Spectator

Three rounds for time of:

50 pound dumbbell Waiter walk, 100 meters, Right arm

30 GHD Sit ups

50 pound dumbbell Waiter walk, 100 meters, Left arm

30 Back Extensions

Bill Grundler 14:04

Watch a demo of the WOD here wmv/mov

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The roar of the crowd.

In keeping with our current theme of competition, here is an excerpt I wrote from July, 2008, chronicling the first time I spectated a major CrossFit event, namely the 2008 CrossFit Games.  It features our good friend Chris Sherwin:

“The first day was impossibly tense. They had to run and organize something to the order of 900 WODs that day. The level of talent, athleticism, heart, focus, and output was so thick in the air you could swim in it, the competition so fierce and nerve wracking it could power the needs of several metropolitan cities. Imagine the most exciting sports game you’ve seen on TV, then imagine being witness to such events every 20 minutes for 10 hours . . .

. . . But none of the Saturday happenings would prove as influential nor as moving to me as the Sunday 0920 Final WOD performance of our very own Chris Sherwin. He came up to me and told me he wasn’t doing it. I asked him why and he told me he was tired, and scared of the 155 lbs. You see, he had never before clean and jerked 155 lbs, let alone having to do it for 30 reps, the morning after performing three nut crushing WODs in one day. Impulsively, instinctively, I told him to do it, that he would regret it if he didn’t . . .

. . . “You’ll regret it,” I told him, “You’ll regret it, you’ll regret it, you’ll regret it. You’ll go home and think about it and it’ll haunt you forever and you’ll never forgive yourself. You’ll think about it and it’ll eat you up inside.” I mouthed my words carefully and made sure he understood. I was trying to appeal to the part of him that got him here, the CrossFit part, the animal part, the part that laughs at the cliff, not this part, the scared, soft one who wants out and wants to run. I could see it reached him and I left it alone, then all by himself he said ‘Fuck it’ and took off to get ready, five minutes before the heat started . . .

. . . I watched as he missed his first attempt, then his second, then his third. He fell back onto the dirt, he dropped the barbell from near misses. He fell to the dirt once more. I could see how the missed attempts were fucking with his head, feel his agony at missing the clean. It’s one thing to miss the jerk once you’ve cleaned it, but to not even clean and rack it to shoulder height? The way that works on your mind, your morale, your will to move on. Everyone knew he was losing precious time, not to mention enormous amounts of energy, with every missed attempt. He just kept trying and trying, only to keep missing and missing; it was heart breaking. Choking back tears, swallowing a volcanic guilt at having put him here against his will, I wanted to tell him to get his elbows under the bar faster, to drop under it after a big shrug, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t. I coudn’t because if I uttered even one word I would just break down in front of everybody . . .

. . . There was one miss where he fell and just stayed there, arms splayed out like he was ready to call it. For that one milisecond, he looked so peaceful and calm. I wanted to tell him to quit, that it was okay to, that he was already a hero if he walked out right now cuz he just put heart and soul to a weight that was refusing to be lifted. But he got up, found his heels, set his back, cleaned it, caught it (!), and slowly, painfully, miraculously, stood up with it. Then with sheer willpower, push jerked it. His first 155 lb Clean and Jerk. And he repeated it 16 more times. There was a miss here and there, but never like the first 6. Toward the last few minutes, the whole crowd, Crossfitters from who knows where, rallied around him and cheered him on to the last rep. It was awe inspiring. Complete strangers were giving him props afterwards. I understood then that this was what the Games are about . . . “

Looking back, this was only the first of many times Sherwin unwittingly fucked up my destiny.  But this day in particular forever changed my view of CrossFit competitioins and what’s so special about them.  He and I trained together with relatively similar outputs, yet he was in the arena putting out and I was in the crowd because . . . I don’t know why.  Fear?  Never again, I promised myself.

Anyone else out there feel this way watching a CrossFit comp?

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