Dan Wu has the microphone and moves around the pit like a freight train. Deliberate, precise, talking all the while. You cannot get in this man's way. You can't. He'd steamroll you with a barrage of obscenity and knowledge if you tried. His passion is contagious. Ryan and Marc are there too, though, given their different jobs, appearing cooler by comparison. Ryan is near the timing station sporting an ice-cold glare, scanning the pit while keeping Dan informed of time. Marc is around, nearly bouncing around, helping with the judging. All three multitasking. All three intense.
The kettlebell swings are easy to watch. Sky-high, bell straight. Do a bunch. You keep track of these things as a judge and when it's starts to get shady, a simple "keep it vertical" helps remind the athlete that they're creeping towards a "no-rep."
Knees not locked on the shoulder to overhead? No rep.
Toes not all the way to the bar? No rep.
Ironic crossfit t-shirt talking about a snatch that isn't very funny? No rep and a kick to the shin.
Most athletes are compliant. They know we're not getting paid to judge, though I suspect some of them forget they're not paid to compete. 99.9% of all spectators do not have shit for brains. And even though it's annoying to have people screaming directly into your ear as they cheer, and it's extremely annoying to hear them count out completed movements (while messing up my count), I can understand the drama and passion that drives this sport. Like a bell-lap sprint, you are either in the moment or you're straight out the back wondering what could've been. There is something contagious about doing this stuff in a race against yourself, other athletes, and the clock.
Creeping Normalcy is a cool term. I originally learned about this in my 11th grade U.S. History class. We were talking about society and how it reacts to problems and changes. The essence of creeping normalcy is that, as slow changes occur in our surrounding environment, we begin to adjust. As our senses adjust, these changes ultimately become the 'new' normal.
You would expect that a sudden surge of murder-rates, a sudden loss of jobs, or a serious and unexpected drought would be met with swift action from society itself.
If each year, however, there is slightly less water than the year before, or temperatures rise by a narrow margin or, perhaps, we add only 10 more parking lots throughout the city, it might be harder to notice the change. Then, one day, you have a parking lot in your backyard and a dry faucet.
(Come on meatheads!!! You know what I mean. If you put the frog in boiling water, it jumps out. If you put the frog in lukewarm water and turn it up one degree every few minutes....)
After staring at different athletes' kettelbell swings for repetitions on end, they all started to look the same, and the slight fluctuations in verticality became harder to notice rep after rep. Keep in mind, I've only been doing crossfit for 3 months. It's hard enough to perform, much less judge. If one repetition was obviously a fail, I could call it easily. It was only after many repetitions that I noticed my guy was lulling me into normalcy; he was shorting pretty bad.
|Your FACE is a no-rep!|
My mouth began to open but DanWu (it's all one word now) came right in between Bessie (my rad tandem-judge) and myself to lay down the law. It was unfortunate for the athlete, who was caught completely off-guard due to my missed call, but I was grateful for the swift, "deal with that shit, bro" action of our head official. This particular athlete was also very respectful in dealing with the judgment, though obviously confused. It became easier as the day went on to identify errors and act with confidence after that moment.
"That's not a rep, not even close!"
And when I looked over my shoulder to ask for DanWu's advice, he was already on the other side of the pit dishing out no-reps to all who dared short a standard.
I Will Seriously Not Care About Your Crossfit Problems
Hey asshole friend of that one person, your friend's ONE no rep is not my problem. Not only is it not my problem, but it's also not your problem. You are, for all intents and purposes, the top 10% in this nation who has enough disposable income to pay $120-$250 a month to experience crossfit. You should be (though you, your coach, and the two other lonely people next to your coach are probably not) grateful to be partaking in such an activity...for fun, no less. Positive interactions with other competitors and the volunteers is extremely productive and meaningful. Me no-repping "your boy" once is absolutely meaningLESS. Neither of you are professional, nor are you PRO (a cool cycling term I hope to bring to the CF world). Tell your friends to stop yelling about the no-rep and move on. Life is beautiful.
Getting No-Rep'd at the Beach Cities Battle: First-World Problem
Given the informal nature of this event, though fierce and competitive, it seemed only natural to invite Bessie (or did she invite me?) to create an offshoot of judgment organization and structure henceforth known as "tandem-judging."
I feel like this could catch on really well at next year's Games, particularly if the heat was as oppressive as it was this past Saturday in Torrance. If one person is judging, it frees the other to acquire ice cold FRS in a can. Mmmmmmm. FRS in a can.
How Else Would You Want to Learn?
I suppose there really is no better way to learn a new sport than by judging it. I had intended to volunteer for registration before getting out on the bike in Malibu. When I was asked to help judge, I went for it. Nerve-wracking as it was, it proved to be an interesting way to understand the point of having an athletic standard (standards: something I'm all too familiar with in the teaching world). My experience as a teacher and a soccer referee made it easier for me to feel comfortable enforcing rules, and having Dan, Marc and Ryan there as backup eased the tension.
The whole bunch was great. The athletes were impressive, but they always say that success come from the top, and the leadership and organization of an event like this shows what like-minded individuals can do with limited resources and positive attitudes. All great stuff.
Cool event bro....no rep.