He couldn’t hit the wall. That’s basically what Matt Giordano’s first CrossFit Sectional competition experience boiled down to. That and the horrified faces in his cheering section as loved ones watched him struggle like they’d never seen him struggle before, just to get through one round of wall balls.
“I was getting it above the marker, but the rule was you had to hit the wall, and I was getting so tired from all the missed attempts … so, so tired,” Giordano says, thinking back to the 2010 Sectional. “I had my family and friends watching me struggle through that. I think I did 50-something wall ball attempts in my first round, and they just turned away. My fiancée at the time, she couldn't watch. She was crying. I just did awful. I almost finished dead last, and after that, I was like, ‘Wow. I have a lot of work to do.’ And going into last year's Open, all I wanted to do was erase that memory of how terrible it was.”
Giordano, 31, a member of CrossFit Generation in Horsham, Pa., qualified for the 2011 Mid Atlantic Regional after finishing 58th out of 60 in the Open. However, he gave up his individual spot and pinch-hit for the Generation Team at Regionals, allowing a friend to stay home and attend the birth of his son.
This year, there will be no wondering what could have been. Giordano will either go to the Mid Atlantic Regional as an individual, or he’ll go as a cheerleader for any Generation athletes who qualify.
Giordano says he felt honored to represent the box and owner Barry Weidner (his CrossFit mentor since he took up the sport in 2009) at last year’s Regional. At the same time, he longs to measure his 2010 wall ball-challenged self against the well-rounded athlete he’s become.
“I felt fairly fit and felt I could have done pretty well,” says Giordano, a former East Stroudsburg University soccer star who ran marathons before finding CrossFit. “You never know. I would like to say, ‘Yeah, I could have made it to the Games or made it to the last workout,’ because you have to have that kind of confidence and drive if you're a competitor. I would like to think I would’ve had a good shot at it, but I kind of just try not to think about it. This year, I will know for sure.”
Giordano is a workhorse, currently holding down several jobs – coach at both CrossFit Newtown and CrossFit Solebury; men’s soccer coach at Montgomery County Community College, where he is also an adjunct professor in the exercise science department; and the strength and conditioning coach for the Council Rock North High School football team.
Heading into the 2012 CrossFit Open, Giordano can’t guarantee a repeat performance of last year, but he’s doing his best. Between his host of part-time jobs that occupy between 60 and 70 hours of his week, he still finds time to train three to four days per week, focusing more on strength, with short, heavy met-cons and skill work mixed in. “Basically, fitness is part of my life and it has been for a very long time," he says. "Getting my own training in receives priority every day. No matter what time I get it in, I make sure it's on my schedule and it gets done."
Giordano’s main goal throughout his athletic career has been to keep performing a little better than he did the day before. He wants the opportunity to prove that to himself by returning to Regionals as an individual and finally getting to shake that 2010 Sectional monkey off his back.
You might say he’s optimistic about his chances. “The good thing is,” he laughs, “I can do wall balls now.”
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