Photo courtesy of CrossFit, Inc.
So I was on the demo team.
People, athletes especially, need to stop thinking that the demo team is only for a bunch of back benchers who just aren’t good enough. I don’t think I’d consider athletes like Graham Holmberg, Neal Maddox, Cassidy Mcwherter, Christy Adkins, Matt Chan, Jennifer Smith, or Austin Malleolo back benchers.
I bet you didn’t know that demo team athletes have a combined 56 individual Games appearances. Neither did I until I joined. But first we need to rewind back to the end of May at the West Regionals in Del Mar, CA.
It was literally Monday, the day after I failed to qualify for my second CrossFit Games that I got an email from Dave Castro asking if I wanted to come test some of the Games workouts.
I was local to the area, only about an hour and twenty minute drive, and it seemed like a good opportunity to continue my training for the tests that I’d face next year. So I said “let’s do it”, and a week later I headed down to his secret facility to train.
I can’t share a lot about the specifics — for obvious reason — but let me tell you that working with Dave has completely altered my perception of the CrossFit Games.
There’s this common belief that through the stages of competition — from the Open, into Regionals, then onto the Games — that the weights get heavier. In some respects that’s definitely true, but it’s generally passed off as an absolute truth. That concept has been completely squashed.
Some of you may not have noticed but there were two events programmed with 85 pound/55 pound barbells at the Games. At the CrossFit Games. This is 2018, and athletes are lifting 85 pound barbells.
And let me tell you testing that workout hurt, bad. And I can’t remember the last time I did a WOD with a barbell that light.
The thing you have to understand about Dave is that nothing is off the table for him. He obsesses over every rep, literally. I can’t tell you how many times we went over a workout again and again, with only slight variations or weight changes — sometimes I’d just do one section so he could see if the stimulus was achieved.
I don’t need to go to the Games two, three or four times to feel accomplished because I’m not just a CrossFit Games athlete. I do it for me, my health, how it makes me feel and my love for pushing my body to achieve new things. And that’s where the true heart of it lies — in the box, you versus you, getting better and improving every day.
That’s what’s really cool about Dave. He can just run these events through his mind, know what’s going to happen and see how they’re going to unfold.
After having gone through months training with Dave, I don’t think he just picks the losers. He’s looking for the Fittest athletes who can adequately test these ideas and events to make sure they’re adequate, and I think that’s exactly what we did.
So what’s it like?
Busy is an understatement.
As a team, we demoed every individual, team and age group workout except for the marathon row. By the final day, I was walking around pretty sore.
But busy is also good.
Running from one venue to demo an age group workout, to another for a team event keeps your mind away from that thought nagging in the back of my mind: ‘that could have been me.’ And we all thought about it one time or another. How can you not? We’re competitors and the drive to compete and win doesn’t just end once competition is over.
I remember the whole team sitting down for a meal together. We’re rehashing events from Regionals like it was yesterday; what we’d have done differently or how we’d have trained differently that year. It was this cool moment being with seven other tough competitors who’d given every ounce but came up a little short. It also a little was therapeutic too.
And that’s another thing I learned — to savor the moment; you might never get another one again.
Do I want to be on the demo team next year? Hell no. I want back out on that field, but this was the next best thing by far.
As an athlete, we’re training for the uncertainty and the unknown. With all the changes going on, 2017 might be my only year at the CrossFit Games. It’s really hard to say.
But I’ll still feel accomplished even if the last thing I do at the CrossFit Games is be on the demo team.
And that’s the last lesson. I don’t need to go to the Games two, three or four times to feel accomplished because I’m not just a CrossFit Games athlete. It doesn’t define who I am or why I show up every day to train my butt off. I do it for me, my health, how it makes me feel and my love for pushing my body to achieve new things. And that’s where the true heart of it lies — in the box, you versus you, getting better and improving every day.
Continue doing that, putting in one hundred percent effort and you’ll always be satisfied.
See ya out there.