Love the Struggle

As I sit here tonight, unpacking and washing clothes and watching the archived video from this past weekends CrossFit games, I started to process what actually happened this weekend.

I looked forward to this weekend for such a long time.  It would be my first time to the CrossFit Regionals, and it would be my first time in the almost 2 years I have been doing CrossFit to go to a big event like this.  I was going to Regionals to volunteer, but also because I wanted to see for myself, as a coach what goes on at regionals.  We always hear about a CrossFit community, but we only know mostly our community within our own gyms.  We hear about the fittest men and women, well I wanted to see this group of fit people and see them go head to head.   Such an amazing and big event how is it all done?  Well I am going to break down this post into two sections.  One will be my experience as a volunteer and  just being around CFHQ and many other countless volunteers who gave of their time.  The second part will be probably an over emotional sappy description regarding community.

I had never volunteered for an even like this.  I had seen many on instagram who did it in the SoCal regions, and other regions last year and when I asked, said they loved every minute of it.  I wanted to see for myself what goes on behind the scenes to make these regional events happen and how they run so smoothly.  I was nervous that I was going to get a job I wouldn’t like or wouldn’t know how to do.  So I applied and got accepted to Volunteer Control.

What seemed like an eternity driving from NJ to MA I finally arrived close to 9:30 at night on Thursday Evening.  Met up with a good friend of mine for dinner.  We talked about her experience judging, and volunteering last year, community, our favorite lifts, why we love what we do, etc etc.  Needless to say it was a good night, but we headed to bed early seeing our shifts started at 7am.
I could barely sleep I was so nervous and excited.  5:45 was there before you knew it and off we were to Reebok Headquarters to start this amazing weekend.  I got there and was assigned to Ticket Sales/Customer Service.  Went through some quick training and at 8am  the crowds started to gather.  Everyones face had a smiled, they were happy to finally be here, to support their friends, their boxes, support athletes they probably never met but somehow left an impression on them that they were compelled to come cheer them on.  It made me happy to see how many people love this sport and love supporting the people who arduously put so much effort into it.
Jason Ackerman and Kayla Wells who were part of organizing the games and the volunteers ran a smooth operation.  They always made sure we were taken care of, wether we needed coffee, food, snacks, a break to go see some of our favorite teams, or athletes.  They never talked down to us, or berated us.  I sat in the staff tent and looked at all the different volunteers, “staff”, “media”, “medical”, “athlete services”, “security”, “judges”, “rogue equipment”.  There were so many.  That amazed me the more I thought about it.  True we got free shirts, and food, and entry to the games.  But at the same time if none of us had volunteered, the games would of have been a lot more stressful.  Yeah maybe they would have to have paid people to do all that that we did, but that would mean less money to help fund food for athletes, probably would have had to pay for parking, and not only that to train people to do all this work.   When you get a group of people who are like minded, and love the sport and love CrossFit its easier to Love the Struggle and work together.  As volunteers we all got to make friends with different CrossFitters from around the North East Region, we made friends that we probably wouldn’t of if we hadn’t worked together.  We were happy to do this job and be part of a community, were happy to help the athletes, or spectators.  It feels good to be a part of something so big.

So to all the Judges, Volunteers, and people running the show.  Thank you for allowing us to be a part of something so cool, thank you for the new people we got to meet and the friends we all made.  Thank you for making us feel appreciated by shouting us out and having everyone in the stands cheer for us.  I can not wait to do it next year!

Here’s where it starts to get more emotional….you have been warned.

Besides volunteering this weekend, I was looking forward to watch the games, some of my favorite athletes and my family from CrossFit 908 crush it.  I did just so, but took it in a lot differently than I thought I would.  Watching people you care about, do something they love, and see every bit of emotion easily read on their face does something to you.  Over the last few months, I knew team 908 had been working very hard to get everything down packed for their trip to regionals, I knew some of the struggles some of the members on the teams had.  When it came time to put all that handwork to use and lay it all out on the dance floor, Team 908 did just that.  You could see some displays of nervousness flash across their faces, before the 3..2..1.  However you couldn’t help but smile to see them all crushing it.  You also couldn’t help but hear the “sea of red”.  The “sea of red” was dubbed for all the support 908 had there.  Over 100 people came to support this team, and all from 908 and different boxes.  Heck I had my team 908 shirt on under my Staff shirt when I was volunteering.  You could see them look into the crowd when they needed some encouragement and boy did that crowd deliver.  On the way back to our Hotel I thought about that for a bit.  How many people from different boxes or different communities came to support 908, to embrace the struggle, and love that struggle with them.  How every rep or no rep, we all felt it almost as if it was towards us.  How involved we were with their performance.  100+ different people, different paths, cheering on people we cared about and loved so much.  To see Erin handstand walk, or bang out some strict handstand pushups was amazing.  Bridget getting her muscle ups and making them look effortlessly.  You couldn’t help but smile.  You couldn’t help but feel good when you saw them all hugging each other after each event.  How crazy the crowd went when Bridget had a couple Over Head Squats left, I along with her family were hugging each other and tears welling up in our eyes.  This emotional connection we have with a team of individuals who do what we do in the gym day in and day out, to see them leave it all out there on that floor.  It inspired me more than I thought it would.  To see team 908’s disposition after what seemed to be somewhat of a setback for them, and how they just smiled and crawled 12 spots up by the final day.  Teamwork, community, drive, motivation, I could go on and on.  I always tell Tim and Erin, I am not a member at 908, but they always make me feel like I am part of their family and I felt that on a whole new level this weekend.  They have an amazing community and family backing them.  They are genuine and it shows through all the people who came out to support them.  I couldn’t be happier for all of them!  Congrats guys on 10th place finish!  Thank you for the great memories that were made this past weekend!

From volunteering, to watching my friends compete, to meeting Spencer Hendel in person finally and getting to see how cool of a person he is, Sam Dancer, Daniel Tyminski, Jon Gilson, and all the other awesome athletes I look up to, to be able to share that love and passion for this sport that has changed so many peoples lives, to be able to enjoy the company of so many like minded people.
I can not wait until next year!
Until then, train hard, and love the struggle

-Miguel aka #miguel