.

No doubt, these athletes are in the zone. When you get to that level, you need to be dialed in to have a prayer of a chance. These men and women are serious about what they do. I commend them all for the incredible effort they put forth over the course of the weekend, and the commitment they make just to get there in the first place. But I can distinctly remember walking away from it feeling particularly impressed with one athlete.

So who was it? Mat Fraser decimated his competition. Katrin and Carol Ann Reason-Thibault ran away on the women’s side. Certainly these athletes were impressive in many ways. But, to my surprise, each one stood at the finish line after they finished the events, waiting for time to expire. Then, a kid I’d never heard of before started climbing the leaderboard. Cody Mooney, just 23 years old, was besting the field, and every time he finished a workout I watched him make his way back to those still working to give them support.

Let me reiterate, this guy was competing for a spot at the Games! It’s something he’s probably dreamt about for years. Even with that, he still had the clarity of mind to cheer for his fellow competitors. Or maybe it wasn’t clarity of mind–maybe it was just the wherewithal to remember that CrossFit is about community.

OK ok ok…If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a CrossFit nerd. I Youtube Regionals videos of the Central East from 2011-2014 while I eat breakfast, just to watch Rich Froning casually destroy his competition. I watch Games reruns so I can see CrossFit OG Chris Spealler grind his way through his own physical limitations (he weighs about 150lbs) to best bigger, faster, stronger athletes two thirds his age. But in the “old days” of Crossfit, these guys and girls finished their workouts, and the first thing they’d do was walk back down the field to cheer on their competition.

So what about our box? Sure, we have our homegrown rivalries. We each have a “rabbit” to chase, a WOD buddy we compare times with. But in reality, we’re all in this together. Shared suffering breeds camaraderie–it’s built into the foundations of CrossFit, but that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. Sometimes, it’s important we step outside ourselves and ask “am I doing everything I can to create the kind of environment I need to succeed”? For me, it starts with treating others the way we hope to be treated.

Our box has been through a lot in the last few years. We’ve seen a lot of changes, no doubt about that. I want to suggest a new chapter in our journey together, as well as a renewed commitment to you, the client. Let’s get back to what helped make CrossFit so great in the first place and invest in each other as much as we invest in ourselves.

Next time you finish a workout under the time cap, instead of cleaning up your weights or sitting down and “licking your wounds,” offer some encouraging words to the athlete next to you. Put your hands together and cheer for someone, because that little push makes a difference. We’re all in this together, and our community is only as strong as the relationships between individuals. I hope to see a lot more smiles, encouragement, sweaty hugs and chalky high fives in the future!