CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro appeared in front of the 97 teams competing in the Affiliate Cup at 8 a.m. this morning with an 18x24 foot JumboTron broadcasting live behind him.
Detailing movement standards to the 97 teams, Castro was framed by a giant sign/wall-ball target reading: "Our workouts are competitive events. The strength and value of CrossFit lies entirely within our domination of other athletes. This is a truth derived through competition, not debate."
It's doubtful any of the athletes would argue the point, and when the three-WOD rotation started it was obvious that everyone agreed.
With athletes struggling with overhead squats and pull-ups on the North Pad, others attacked the Hill--which is far steeper than anyone will imagine after watching a video.
In the Stadium, teams attacked a rotating workout that led off with 30 wall-ball shots to the sign/target--the bottom of which is 10 feet high. Judges had to "see wood" underneath the ball, meaning a shot clearly above 10 feet was strictly enforced.
Some smaller competitors struggled with the wall-ball portion, leaving their teams a lot of ground to make up in the rowing, kettlebell swings, push presses, box jumps and deadlifts that followed. Several teams did not finish within the 25-minute time limit in the first heat--a theme that was repeated throughout the morning.
"It's tough," said Annie Sakamoto of CrossFit Santa Cruz Central. "I mean, hip crease below knee is all very personal and relative. The target is not, so in some ways maybe not as fair. But it is what they said it was going to be, and that's great."
Other competitors agree.
"I think the weight was fine, but the height was a little high," said Katie Wasalaski of CrossFit Alexandria. "We were on an incline a little bit, so it's hard to get the full squat on the incline, but it's OK. You do what you've got to do."
"It kind of threw me off because the ground was a little bit slanted...," said Yvonne Howard of Diablo CrossFit. "I've been practicing with a 10-foot target with 14 pound ball so it was just the angle that surprised me."
Adrian (Boz) Bozman heads the judging team at the Stadium and believes the wall-ball shots are a great challenge.
"The wall ball is pretty high," he said. "The bottom of the target it 10 feet, which is usually the middle of the target for most people, so it's a little higher than a lot of folks are used to, especially some of the women. It's been eating some people up."
He continued: "You're never going to get these workouts where they're 100 percent completely even, everybody's got the same footing, blah, blah, blah. It could be argued that the higher slope makes it easier to stay back on the heels: an advantage for some and a disadvantage for others, depending on your perspective."