Battle of the Bands, a review.

You can view your scores from the Battle of the Bands here.  Congratulations to the winners in all categories!

The Rx’d Men: 

1st place -Paul Landefeld of CFCC, 26 points

2nd place – Bill Lehman, of CrossFit 1Force, 27 points – apologies!  His number was misplaced on our written charts!

3rd place – John Bova, of CFCC, 28 points

The Rx’d Women:

1st place – Emily Record (by sudden death tie-breaker), of CFCC, 9 points.

2nd place – Anna Luber of CFCC, 9 points.

3rd place – Cassie Haynes Grassia, of CFCC, with 11 points.

In the average band category: Sarah Stahl of CFCC

In the light band category: Amanda Strouse of CFCC

In the mini band category: Larissa Woskob of CFCC

You know it was a good competition when there's a sudden death tie-breaker to end it all.

THE BEGINNING: 

At every competition there is always the hum of the beginning.  The lights in the gym are on, the bathrooms are stocked, and the entire box smells like potential.  Sipping my coffee and glancing around this morning, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my first competition.  I too was nervous, foam rolling with headphones on, bumping into familiar faces and sharing athletic tape and fears with some not-so-familiar faces.  This is the stuff of CrossFit competition – the calm before the storm, the greeting of your fellow competitors, the acknowledgement of a day that will both humble and honor all the work you do on a regular basis.

THE FIRST EVENT: the Prowler Push.

Much like any of the Olympic Lifts, 5 seconds for a Prowler Push seems like it should be very simple when done well but can definitely be more complicated than it sounds; you have to know when to apply momentum and direct force evenly at the right times and at the right angles. Additionally, you have to know when to stop! In short, it’s a good test of raw power, and we got just that!  Angie Marfisi crushed the push, driving farther than anyone else in the day – past our marked barriers.  On the manly end, Jack Herrmann went the distance with ease and other men, with lesser deadlifts, gritted their teeth and made the distance happen – collapsing onto the floor from a 5 second effort.

THE SECOND EVENT: the Handstand Hold.

Ah, the handstand hold; a tricky test of shoulder girdle strength endurance and, as I’m sure many participants are feeling now, connective tissue strength – that is a LONG time to keep your wrists extended for.  In addition to all this, a hold of any kind is a lot like a plank… the majority of the work you do is mental.  That said, maybe that’s what drove the athletes who placed highest in this event.  The look of the event is like all handstands – worth remembering, photographing, and just plain fun to watch.

It was incredible to watch people who I’m sure had NEVER maxed a handstand hold before pushing beyond the two minute mark (Cathryn Sanderson, Amber Baird, and Liz Wasik of CrossFit Aspire come to mind).  The remaining women of the first heat stacked up well against the heat to follow; Anna Luber, Cassie Haynes Grassia, and Emily Record pushed for 3 minutes with Anna finally resting at 3 minutes.  It was then that I realized that Bill Lehman was STILL holding.  He stayed that way until 335.  I can officially say that in 5 years of coaching handstands, I’ve NEVER seen anyone hold for that long… it’s the stuff of legend. That said, maybe that’s what drove the athletes who placed highest in this event.  The look of the event is like all handstands – worth remembering, photographing, and just plain fun to watch.

THE THIRD EVENT: CrossFit Disco.

CrossFit Disco is really your average CrossFit workout – go anywhere in the CrossFit World and I guarantee you you can’t go a week without pull-ups and box jumps or at least, some kind of ladder format.  For the judges, this event was definitely challenging – kudos to Jen Darley for taking the lead on many issues we hadn’t anticipated.  I’ve had caps extended during workouts, weights changed directly before “go time”, and double unders completed where I might as well have been holding the hand of the person next to me.  The athletes and judges felt the heat of a jostling pull-up bar and dealt with the stricter standards we imposed with humility and virtuosity – everyone got their chins over the bar, and their feet all the way on the box – even when it meant repeating a rep they knew might set them behind.  This kind of respect isn’t everywhere and I always feel lucky to be privy to it – and FASCINATED by how easily most CrossFitters both expect and accept the standard.

For the last heat we invited the top four from the rx’d category to come forward.  This heat was full of the drama that you expect from any good CrossFit competition.  All of the athletes had their own groups of cheerleaders and there were definitely times when I felt like I couldn’t tell who was sweating more – the athletes or their supporters!  In the end, every athlete in every heat had the same look on their faces when the pull-ups got tough, and every person in the room felt the massive relief of the 10 minute mark.

THE END:

With the smell of intensity still in the air (or was that just SWEAT???), a few athletes collect their belongings from the basement, a few high-five others on their way out to a well-deserved brunch, or their next job, or MARGARITAS.  It is the end of a lot achieved within the space of time that most people on the east coast are sleeping.

Every competition teaches me something about what I can do better at the next – and typically, I’ve learned nothing from winning – except that medals are hard to find places to hang.  To those of you that won, well done.  I can say that each one of you deserve your victory – you are consistent, passionate, and most of all – willing.  It’s hard to win on the big day when you don’t try EVERY day.  To those of you that didn’t do as well as you expected – don’t let that sway you.  Competition is not for everyone in the CrossFit world but for me, it’s been the thing that’s given me a reference point, inspiration to work harder, do better, go faster.  And remember, “You can’t test courage cautiously.” (Annie Dillard).  Lastly, I hope you all had fun – that’s what it’s all about!

Until next time,

Erin

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