May 15, 2012
Worst Of The Best
By O'Brien McMahon

"It's not the competition. It's the camaraderie."


On Sunday, March 25th the entire gym – CrossFit Construct – held our breath as we checked the Open team standings; again and again and again. We started the day in 24th, slipped to 27th, to 29th, then to 30th. We were solid in 30th for some time. We winced every time we checked hoping to hang on to that last Regionals spot … and we did.

All the hard work paid off. It was only a matter of deciding who from the team would compete. I finished 4th in the gym which I figured would at least make me an alternate. With our top guy qualifying as an individual I got bumped to 3rd. After watching Regionals last year from the bleachers with only six months of solo CrossFit experience, I was actually going to be the man in the arena competing against some of the fittest in the world.

And that's when it hit me … the doubt, the panic. Am I good enough? Am I cut out for competition? What if I embarrass myself? What if I let my team down? I had been working so hard and had made so much progress but suddenly I found myself terrified of putting it to the test. To be honest, I thought about giving up my spot altogether. 

What business did I have at Regionals? I was the last spot on the last team in. But it was that same thought that gave me strength. I'm the last guy on the last team in. That means if I outperform just one person I've improved. If our team moves up just one spot we've advanced. And if I fall flat? I'm no worse off than I am today. And at least I've given my all and I've tried.  


Holy shit. "The Open was for the 99 percent. The Regionals are designed for the 1 percent.” You're goddamn right they are. I must have gone back to my computer seven times in the first 30 minutes the workouts were posted. ‘Who has ever done a partner deadlift?’ I thought.

As the panic wore off I started to break down the workouts. Two days prior I had done a high rep deadlift workout with 225 pounds and I've been working on handstand push-ups for a while now. I've been working on pistols recently and my cleans are getting heavier. One-arm dumbbell snatches? Those might need work but hopefully I can rely on my teammates for that one. Pull-ups and squats; check.

These workouts aren't as terrifying as they first appeared. Like most seemingly impossible tasks, they become achievable when broken down into smaller pieces. Put in hard work on the pieces and you can build a pretty incredible whole. For sure, they will require an incredible amount of mental and physical prep and effort. That's what I signed up for.


This is why I fell in love with CrossFit. It's not the competition. It's the camaraderie. It's a group of people coming together to better themselves and each other no matter the obstacles.

Our team was not particularly close prior to the competition. We have some teammates who had never met each other. As we work toward the competition we have come together easily. We share emails with tips, strategy, equipment recommendations and even our insecurities. Our two individual competitors have Regionals and Games experience and have been incredibly generous with their time and advice.

Throughout the week we help each other strengthen our weaknesses, and on the weekend we come together to prep, practice and support each other. Everyone is driven to improve as much as possible. We have all uncovered new abilities (like unbroken pistols) and some glaring holes … 225-poumd hang cleans anyone?

The amazing thing is, as our training progresses my confidence builds. I can see it in the rest of my teammates too. My comfort zone is stretched, but it’s starting to expand. I have no doubt the competition will be filled with nerves and adrenaline. I'm just enjoying them being nerves of excitement.

North Central, here we come!