This weekend I had the opportunity to be a volunteer writer for the CrossFit Mid-Atlantic Regionals site. It was sort of dumb luck that I even found out about the opportunity in the first place. Seeing as how I'm not on Facebook I never saw the status update on Wednesday asking for volunteers to write articles for the Games site. It wasn't until Friday afternoon that Kara saw it and told me about it. I emailed the Media Director for this event (Brian Wilson, co-owner of Potomac CrossFit and Patriot CrossFit) and the next thing I know it's Saturday morning, I'm in the George Mason University Field House in Fairfax, VA with a pen and notepad and a shirt that said MEDIA across the back. That made it official.
I really didn't know what I was getting myself into when I volunteered for this. I just sent an email off and said I'd help out wherever I could. My primary reason for being there was to support the three females from my gym: Meghan Calpin, Colleen O'Connor and Christina Ruggiero, who were there to compete. If I could maybe write an article about my experience or some sort of feature/human interest piece that would be great too.
I was given the assignment of covering the team competition for Saturday and Sunday. I spent about an hour or so on Saturday morning shadowing Chenelle Miller (co-owner of CrossFit Raleigh, who finished 3rd overall in the team comp and will be going to the Games in July). Chenelle was kind of enough to show me the format of the articles to be submitted as well as some general questions to ask when interviewing the athletes. After that, they turned me loose on the general population.
|Photo credit: Aimee Lyons|
Me interviewing John Warnek and Nikki Sieller of CrossFit King of Prussia
By the time the team workouts were over on Saturday and I finally got a chance to say hi to the CFDV ladies, I only had about ten minutes to put together a coherent recap summary from my pages of notes. My first submission was, in my opinion, pure crap given the short amount of time I had to put it together. But someone on the CrossFit HQ media staff found some use for it and included it in the Day 2 summary under the Teams section. Either that, or they had nothing else to put in that section and took what they could get.
It was interesting to peek behind the curtain of the CrossFit media production. The Games site recap articles have no attributed byline on any of them because the articles are a collaborative amalgamation of several submissions from several different people. A few paragraphs from this person about the men's competition, a few paragraphs from that person about the women's competition, a few edits and HUZZAH!, you have a page of usable content.
The media room was an office space in the Field House that also lead into the university's weight room. It was set up with a few desks and chairs and several laptops. We also were allowed to help ourselves to free PaleoKits and water. Gotta love the CrossFit swag. I subsisted on jerky and nuts for most of the weekend and by the time I got home tonight, I needed a real meal.
With the completion of each team workout I had to go back to the media room to type up a summary article. I haven't done anything remotely close to news-style writing in almost a decade. But by the time I finished my second submission on Sunday morning I was feeling much better about the content I was turning in for the Day 3 Midday Report, and my afternoon submission for the Day 3 Recap.
My only regret was that given the way my writing deadlines were structured I missed all of the female events because they immediately followed the team workouts. I was there to support the ladies from my gym and I ended up missing all of their workouts. I have to congratulate them for kicking ass with Colleen finishing in 13th, Meg tied for 15th and Christina tied for 24th.
All in all, it was a great experience to be so close to the action and get a different perspective on the competition and the sport of CrossFit. Despite the controversies surrounding the judging, the weekend ran smoothly and I was glad to be a part of it.