CrossFit competitions are like no other sporting event in the world.
At most popular events such as an NFL football game, college basketball game or little league baseball game, the majority of the fans are spectators of the sport. At a CrossFit competition, many of the fans understand and participate in the sport themselves.
They may not wear face paint, but they do know and appreciate the intensity of a sub-two Fran time or a clean and jerk ladder.
With just a few days until the Regional competitions kick off, qualified athletes, and the fans who support them, are kicking it into high gear in order to be ready for the big show.
From designing T-shirts to hosting pre-game parties, many CrossFit fans are going all out to support their favorite athletes.
“Everyone is stoked. There are many of us that got to experience last year with them and the utter amazement that our team not only made it to the South East Regionals, but all the way to California in our first attempt,” says Andi Lannom, member of CrossFit Adrenaline.
Team CrossFit Adrenaline currently sits in third place in the South East as they prepare for another run at the Games.
While Lannom is not competing at Regionals, she says she feels like she is part of the experience.
“Owners Lindsay Bourdon and Clifton Bennett have created an environment where everyone is committed to not only reaching their own goals, but supporting the team,” Lannom says. “When I say ‘team,’ I’m talking about the entire box membership. That’s how we think of ourselves — as a team. And we are sending six of our best to Regionals to represent us.”
The CrossFit Adrenaline team — the whole team — has continued to grow stronger over the past two-and-a-half years since the box opened. In fact, 47 athletes competed in this year’s Open, almost four times the 12 athletes who signed up in 2012.
“After the Games last year, our box grew, a lot,” Lannom says. “We have many folks who are experiencing [the Games season] for the first time, and we all think it’s pretty cool to have a coach (Lindsay Bourdon) who is seventh in the world, yet acts like it’s another day at the box.”
CrossFit Adrenaline is supporting their Regional competitors by raising money to help them with traveling expenses from Cartersville, Ga., to West Palm Beach, Fla.
“We have done a couple of extra Oly classes on Saturdays for a fee, providing one-on-one training on lifting skills and gymnastic fundamentals for members,” Lannom says.
Lannom says you won’t be able to miss Adrenaline fans at the event.
“We have T-shirts for us all to wear at Regionals, so CrossFit Adrenaline will be easily spotted in the stands,” she says. “Team athlete Austin Medford also has a trademark of wearing eye black during competitions, so you may see a little of that in the stands on CFA supporters, as well.”
Dominick Maurici of Caution CrossFit finished in fifth place at last year’s South East Regional.
Currently sitting in second place after the Open, Maurici’s gym family says they are going to be there in full uniform to give him extra motivation for a podium spot.
“Now that Dominick has the ‘beard’ thing going on until Regionals, we are making ‘Fear the Beard’ shirts with his image and a #CAUTIONDOM that we will be using all weekend long,” his sister, Francis Maurici, says.
Dominick, 23, is hungry for his chance to go to the Games.
In order to feed that hunger, Francis says the box made a tradition during the Open to hold a weekly dinner gathering. It was a time for their community to come together and celebrate both Dominick and each other’s individual accomplishments and endeavors.
“Every Friday during the Open, we arranged a BBQ after- (workout) party to unite everyone. Everyone would also get into the weekly announcements for the (workouts),” Francis says. “Every Wednesday at 8 p.m., we huddled in front of the computer screen anxiously waiting for the WOD of the week to be released, and then we got even more excited as we watched and cheered on each other.”
She says members love supporting Maurici.
“Our last Regional good luck toast for Coach Dominick will be the weekend before the event with a kickball game for our CrossFit family and friends. We are now ready for Regionals. Shirts have been printed, noisemakers have been purchased and posters are being made,” Francis says.
“The members are the best part of my box. They are also the best supports and fans. If I didn't have to pay rent or buy equipment, I would coach for free all day. I truly enjoy helping and making people better while reaching and achieving goals,” Dominick says.
In their third year making an appearance at the South East Regional, CrossFit Paragon’s members know how to prepare for competition, from hosting pre-Regional kickoff events to working on the front lines.
“This year, I will be the one to tape hands, bring water and encourage,” owner Nate Taylor says.
CrossFit Paragon, which finished second in the South East, is not only sending a team to West Palm Beach, but they are also sending three individuals, including Zach Anderson (fourth in South East), Irving Hernandez (eighth in South East) and Krissi Brown (12th in the South East).
“Everyone is very excited and our members have been extremely supportive. So far we have around 25 confirmed people going [to Regionals], of which 16 are spectators,” Taylor says.
A big role for the members of CrossFit Paragon comes in the form of helping with expenses to Regionals.
Since West Palm Beach is about a nine-hour drive from Chamblee, Ga., the majority of athletes and spectators are flying, and costs add up quickly.
“Between airfare, registration [fees] of over $700 for our athletes, hotel costs, rental cars, gas money and more, it can get expensive, so every little bit helps,” Taylor says. “In the past, we've been able to raise tons of money that have offset the cost of our hotels and money towards one of the dinners at Regionals.”
This year, during Cinco de Mayo weekend, CrossFit Paragon is hosting a fiesta for members to “eat, drink and be merry” while collecting donations for their “Paragonians.” A local pizza place is sponsoring the pies to feed the crew for a weekend splurge meal, and about 25 members plan to attend.
In addition, the box has a donation bucket throughout the week for members to fill until the day the team leaves for Regionals. They are also selling T-shirts for the spectators and box members to wear that will match the same colors as their athletes who are competing.
“Regionals have always been such an enjoyable time to bond with each other, meet new people and have fun,” Taylor says. “We can't wait to experience it again!”