As I was driving home last night after getting beat in the last workout of the weekend which cost me a trip to the Games, many things were going through my head. This was something that I worked for over the last 10 months, never once missing a workout and never once deviating from the many other things that were necessary to have a chance (nutrition, sleep, stretching, mobility etc. etc.) at the possibility of standing on the podium Sunday night with a ticket to the home depot center in my hands. After having that dream quickly replaced with the reality of finishing in 4th, one spot out, it was a tough pill to swallow to say the least. As I rode in silence for the first part of the trip back to Charlotte, I decided that there were a few different ways I could handle this situation. As I thought about it, this could be applied to any major letdown in someone's life. For me, the ultimate let down would be exactly what happened this weekend, for someone else it could mean a promotion that they didn't get or job they didn't get or a school they weren't accepted into or one of numerous other disappointments. I decided that instead of letting this eat at me forever, I would make a list of things that I learned from the weekend. I am a believer that things happen for a reason and that it is vital to learn from these failures so that you can get better.
So here is what I came up with….
1. CFV IS A SPECIAL PLACE
*I watched in amazement as I saw familiar faces pour into the complex in Maryland, all making the 6+ hour drive in order to support those that were competing. I am not sure if they understand how amazing it was to be able to look out in the crowd and see their faces and at times, hear their volces. It was also awesome to get all the facebook updates of those that were following and supporting us from back home. At the end of the day, win, lose or draw, I am very glad I got to come home to Vitality. No matter how disappointed I am with the way things turned out, it was incredibly comforting knowing that I couldn't wait to get back to Vitality and get back in the swing of things. The team as well as Crowder and I can't thank you guys enough for all the support over the time leading up to Regionals as well as during the event. Thanks!
2. CROSSFIT ISN'T GOING ANYWHERE
*For those of you who weren't able to make it up to Regionals, it was an amazing atmosphere. I have never seen so much energy in one building before. It didn't matter if you were in 1st place or last place, the crowd's support for the competitors was unwavering. As CrossFit continues to grow, so does the support it recieves and the following it enlists. People are willing to drive 6-8 hours to support their box and be a part of the experience, very rarely do you see that type of support for professional sports, let alone fitness competitions.
3. THE REEBOK PARTNERSHIP IS A GOOD THING
*I have heard people talking since the beginning of the partnership with Reebok about all the pitfalls that could result. I am here to tell you that I am a believer in this partnership and feel that this is something that will help both sides thrive. I talked with Don Hasselback for a little while this past weekend and other than being an awesome guy, he totally gets CrossFit and understands the draw. He not only understands it, he eats and breathes it, it has changed his life and his outlook on what he is capable of doing in his 60s. Reebok has no desire to put controls/restrictions in place that will hinder affiliates ability to be successful. They bring to the table the knowledge of how to organize and pull off amazing events like the Regionals and The Games. I have never been one to worry too much about things that were out of my control and to just kind of roll with it, so when the partnership was announced, I did my best to support it and get involved as much as possible so that I could better understand it. After talking with Don, I am very confident that CrossFit is, and will continue, to move in the right direction.
4. I REALLY HATE LOSING
*As the longest 17 minutes of my life ended Sunday night with the sound of the horn signaling the end of the final workout, the first thing I thought was “I can't believe I just lost…”. For the previous 4 hours, I had played over every scenario in my head of how the last event could play out. Funny enough, each one of those scenarios had me coming out on top…As I sat, catching my breath, I kept thinking that no matter how many times I lose, it really doesn't get any easier nor do I enjoy it anymore than the previous time. As I mentioned earlier, I do believe that things happen for a reason but I have a feeling I am going to have to REALLY look hard to understand the reason by coming so close only to fall short. One thing I won't do is let this define who I am or make me question my ability. There is a difference between a few days of grieving and being a baby about losing. I will not for a second make you think that I will easily forget the sting of this, but I will work to get over it and in a few days, I will move on and tackle the next challenge I choose with 100% of my effort and discipline.
5. I REALLY HATE BEARDS
*The beard idea was novel and a part of me was glad I tried something different, but for the remaining 90% of the time with it, I really hated it. It was scratchy, looked dirty, and only added 5# to my snatch when it was supposedly going to add 10#. I will not try that again. About my 10th thought after losing was, “At least I get to shave this stupid beard tonite”.
6. WHEN IN DOUBT…BE HUMBLE
*Many people have asked what the best part of my weekend was. For me, that is a pretty easy question….the other competitors is the answer. From getting to the facility on Friday and seeing some familiar faces that I hadn't seen since last years regional, it was great to catch up with some of the guys. There wasn't any chest pounding about who had done what over the past year and what accomplishments they have had, it was more of how was their box doing, their family, were they healthy, that type of thing. Before workouts, I often found myself going over the flow of the workout with some of the other athletes and sharing some thoughts on how we thought it would play out. Many times, we shared some mobility exercises to help each other loosen up some joints or tight backs or other minor tweaks that we had going on. I have never and most likely will never see this type of sportsmanship and humility anywhere outside of CrossFit. In a world where trash talking has become the norm, CrossFit is a breath of fresh air. After the 1st day, I was in a pretty big hole with my “Diane” performance. The 2nd workout was the start of my comeback and it was amazing how many competitors would come by and tell me to stay focused and that things were going to start going well for me. As the workouts continued, I managed to execute pretty well and put myself in a position to have a chance to go to the games with a solid performance going into the final workout. Brian Quinlan from CrossFit Explode, was the only person standing between me and a trip to the CrossFit Games. We had a conversation a few hours before the final event and talked about how pumped we were for each other, knowing that one of us would make it to the Games. I said it then, and I still mean it, I am proud of Brian and I am excited to see him perform at the Games. He beat me and earned a trip to the games. As hard as that experience was for me, it was easier to handle knowing the type of person Brian is and the respect I have for him. It would have been equally hard for him if the tables were reversed but he would feel the same way. This is how sports SHOULD be designed and unfortunately, we couldn't be further from this today in our society. The good news….I saw a ton of kids watching the competition and they get to experience and grow up around CrossFit and being shown the right way you are supposed to compete. It isn't about how big your bark is, it's about respect. I am sure Brian had a million emotions going through his head when the horn sounded and he knew he had just punched his ticket to the Games, but the first thing he did was come over to me, pick me up off the ground and give me a big ass bear hug and told me how much he respected me. I don't care if I don't see Brian for 20 years, if he called me up and asked me for a favor, I would drop everything and do what I could for him. That is what competition is all about, it is about being humble and having respect.
7. MY FAMILY GOT BIGGER
*I realized again how lucky I am to have a wife and daughter(who doesn’t have much a choice yet, but anyway…) who support me through all my crazy goals with their support that never wavers. Jess knows exactly what to say and when to say it, which makes things so much easier.
One thing that was amazing for me was the amount of support that I received through emails, texts, and even a video message from ParkerJ, not too mention that the Rohats’ gave me the most amazing cupcake in the world this morning. Losing will never come natural or easy to me but Vitality has helped me keep things in perspective and I am so fortunate to be a part of this awesome place. Thanks for everything and I have never been so proud that I get to call CF Vitality my HOME!