CrossFit Games

Survival Of The Fittest: The Sanctionals Workforce Dilemma

March 20, 2020 by
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The Rogue Invitational’s announcement that it will be postponing the event roughly a month, to June 13-14, was just the latest in a wave of Sanctionals pushing their plans into June and July. The weekend that the Rogue Invitational has moved to is also occupied by fellow midwest event the Granite Games, making it the third weekend to now feature multiple Sanctionals as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the big issues that no one is talking about publicly yet is the workforce dilemma created now by stacking so many events in such a short time period. Rescheduling events in such a short time period with new dates that conflict with other events originally months apart puts judges, other volunteers, and athletes at a crossroads. The schedule right now from the middle of June going forward looks like this:

  • June 12-14: The Granite Games, Rogue Invitational (two days only).
  • June 20-21: Asbury Park Summer Games.
  • June 26-28: The CrossFit French Throwdown, Reykjavik CrossFit Championship, Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge.
  • July 3-5: Mayan CrossFit Classic, Asia CrossFit Championships, Down Under CrossFit Championship
  • July 18-19: CrossFit German Throwdown

That’s 10 total events within 38 days, and perhaps more importantly, they’re less than six weeks out from the CrossFit Games. That’s still not factoring in the West Coast Classic, CrossFit Atlas Games, and Italian Showdown, which still have yet to declare a new date for their postponed events. It’s likely that come April there will be at least a dozen events slotted into that same timeframe.

The problem: There are only so many resources to go around as far as manpower is concerned, these events run on the backs of hundreds of volunteers and athletes willing to make a commitment to that event for everything to fall into place. Events stacked on top of each other force judges and other personnel to make a difficult decision.

  • “A lot of us who have gotten into Rogue, are also now leadership for Granite Games,” lamented Thuy Le, a veteran judge at both the CrossFit Games and Sanctionals, “so how does this work out, what are you going to do, what are you going to choose?”

Finances are probably the biggest factor, mainly the cost of travel and accommodations based on proximity, and the fact that many of the volunteers are taking time off from their regular to jobs, and sudden changes can prove costly

  • Le: “the general public doesn’t realize that the judges, medical, most of the crew are volunteers, so we’re paying out of pocket to come work these events and make them happen for the community. With multiple events back to back most people can’t afford that to come volunteer.”
  • It’s also worth considering that the demand for judges is higher for Sanctionals than in years past when Regionals were stacked together. Sanctionals run significantly more divisions in most cases, and the number of athletes competing were often double or triple that of Sanctionals.

On the media side, by condensing the schedule, it limits the number of events paid media professionals can work due to overlap. Fewer gigs equal less money. Less money equals less coverage, and by stacking events the number of quality media outlets at a given event will be limited providing less exposure.

What this means: Events are going to have to dig deep into their benches for judges, and volunteers to replace the ones that can no longer work their event due to the schedule changes. The logistics alone are a significant obstacle but in the case of judging it also means that a less experienced crew might be on the competition floor. There’s also a dilemma the athletes face as well now that their schedule for competing has shrunk.

All of this points towards an uphill battle that the events will be facing to put forth a quality product and make sure things still move forward with a resemblance of what they had originally planned prior to the pandemic fiasco. The job will get done, but how is still a big question.

If you’re a judge, medical staff, equipment volunteer, or any other member of the community that’s willing to lend a hand, reach out and see if a Sanctional near you could use some extra hands. It certainly doesn’t hurt to try to help.

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