The first stand alone Affiliate Cup was a soaring success. 96 teams from affiliates around the world competed under the Aromas sun on Friday. Reasons for participating varied drastically amongst the teams. Some came solely for the community dynamics that the format reinforced, while others embraced a love-of-the-game-let's-just-have-fun approach. Both of these motivational underpinnings could be found in varying degrees with all of the teams we spoke to, but an elite few teams had something additional on their minds - winning.
Michael Gregory, aka Big Mike, of Crossfit Central lives and breathes Crossfit. He takes this stuff seriously for himself and his clients. "I believe everyday is a battle. Without a constant pursuit to achieve more every single day you are living statically and a totally wasting life's moments," he said in his last blog prior to departure for the 2009 Games. "I am moving forward and constantly setting higher expectations for myself. Crossfit has come into my life and we have used it to continue to set higher standards for ourselves and those around us."
The team format delivered unique challenges and restrictions. It called for more planning and strategizing. Successful teams were highly in touch with the strengths and weaknesses of each participant. "Our team is comprised some phenomenal athletes who have all stepped up to the challenge of earning their spots. Each competed at the Qualifiers and did outstanding. I am proud to lead them, and confident that we cannot be beat. They know what I expect and they have prepared themselves better than anybody out there prior to the competition."
With elite peers like Jeremy Thiel, Lance Cantu, Carey Kepler and Crystal McReynolds in the individual competition, it's no wonder that Central had such a strong affiliate team."Is it War? Maybe not! But there is no mistake that we are going there to win! Jeremy and Lance to podium in the individual competition and myself with our Affiliate Team," Big Mike stated confidently prior to Aromas. This mindset served them well. Of the almost 100 teams that competed on Friday, Central was one of six teams that qualified for the final event on Sunday. In a dramatic last minute recount it was determined that Central could clinch the top spot on the podium providing they cross the finish line first and Northwest come in last.
This video catches Mike in the shop immediately after the standards for the Affiliate Cup finals are dictated (video of the standards coming soon). When asked for his reaction to the event, Mike hardly pauses. "It looks crazy and it makes me anxious," he says. You would never know it from his demeanor which is calm and collected. "In a hopper style workout like this, you just never know how tired you're gonna get. But to me, that's CrossFit. If your whole body is taxed... you get towards those final two reps and you've just got to gut it out, that's CrossFit."