"There's no bond like the kind that Crossfit women share. Sisters in iron, sweat, pain and glory."
- Ivana, Heraean Games 2012From just 35 competitors in its first year to over 100 in it's second, The Heraean Games is quickly turning into something bigger than I could have imagined... and this is only the beginning. Here are my top 6 favorite moments from our 2nd Annual Heraean Games, a Women's CrossFit competition...
1. The Athletes. YOU made this event what it was. We can set up the barbells, start the clock, and score the WODs but it is ultimately the athletes who bring the energy and the fire to the event. You give each other and everyone watching something to get excited about and we become invested in your struggles and triumphs. You inspire and you lead through your courage to compete and your determination to succeed.
2. The Wall. "That's for a women's event??" That's the question that Mike from Maverick Athletic Co. kept getting as he was building our 8ft walls. The surprise wall honored the "unknown and unknowable" aspect of Crossfit. We wanted our competitors to be forced to face a challenge that was not in their repertoire of trained movements.
Some women made it over, others did not. No matter what though, no one quit trying and the crowd was cheering with such intensity that it actually brought spectators to tears. The loudest cheering came at the moments where women who had repeatedly failed finally made it over... the moment of defeat was so close you could taste it. And then, in one final heroic attempt something would click and the nearly defeated athlete would prevail. I saw it over and over again and each time it gave me chills. I sent a video of this to my brother and he summed it up perfectly: "I have never become so emotionally invested in something so quickly!"
3. Kirstyn and Haley. Even if you combine the ages of these two young ladies they would still be younger than most of our competitors. Kirstyn and Haley are both 12. We didn't have a kids' division so both girls registered as Aphrodite/Scaled and competed with women at least twice their age.
This was Haley's first competition and she has been doing CrossFit Kids at CrossFit Affliction for only 5 months. Kirstyn is from BGI CrossFit and about a month before the competition her dad told me her deadlift max was 135. The first WOD included 20 reps of a 135 deadlift. Kirstyn got through all 20.
4. The Community. There is absolutely nothing like the CrossFit community. Planning an event is a lot of work but it is possible because of all of the support we have from athletes, coaches, judges, sponsors, volunteers, friends, and family. It is not only possible but it is completely worth it.
5. The "Incident". During WOD 3 I noticed that much of the crowd had migrated to east end of the event and was looking out to a white car sitting in the middle of State Rd 7. Spectators heard the stopped car honking and then saw that the driver, a woman, was being beaten by a man in the passenger seat. Several event spectators ran out to the car and the guy immediately bolted down the busy road... too bad he was being chased down by some of the fittest people he would ever have the misfortune of encountering. Our CrossFit heroes caught him (no surprise there) and the police arrived at the scene. We couldn't get over the irony of a woman being physically assaulted right in front of a female CrossFit event that, at its core, is all about empowering women. I don't know what was going on between that man and that woman but I do know that seeing that scene go down made me think about women as victims.... more specifically, about how I never want to be one. This event and my training is not about looking good in a skirt, it is about having the strength to take care of myself or to at least make someone think twice before trying to make me a victim. There won't always be a crowd of 300 CrossFitters hanging around to run to the rescue.
6. The Reactions. Below are a few quotes gathered from Facebook and emails from some of the ladies that competed. It means the world to me that this event meant so much to them. There was such a diverse group of women at the event. Each woman brought something special to the competition and had her own unique experience. That is the amazing thing about competition and the reason I think everyone should get involved... for all of your hard work, you will get more than you ever imagined in return.
The Mom: "I am PROUD to be a CrossFitter-not because I drank the so called "kool-aid", but because I am doing something for me and my family! I am a woman and I AM strong...that is what the Heraean Games taught me today." - Lici
The Up and Comer: "Today was SOOO hard, but SOO worth it!! I really surprised myself." - Sara
Girl Power: "Makes me proud to be a FEMALE CrossFitter!! Congrats to ALL the athletes!! Everybody truly wins!!!" - Kristi
The First Timer: "It was a blast wodding with such strong determined women! It was my first and I can't wait to sign up for my next one!!!" -Nikki
CrossFit Hopeful: "Seeing and Realizing the "Seemingly" Impossible is TOTALLY POSSIBLE! I'm Inspired and I'm joining!" - Tonya
Congratulations Amazons, Athenas, Aphrodites, and Spartans! You should be so proud not only of what you accomplished today, but of the fact that you were brave enough to face the challenge in the first place. Strength is about more than lifting heavy weight, it is about having the courage and the heart to confront something that seems bigger than you. You are more than athletes, you are WARRIORS. Congratulations! (Event results here.)