Every year, the CrossFit Games come around, and just like for fans of any other sport, it’s our time to get excited. Our season of competition runs from February through July, encompassing the Open, Regionals and the Games. We are at the halfway point of the season, and with Regionals only a few days awawy, I can barely contain my excitement. Now is the time when the best athletes in the world will really be put through their paces (which they will, judging by the events), and the best of the best will book their spot for the big finale in Carson. Let me be clear, Regional are no joke. Many Games veterans have admittedly said that they think Regionals are actually harder than the Games. So why would you want to miss out on the fun? Watching the recaps on the CrossFit Games YouTube channel is fine I suppose—but it’s nothing compared to the thrill of seeing the Regionals in person. Yes, it might be a long drive to get there, but I assure you it would be well worth it. Here are 5 reasons you should go to your Regional.
Next best thing to going to the Games themselves
The CrossFit Games are our SuperBowl, and while you won’t need to fork over upwards of $800 for a ticket, the competition for a seat is just as fierce. In fact, in 2013 Gold passes sold out within minutes, and that seems to have happened again this year. So unless you were waiting several hours prior to tickets being released online, chances are you won’t be going to the Games this year. Oh well, always next year right? I mean, what a shame that you won’t be able to be part of the awesome community vibe, buy some cool new gear, and see the best CrossFitters do their thing. Um, HELLO! It’s called REGIONALS, YO! Yes, it won’t have the grandeur of the Games and the spectacle won’t be on the same scale, but it’s not far behind. It is quite literally the next best thing—and the tickets are far cheaper too ($50 for a 3-day pass), so it’s more economical—who wants to fly all the way to LA anyway?
Gathering of the community
When CrossFitters get together, good things happen. Hopefully you have experienced some happy hours and barbeques with your own box, so just imagine what it will be like when you’re surrounded by hundreds of like-minded people in the same place! The supportive, fun atmosphere that you’re used to when you go to CrossFit will be infinitely amplified at Regionals. It’s always great to get out and meet new CrossFitters from different boxes and swap tales of how you got into the sport, why you love it and so on. The stands will be packed with a diverse mix of fans, wearing equally varied CrossFit t-shirts who have all come together to grab some food, watch people workout and generally have a good time. As so many members of HQ (including Glassman) have said, the affiliate community is what makes CrossFit what it is today. The sense of camaraderie you will feel when surrounded by so many people who share a similar lifestyle in regards to diet, fitness and health will reaffirm your love for everything that makes CrossFit what it is.
Elite athletes and Games hopefuls on show
As I mentioned earlier, this is your chance to watch the best CrossFitters strut their stuff before they head to the Games. Dreams are made and broken at Regionals, and the competition is fierce. Last year, the men’s division at the Central East Regionals featured Rich Froning, Graham Holmberg, Dan Bailey, Scott Panchick and Marcus Hendren. Thanks to the fact that two of these athletes were past champions (Froning and Holmberg), all five athletes qualified for the Games from this region. With the exception of actually going to the Games themselves, when else would you have the opportunity to see that many Games-caliber CrossFitters in person? Watching elite athletes and up-and-coming stars push themselves to their limits is truly inspiring, and when the crowd gets behind them, don’t be surprised if you get goose bumps. What makes CrossFit so unique is that while our sport does have its superstars, they’re just regular people with a passion for CrossFit—just like everyone who comes to watch them compete. As such, you can go from watching them perform incredible feats of athleticism and skill to catching them walk around the venue, chatting with fans and posing for pictures and autographs. Going to Regionals is a great chance to get up close and personal with the best men and women our sport has to offer—do you really want to miss the chance to high-five Rich Froning?
Be a part of history
You never know what you might witness at Regionals. For all you know, you could be watching a future Games champion in competition! Now wouldn’t that be a story to brag about to your friends. Someone may set a world record in a benchmark WOD, or hit a weight in a snatch that blows everyone else away. As I mentioned, in 2013 the Central East sent 5 male individual athletes to the Games—something that had never happened before. Last year I was in attendance at the Mid Atlantic Regional when the power went out mid-workout, and for a split second I looked around to see if the athletes had to start all over again. Instead, the crowd roared to life and the athletes responded in kind, not missing a beat and completing the event in semi-darkness. What a cool moment to be a part of, wouldn’t you agree?
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There will be an abundance of vendors at Regionals, selling all manner of shirts, shorts, equipment, accessories, supplements and more. We’re talking Reebok, Progenex, Rogue, Nutriforce and many, many more. Honestly, when is there ever a bad time to stock up on CrossFit gear? While you may have to pay for most of the items on show, there is plenty of free swag to take home for yourself and your friends. Bring a backpack and stock that bad boy up with as many wristbands, protein samples, key fobs and paleo bars you can get your hands on before people start to realize what you’re up to and you get thrown out. Hopefully by that point, you’ll have had one of the best experiences of your CrossFit career at the 2014 Regionals.
Here are the key dates and locations for all 17 Regionals, as well as information on where to get tickets
Tickets to the regionals went on sale April 5, 2014. Any remaining tickets can be purchased through the Get Tickets block on the right-hand side of the Games.CrossFit.com home page.
Three-day passes go for US$50, and single-day passes are just $20.
Three international regions will have reduced rates. In Asia and Africa, the three-day passes will go for $20, and the single day passes will cost $8. Tickets in Latin America will cost $20 for three days, and $10 for one day.
If tickets do not sell out in advance, they will be sold at the door only, and may be subject to the venue’s processing fees.
Photo courtesy of CrossFit, Inc.