After the Open: The 31st Team
It's official. CrossFit Amplify has missed advancing to the North Central regional in the CrossFit Games by one spot.
Top 30 teams move on from the CrossFit Open. We are 31st.
The CrossFit Open brings 5 weeks of physical tests and mental challenges, and came to a close this year with a grueling and fast-paced take on the classic "Fran." It also came to a close with disappointment, in a way, because we have worked so hard and have missed out by so little to represent our gym in regional competition.
This week I personally attempted the final workout, 13.5, two times. And I hate to repeat Open WODs. Both times I expected to move past the first 4 minutes of work to gain the "bonus round," achieving time for more repetitions and contributing to the total team score. Many of our other members expected the same. Falling short of a score of 90 by just three reps (and in the case of others, just two reps or even one measly pull-up) meant no chance of additional work. No chance of a better score. And now no chance of bringing a team to Navy Pier in Chicago for the regional fun.
I stressed over this workout more than previous weeks this Open, and felt like I let the team down after Friday night's WOD. "It was in my wheelhouse... I should have done better than that," I thought. I'm sure I'm not alone in this-- others probably felt the same way. I was legitimately dejected, but knew I had another chance. I knew we had more chances. Redos are part of the Open, especially for the teams. But as it were, the scores didn't fall where we wanted them to. Oh, don't get me wrong-- the efforts were there this weekend. In most cases we writhed on the floor in complete oxygen debt, left only with the agony of mental defeat and the taste of "Fran" coughing up from our lungs. Still with a chance, we were reluctantly glued to our computer screens with hope while time ticked down on the 7pm cut-off on Sunday. After all was said and done, scores filtered in and validated what we feared: we were 31st.
As I Fran-coughed all night and had the time to think more and more about things this week, I realized I really didn't have one more rep in me. At least not this time, at this point in my life and fitness journey. I poured as much into this week's test as I could. We all did. And we have to be okay with that. It's the same thing we all have to accept sooner or later-- failure. At some point, something is going to beat you. It's been said before: Failure is an important part of CrossFit.
We did what we could, and came out one spot short. So it is.
There is a 31st team in every region. A 49th individual too, just missing out. There will be a fourth place finisher in each region that doesn't qualify for the Games. As long as competition exists, there is a "one-spot-out," a "just-missed-it," an "on-the-bubble" everywhere, in everything.
In these 5 weeks, and in a year since the last CrossFit Open, we've developed that much more camaraderie and unity at Amplify. Things you can't see in writing. We have proven that this community of people that have a common goal can come together and have fun doing things we never thought possible. Many of our new members succeed weekly with feats to mark off their CrossFit checklist. Many of our experienced push themselves to a point of exertion that borders masochism. That struggle and suffering bonds us, no matter where we fall in our team ranks.
We have taken a fitness regimen and had some competitive fun with it-- taking the already time-intensive CrossFit workouts and placing our fitness against others across the area and across the globe. We're 389th in the world, after all. Not a very impressive number, maybe, but there were almost 3000 teams registered this year and 138,000 individuals.
When it comes down to it, I am ultimately reminded of something important by my wife (might I add, my smart and beautiful and understanding and compassionate wife...). As I sat and worried about team scores and watched as we were bumped spot by spot out of future competition this season, she said something that rings true. Something she didn't know I picked up on.
"CrossFit isn't just about the competition," she said.
And it's not.
I am more than proud to call all the CrossFit Amplify members our "team." No matter what week or time of year. But more than that is the reality we see day in and day out...
Each and every person here, in the gym, putting work in by sweating and struggling to better themselves is not measurable in a score of repetitions.
Well done, number 31. Cheers to us. Now back to work we go.
- Scott, 4.8.13
EDIT: The Qualifying Team!
Well, well, well. So that happened.
In a turn of events where advancing teams opted out of Regional competition because of one reason or another, CrossFit Amplify was in fact asked to compete in the 2013 North Central Regional.
Humbly accepting the invitation for advancement and putting our top 6 athletes in contention for the weekend, Amplify was going to Navy Pier excited and honored to be competing with the region's best. Kristin M. was already an individual qualifier, so that put Cynthia G., Michaela O., and Kayte K. as our female representatives. Our men included Erik M., Sean O., and Joey T.
Prepping for the posted team workouts, the group did their best on short notice to specifically ready themselves for Day 1: Team "Jackie" and then the dreaded Muscle-up/Overhead Squat workout.
To state the obvious, the muscle-up is a tough exercise. Our women went in with a combined lifetime total you could count on one hand. But nonetheless, we took the competition stage early Friday morning, May 31, with nervous energy and a chance to prove our worth.
Right off the bat, Cynthia and Sean put forth a 25th place effort in "Jackie" and the team set their sights on the Everest facing them: advancing to Day 2 through Events 2 & 3-- the Overhead Squats and Muscle-ups.
Heading into the Overhead Squats, the ladies threw up great numbers on the barbell as the men went to work on their muscle-ups. Completing a huge number of 48 muscle-ups in 7 minutes, the 3 guys switched off and went to work on the OHS. Joey and Erik put forth #235 efforts and Sean hit a massive #255.
The Amp women set solid squats and rested their shoulders to switch positions to the rings. The time had come.
Cynthia set up to take the rings first, in an effort to get 3 MU's and advance the team with the minimum rep count for the event.
To the roars of the Amplify Nation of spectators, her first attempt was successful.
Hearts broke as seconds later we all learned her heels had passed higher than the rings, which was against the rules for the event, and thus a "no rep." With nerves unbroken, she took the rings again and gave her all-- she managed one full rep in the time allowed, while the crowd fought and struggled with every attempt and every miss. We were there together, after all-- competing or not-- and it was a team effort.
Hugs and high fives all around, the team put forth their best effort for the weekend and we knew it. On the North Central leaderboard for 2013, Team Amplify has a "DNF." Did not finish. But in the eyes of this growing community... of everyone from our brand new Elements classes to Amp's veteran CrossFitters... we were there. We proudly competed. And with the gained experience and continued mash-up of fun and hard work in the gym, we plan to make waves in the future.
After the team events, Kristin M. went to work as an individual, making the Amplify community proud as she battled through 3 days of tough workouts and great competition to come in 14th overall in the North Central Region. Consistency and a well-rounded repertoire of bodyweight movements, skill work, and heavy lifting propelled her to that spot. And she deserved it. Her strength of will and experience with competition perhaps shined best as her highest finish of the weekend came with the last event-- she raised eyebrows and finished 8th, ahead of some previous Regional and Games competitors. Smiling from ear to ear.
Thanks to all who came and supported or cheered on from home. In whatever capacity, it meant a lot, so thank you. Here's looking ahead to 2014.