The next level in the progression to The 2014 CrossFit Games is the Regional competitions, taking place beginning May 9and continuing each weekend until June 1. If you’re a grinder like me, chances are you didn’t qualify as an athlete. Better luck next year.
But should you still bother making the trip? As a person who has attended every Regional since the first official ones “back in the day” I would answer with a resounding, “YES!”
Here are some reasons why I think hitting up a Regional event is beneficial to you.
- Grub: The Regional will afford you the opportunity to try new food and product vendors that were probably only available through the process of online trial and error. Instead of getting hit with a $20–$30 box of Paleo-style bars from some company in a different state, you can get individual bars and sometimes even free samples depending on the vendor and booth. Regionals was the place I tried, RX bars, Paleo Steve and Coconut water for the first time. There are tons to choose from and there should be a link to the vendors on the Games’ site if you want to plan ahead. Depending on the region and the particular sponsors for that weekend, there are usually Paleo-friendly meals by companies like Paleo Wagon and also an assortment of beers and other beverages on site (depends on the location).
- Gear: The big dogs will most likely be there: Inov8, Rogue, Again Faster, etc…but I have found that there are a lot of up-and-coming companies that will have stands and tents pop up at these events as well. Everything from WOD timers, to backpacks, to barbells and kettlebells, to fancy jump ropes will be on display and available to try out and actually put your hands on before buying. Anyone ever buy a shirt or training gear such as shoes online only to find out they don’t fit right? This is a great place to talk to experts and grab some awesome new gear. Hey, if you’re like me at least you can try to look good when you are coming in second to last in your WODs.
- Community: I know that none of you (just like me) have ever had a conversation about CrossFit and noticed the person you were talking to give you the eye roll or blank stare, right? This is a place where like-minded people can share like-minded conversations about CrossFit. Think of all the people you can meet. CrossFit athletes of all ages and backgrounds will be gathering together to watch some of the best athletes around tear up some brutal workouts. I’ve meet some pretty awesome people the last couple of years from all over our Region. Some booths will have competitions for prizes and giveaways where you and your new friends can square off against each other in a friendly challenge.
- Passion: Going to a live event in any sport always seems to get me excited like nothing else. Soccer, hockey, baseball, football, it doesn’t matter. Watching these amazing athletes do incredible things gets me fired up just like it did when I was a kid playing baseball in the backyard with my friends. The Regional is no different. I love to train and be a part of the community of CrossFit; it’s been an inspiring ride. There’s just something about watching the top-level athlete push themselves further than even they thought was possible that makes me excited to get back and work on my own weaknesses. Just like doing the Open each year shows me things I can improve on, seeing these beasts tear through events reminds me how much I still have to work on.
- Athletes: Depending on your geographic location and the amount of disposable income you have, getting to the Games for a non-qualifier can be a bit of a struggle. The Regional is a place where you can see high-level athletes crushing events that some of us could only dream of. It is also a place where a select few will take the next step and land on the podium. This will lead to the Games and more opportunities for them personally and professionally. While not all of us will have access to the athlete’s village and the behind-the-scenes areas where these local and national stars hang out for the three-day event, it’s not uncommon for these folks to be out and about. In past Regionals, I witnessed almost all the athletes in the vendor area and spending time walking with the other attendees signing autographs and taking selfies with fans. You might not make it to the Stub Hub Center, but this event will definitely be worth the trip.
What do you think about making the trip to Regionals? Share your experiences below or email them to me at JTolgrinder@gmail.com.
Stay on the Grind.
Jamie Toland (JTol)