Saturday October 1st Crossfitters from throughout the Midwest gathered at Crossfit Freedom in Libertyville, IL for the Life AsRx Tour-Chicago competition. My first surprise upon arriving was that the entire competition was being held outside. This plan could have been playing with fire weather-wise in October in Chicago, but we ended up with beautiful weather. It was really fun arriving and catching up with folks from Regionals last year, some Games athletes and other CF peeps I don’t see very often. There were a number of things I thought were really exciting and inspiring:
- The athlete competing with a prosthetic leg. I haven’t seen that in a CF competition before, it was awesome;
- Watching the crew from Crossfit 515- they’re legit;
- Competing with some girls in their very first Crossfit competitions;
- Competing side by side with/against my training partner for the coming year. This is gonna be sick!;
- Competing with that really uncomfortable feeling of being way behind your competition. Valuable stuff!
The competition was set up with 3 WODS, followed by a final WOD for the top 10 ten athletes, however at the conclusion of my day I had done 5 workouts. I’ve debated with myself a bit about how much detail to provide about the events of the day and how I ended up doing an extra workout. Overall I walked away with some very valuable lessons about competition, but unfortunately also came away with some bad feelings about the day. Forgive the length here, I tried to be as concise as possible, but I still feel like I’m leaving out a lot of detail.
The issues started with WOD 2, the first workout of the day that involved judges actually counting athlete reps (the first event scoring was based on row for calories). WOD 2 was an 8 minute AMRAP of fat bar deadlifts, GHD sit-ups and double-unders. This workout was super fun to do as I was in the lane immediately next to my box-mate and training partner and we spent the 8 minutes going rep for rep trying to beat one another. At the conclusion we finished 2 reps apart. However, when we checked the posted standings my score was shorted 60 reps. Yes 60. An athlete in another heat was apparently “gifted” 40 reps above her actual score. I have no idea how either of these errors occurred, but event organizers conferred with the judges involved, agreed that the scores were erroneous and indicated that corrections would be made to the scores. It was voiced to me how cumbersome and inconvenient it was for event organizers to contact my judge, who had left the venue.
WOD 3 was another AMRAP- 5 minutes of 24” box jumps and 1 pood kettlebell snatches. Again, my training partner and I were basically neck and neck throughout the workout, but at the conclusion my score was shorted a round. Yes, not a rep a ROUND. That’s 34 reps short.
For anyone who has not competed in a Crossfit competition, every event I have participated in the judge has a scoring sheet where reps and rounds are (supposed to be) accounted for. Following the workout the athlete is asked to initial the scorecard. You know that moment immediately after a workout when you often see Crossfitters lying on their backs making sweat angels or writhing around? That is when you review the scorecard and verify your score is correct by initialing. This is where my responsibility for the day’s events comes in- I initialed my scorecard even though I had doubts about what the judge had recorded. I stood there panting and sweating and questioned her about it but I didn’t want to be “that” person arguing about judging so stupidly, I initialed. After talking to my Crossfit Chicago people who had been watching I realized I was indeed shorted a round as I had suspected. A competitor even came over to offer assistance since she had counted my workout and knew I was shorted. I went to discuss the matter with officials and my judge. My judge stated that she thought she had counted right, but it’s possible an error had been made (of course it’s possible, we’re all human). Event organizers did not want to correct my score because I signed the sheet. Things got SO uncomfortable for me here because I don’t want to appear as if I’m requesting special treatment or asking for something I didn’t earn. However, it’s absolutely unacceptable for a judge to lose track of an entire round! I can see if there is a dispute about an athlete meeting proper range of motion standards or something subjective, but a judge straight up sleeping on the job? How does that happen and how is it acceptable?
The more the issue was discussed, frankly I started to feel insulted. As if I would ever ask for credit for work I didn’t do. I would think officials would want to correct erroneous scores, but we kept going back and forth with them saying there’s nothing they can do, and me saying that is unacceptable. It was SO uncomfortable going through that, but if I hadn’t stood up for myself I would have been shorted 94 reps on the day. That’s off the chain. I can’t imagine anyone with a competitive bone in their body participating in an event and not expecting their work to be accurately accounted for. I felt bad for my judge as I know it was an honest mistake, but still unacceptable.
After some time, event organizers told me since I didn’t have a video of the workout my only alternative would be to repeat the workout. I wasn’t immediately sure what to do in that scenario, but a quick look at my coach and I knew. I repeated the workout. The individual heats had already concluded, so I jumped in on a team heat and demonstrated that the score they recorded was indeed incorrect.
Now I’m left feeling uncomfortable about winning the competition because some may feel it’s unfair that I repeated a workout. However, integrity is a big part of Crossfit, and I feel confident that no athlete there would want to win because another athlete’s score was shorted. Secondly, repeating a workout puts you at a distinct disadvantage for subsequent workouts (a fact that was highlighted to me by event organizers when they presented me with that option), so in that regard I don’t think it was unfair to the other competitors. The scoring issues put a huge damper on the entire experience. Am I off base here? I would love to know what people think.
I signed up for this event to have fun, support a local Crossfit competition, and hang out with other Crossfitters. But through this course of events, I really gained a lot more than I anticipated I would in experience. My take away for future competitions would be:
- Count your own reps/rounds as you workout (this is hard for me, I may need to work on that skill);
- Have someone on the sidelines count for you, so you can quickly verify numbers with them before you sign off;
- Video record all your workouts in competition. There’s really no way around the need for this, it seems;
- When in any doubt don’t sign your scorecard
Everything happens for a reason, so maybe this experience will help me or someone else in a future competition. This event has made me really curious about what rules are written by our governing body regarding this kind of thing and if invitational competitions can be sanctioned or non-sanctioned, similarly to USA Weightlifting, so athletes can get a sense of the caliber of event they are participating in.
Thinking about sportsmanship reminded me of this awesome competitor Annie Sakamoto who won the “Spirit of the Games” award this year. Besides being blown away by her athleticism (let’s face it, the lady puts on a clinic in technique) I was blown away by how genuinely excited and enthusiastic she was about the excellent performances of others. What a great role model!
“What is left when honor is lost?” –Publilius Syrus