August 5, 2018
Overheard in the Crowd
By Andréa Maria Cecil
Shit fans and coaches say.
Shit fans and coaches say.

Bouncing on the black barricade, he continued yelling commands until the athlete started for the finish line.

“Run! Run, you motherfucker!”

His voice faded as he turned his head to the crowd behind him and gave a bashful smile. Then he stepped off the barricade.

At the CrossFit Games, spectators can be just as intense as competitors.
 

Crowd 1


Amid the cacophony surrounding the field of play, it’s optimistic at best for any single person to assume his or her instructions are being heard, much less heeded. But that doesn’t stop anyone. Actions aren’t driven by reason, just raw emotion. Speech is often accompanied by fist pumping, foot stomping, bouncing, whistling, clenched teeth, and followed by strained vocal chords and lost voices.

Behind the barricades, the full array of directives begins to form themes.

Non-Specific Motivation

“All right, mom!”

“Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Goooooo!”

“OK! OK!”

“Move it!”

“Finish it!”
 

Crowd 2

Pointed Instruction

“Use your butt!”

“Pick it up one time!”

“Over! Up! Go!”

“Touch and go!”

“Breathe. Breathe. Relax.”

“You’re half done!”

“Run!”

Positive Reinforcement

“You look great!”

“You got the energy!”

“Doin’ awesome!”

“Be strong!”
 

Crowd 3

Stating the Obvious

“I know it’s hard, but you gotta suck it up!”

“One more!”

“It’s only three!”

“You gotta go!”

“One by one!”

“Come on, you want to finish!”

Downright Disappointment

“No! What are ya doin’?!”

“Aw, she put ‘em down.”
 

Crowd 4

Mystery Communiqués

“Take it backwards!”

“Hit it!”

“It’s all you!”