There are a lot of things to be grateful for in this world. Family. Friends. Health. Shelter. An amazing CFK community. As the 2014 CrossFit Games approaches I’m reminded of yet another reason to be super grateful…I get to go to the CrossFit Games.
This year’s Games will be my 7th. In fact, I’ve been to every CrossFit Games since 2008. The only one I’ve missed was the inaugural event way back in 2007, and that’s only because we hadn’t yet discovered CrossFit. In those days (2007-2009) the Games took place in Aromas, CA, a small town located about an hour south of San Francisco. Back then there weren’t any stars; Jason Khalipa was a nobody and Rich Froning wasn’t even on the scene yet. It was a LONG six hour drive, and all for a venue not quite worthy of the trip (picture a lot of dirt and zero shade). Still, we went anyway.
In 2010 our prayers were answered. It was announced that the CrossFit Games were moving to Carson, Ca. Not only was the venue closer but, my goodness, the comfort! The stadium lighting, the individual seats, the big screens, the uniforms, and the shade! CrossFit had finally made it, and we were there to witness it all. We were a part of history.
Given how much CrossFit has grown since those humble days, and where it looks like the sport is headed in the future, all of this is to say that I am truly counting my blessings to have the CrossFit Games in such close proximity to me. A 6 hour drive and 50 minute drive play in comparison to what others have to go through to make it to Carson. Think about eager athletes and spectators from Australia, South America, Europe, Asia, and every other place in the world where the only way to get to So. Cal. is an $1000+ plane ticket (on top of the ever-increasing Games ticket prices). Don’t forget about hotel accommodations. Living in Southern California affords us the opportunity to take part in the pinnacle of our sport/hobby. It’s like having Los Angeles awarded the Super Bowl year after year. Even bigger, it’s like the United States hosting the Olympic Games AND the FIFA World Cup…every single time. You’d go to those if you could, wouldn’t you?
Who knows where the Games will be in the future. At the current rate of CrossFit growth (10,000 affiliates now worldwide) it isn’t hard to imagine the Games moving to a bigger venue in an even bigger city. New York City? London? What if it were to become a traveling event year to year? The possibilities are endless, which makes our current opportunity that much more precious. It seems to me that, this year, more people than ever are trying to get rid of their tickets. I completely understand the relevance of financial issues and the convenience of the ever-improving television coverage, but, believe me when I say, nothing compares to seeing the best in person. This is especially true of CrossFit events. It’s difficult to get the entire story during a WOD from a television screen. If the screen is focused on only a couple of athletes at a time then it’s simply impossible to get an accurate representation of how things are playing out. The opposite is true of, say, baseball or basketball. You get to see more on screen.
For me, the location of the event and the relative ease of getting tickets is more than enough to convince me to go, but let’s not forget about the plethora of storylines making up the 2014 comp. Rich Froning is going for a fourth consecutive title in, what he claims to be, his last year as an individual competitor. To put Froning’s accomplishments into perspective, he is the Michael Jordan of our sport. Wouldn’t kill to go back in time to see Jordan play in person? The legendary Chris Spealler is also calling it quits after 2014. He’s competed in every CrossFit Games since 2007, with the exception of 2013. Few athletes mean more to the fans than “Speal”. These stories are only the tip of the iceberg though. Others include:
- 2x Games champ Annie Thorisdottir coming back from injury to try and reclaim her title
- Newcomer, and local So Cal girl, Lauren Fisher making her long-awaited debut
- Jason Khalipa looking to dethrone Froning for his first title since 2008
- The absence of past Games champions and perennial top 10 finishers: Sam Briggs, Lindsay Valenzuela, Austin Malleolo, Marcus Hendren, Graham Holmberg, etc.
- The newcomers taking their places!
- The official introduction of the StubHub soccer stadium as the main event location (this means easy views and lots of shade!)
Last, but certainly not least, is the incredible motivation you’ll gain by going. If you thought Regionals lit a fire beneath you, think again. The Games brings the fittest, most determined, and hardworking athletes, and spectators, together from around the world. Meet people from Australia, Africa, and Europe, and bond over the misery that is Fran and Murph. Monday, July 28th (the day after the Games are over) will feel like the first day of the rest of your life. Still having trouble getting your diet dialed in? You won’t after the Games.
The truth is that CrossFit is still in its infancy. It’s why the venue is still so intimate and why tickets are still relatively easy to come by (you can still buy silver tickets if interested). Go to the Games while you still have the chance. Be a part of history. Be able to look back on these days and say that you witnessed the OG CrossFitters make the sport what it is today. I’m going to the CrossFit Games. Are you?