Photo courtesy of the Reebok CrossFit Games
Love or hate CrossFit, you have to admit we support one another.
You can see it in the day-to-day classes and on the worldwide stage of the Games every summer. The balance of competition and camaraderie is like nothing else I’ve ever seen in sports. So rare is this sportsmanship that the occasional display of it in other sports, often ends up on the front page of the local paper or sometimes makes Sports Center.
Every day in boxes around the world, athletes train and compete, whether it’s against themselves or a friendly game of poaching on the whiteboard results, the competition is always there. But in no other sport do you consistently see such glaring examples of “do unto others” like you do at the Regionals and Games levels. And it starts from the top.
This past weekend, in every heat he was in, Rich Froning consistently finished first or second, and every time, he went back and cheered on the other people who were doing everything in their physical abilities to take his title. Let’s be clear: went back and cheered his opponents, helped them, yelled out encouragement and cheered them on with tips and motivation. Not some random guy doing it because he thought it looked good for the cameras, but Rich Froning – three-time Fittest Man on Earth. He didn’t have to do that. He didn’t wait until the cameras were following in some prearranged PR move. He did it because at one point, he’s been there, too. As hard as it is to believe, Rich has been there; last in the class, trying just to finish the WOD and make it stop. It may have been years ago, but he’s been there, too. We all have.
And that’s just it. No matter who you are or what you can do, we all share such a common bond; the suck. There have been days or WODs were we have all been like, “Enough, I’m out.” But we also know that there are also people who are around that understand “the suck” and will come back and help you finish the work. Not to be outdone, Sam Briggs, who struggled somewhat throughout the Europe Regional this weekend, finally won her first event of the weekend. But instead of celebrating her victory, she ran down the mat to encourage fellow competitor Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir. Let’s keep in mind for a second that Davidsdottir was not only competing against Briggs, but at the time was keeping her out of a qualify spot for the Games. But she cheered her on just the same.
While this might be a rare occurrence in most traditional sports, it’s so commonplace at CrossFit competitions that it’s more of a reaction of, “Oh, that was nice” instead of national news.
Really, isn’t that how all sports SHOULD be?
No matter if you are the top dog at your local box or just a grinder like me, these Regional athletes deserve our respect and attention. They are just like us, embracing the suck, and they aren’t going to level the competition floor until the last person finishes.
Even if that person, in another sport, would be the enemy, in CrossFit we’re all in it together.
Do you have an example of someone who picked you up off the floor or helped you survived a real grinder? Share the experience in the comments or email me at JTolgrinder@gmail.com. Stay on the grind. Jamie Toland (JTol) Twitter @JTolgrinder