Are there any other world championships where the competitors go out of their way to high five you after the event?
This was my fourth CrossFit Games. Seriously? Where did the last four years go? I’m just fortunate they let me hang out this long. The amazing growth that belies the Games each year is almost cliché at this point – which we know, but never get sick of. I was there in Aromas in 2009 as a spectator. Then, CrossFit took over my life like an overbearing, axe grinding mother-in-law with a chip on her shoulder.
It’s Tuesday, July 17th, 2012. I’m sitting in the CrossFit Media office – alone. I have the worst “Gamesover” yet. It’s like a hangover, only from the CrossFit Games season. The ACTUAL hangover from the after party (and the ensuing bus ride home) is but a component of the malaise/bliss that is the Gamesover. I feel like John Welbourn trucked me, I got bitch slapped by Fran, and left for dead in the middle of the Home Depot Center.
This isn’t the hangover you get from a $5 case of beer. It’s the kind you get from a party well done. You raged hard. Rocked honorably. Perhaps you earned yourself a new nickname, or Facebook profile picture that will live in infamy. Now, you’re basking in the foggy, impaired brain function afterglow of a weekend poorly spent. With a smile on your face, a liver soaked with tequila, and a belly filled with shitty food, you think back to the inappropriate jokes and nudity of parties gone by and realize you lived – really lived.
The Games experience is a non-stop express elevator to heaven with live muzak by Freddie Mercury. The awesome comes at you so hard it’s difficult to experience in the moment. Hanging with athletes, meeting people from around the world you only knew from the Internet, and buying T-shirts that are so hot they singe your nipples. It’s a relentless tidal wave of functional sensory overload that blasts you in the face from dawn to dusk for three (or four) days. Each time you think, “I don’t know if I can do this again.” But the next year, you can’t fucking wait to get to L.A. That says it all. If you’re pumped to be in L.A., shit must be epic.
Are there any other world championships where the competitors go out of their way to high five you after their event? I think not. That’s what makes this sport different. The people are so great – it’s like one big party where all are welcome. In fact, at the conclusion of the competition, it turned into just that. The crowd, athletes, and staff were invited to a happy hour in the stadium following closing ceremonies. The goodwill was palpable. The Games are a display and replenishment of our community ethos. Its not what CrossFit is all about, but it’s an important part. It’s a showcase, or festival celebrating the best of who we are.
The CrossFit Games are a Burning Man, Olympic weightlifting, track meet party wrapped in fucking spandex booty shorts. You stagger off with a sore ass, a headache and a smile. You marvel at how far you (and the rest of the CrossFit world) have come, and go home complete with an assortment of new T-shirts, nutrition bars and lasting friendships. Unlike a hangover, the Gamesover has no walk of shame … it’s a victory lap.