"It has been so inspiring to watch these athletes."
Watching the fans watch the athletes was one of the unexpected high points of being at the 2012 South Central Regional. Young and old alike were rapt watching the Event 5 Snatch Ladder, and the tension was palpable.
Bernie and Joan Auch of Canyon Lake, Texas came to watch their daughter Brenda compete for Elite CrossFit in San Antonio. While that was understandably thrilling, they were caught up in the event as a whole. Bernie, a civil engineer who is retired from the Air Force, enjoyed the atmosphere and spirit of the Games. “This has been a great example of discipline, sportsmanship, caring for one another and cheering for the underdogs," he says. "It’s not 'all about me,' it’s all about the sport.”
Joan agrees. “It has been so inspiring to watch these athletes," she says.
“We came as a group of four up from Denton, Texas to cheer on our friend Matt Brisebois,” says Zach Schweitzer, a student at the University of North Texas. “The best thing so far has been watching Paul Smith. He just destroyed [Event 3]. It was awesome.”
Schweitzer hasn’t seen previous competitions and he has been very impressed.
Dennis Carpenter, seated nearby, was here to watch her nephew Cody Spell from Sulphur, La. “I’ve just been so amazed seeing how well these athletes do everything . . . their skill, their strength . . . they are definitely dedicated.”
Carpenter's wife says she's never tried CrossFit, but would, "If there was CrossFit for my age group." When told that anyone of any age can do CrossFit, she perked up. "Oh, wow. That gives me something to think about."
The Carpenters live in San Antonio and say the Freeman Coliseum has been a great venue for the event.
The kids weren't left out of the activities at Freeman Coliseum. Parents with little kids, spectators and competitors alike, overwhelmingly appreciated the bouncy house and the coloring table. Stephanie Arram commented that the bouncy house was definitely full of future champions.
Becky Eng came to the Regional with her friend, Angie Devescovi from Houston. Eng says she likes having the Regional at the Coliseum this year. “Last year there were rows of people standing around," she said. "It was hard to see and it was hot and miserable. July in Texas is bad."
Devescovi finds it very exciting to be here and watch, “without having to really to be in it.”
Curtis Dubke of Fort Worth, Texas gave a big thumbs up for the indoor arena. He was at the 2011 South Central Regional as well, and added that it had been hard to see there, because the sun would be in the spectators' eyes.
One thing is for sure, the fans polled overwhelmingly felt that this has been an exciting time for CrossFit in the South Central Region. Fans are looking forward to watching the CrossFit Games in Los Angeles on ESPN. Most are excited about next year as well, regardless of where the event is held.
"I'll be back next year, no matter what,” Eng says.