Months ago, I signed up to participate in the 2nd annual Battle at the Ballpark with 3 of my friends. It’s a two-day, four-person (2 Male, 2 Female) team, Crossfit competition held at OneOk Field by Crossfit T-Town. Of our team, only one would be what I call a “seasoned competitor.” Then there was me; I have only done one team competition. The two guys on our team had not competed before. When we signed up, we knew we wouldn’t win but were out to do our best and have a good time. After all, it’s a big competition and we didn’t want to miss out. We originally signed up in the scaled division as “Team Okie Dokie,” but changed our name to represent the non-profit gym we go to and so we became “Team Valor Strength and Fitness.”
Battle at the Ballpark is held in a large venue and there are a lot of participants; Rx’d (17 teams), Scaled (67 teams) & Master Division (10 teams). But despite the many moving parts, it was a well-organized event. The staged areas were setup up in a timely manner, and standard instructions were quick and to the point. They used an online leaderboard so you could view results and standings in a pretty timely fashion. There were a large number of volunteers pointing you in the right direction and answering questions. There were food vendors (one of them had coffee so I was a happy camper) and various shops selling workout-themed gear. Plenty of restrooms were available, so there was no line (this is a perk to this girl).
Facebook was the main information source for the competition. Pictures from the event posted throughout the day onto Facebook. It’s also where you found out what the workouts were. Once those posted, people would ask questions. We competed in 4 workouts in 2 days (the 5th workout was for the top places to duke it out).
Spectators paid to watch. Between registrations, spectator entry fees and fundraiser campaigns, they raised $5,000.00 toward an educational scholarship to benefit First Sergeant Tobias Meister’s son. First Sgt. Meister died, December 28, 2005 when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near his Humvee during combat patrol operations while serving in Afghanistan. He was a Jenks, OK resident and part of the Sand Springs-based 486th Civil Affairs Battalion, assigned to the Army Reserve’s 321st Civil Affairs Brigade based in San Antonio, TX.
Doing the workouts was nerve-racking. We had a long break between the WODs, but each time it got close to time to do the next workout, my nerves would ramp back up. You are on the field with a stadium of people watching you exercise, so it’s a lot of pressure. There are judges right there making sure you understand what to do and making sure to count all your repetitions. There’s a DJ playing music, an MC giving play-by-play, teammates encouraging and the crowd cheering added to all the physical movements. It really is almost a sensory overload.
The workouts go by so incredibly fast. You feel like you just started and then it’s over, giving it your all in a very short time period. My teammates and I would hi-five after and you could just see the relief on our faces. Afterward as you sit back down in the stadium, you analyze how you did and how you could have done better and watch the next set of competitors.
There were some seriously impressive athletes there, in all divisions. Those elite athletes are inspiring – I know how they have worked to get to where they are. My team knew a handful of people competing on other teams (Crossfit is a small community) and we took turns cheering for each other. This was only my 2nd Crossfit competition, but I recognized some faces from Girls Gone RX that I competed in plus people we worked out with before.
A CrossFit competition is about camaraderie, teamwork and drive. While we do compete against one another, the primary goal is to exceed our own efforts; winning is secondary. You’re not battling against other people that may or may not have a good day–it’s just you versus you. Yes, there are rankings, winners, and prizes, but the only thing you can control is you. We cheer louder and harder for those in last place than those in first. We rally in support of someone that is struggling with a movement or making an attempt at a PR. Everyone wants to see everyone do their very best. It’s infectious, exhilarating and addicting.
Competition lights a fire. It gives you something to train for, makes you put yourself on the line, and forces you to focus and be in the moment. Do you shine under pressure, or do you crack? There is not a better feeling knowing you gave it everything and know at the end of the day that you did your very best. You don’t have to be the best to compete, and you definitely don’t have to be an elite athlete. You just have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone.
Thank you to everyone that came to support our team, we appreciate and LOVE you all! We didn’t place too well, but we had a lot of fun and got to hang out with some great people two days. Thank you to my teammates and friends for sharing this experience with me. We each had things we were stronger in and combined, we had an excellent time. See you at Battle at the Ballpark next year – it’s a great competition!
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