The nasty northeast is a 3 weeklong team competition between local NJ boxes. The top team walks away with more than just a few prizes – bragging rights are on the line. Who’s ready to get nasty?
A return to CrossFit.
After spending last week’s competition playing on the beach, shit got real when the competition moved out of the sandbox and into a real box. Brazen Athletics served as the host box for this weeks installment of the Nasty, and it had a little bit of everything. Barbells and Medballs, snatches and partner carries, a Winnebago, Bazz’s pain face, Big J shedding a few tears, and, of course, a little dose of controversy to top it off. More on that later…
But first, here’s a quick rundown of the WOD. Just like in week 1, there would be only one scored event. The WOD started with an 800m partner carry for the fellas and a 400m carry for the ladies (side note: if you’re hosting a partner competition and there aren’t partner carries you should be embarrassed. They go hand in hand. Like eating at Taco Bell and shitting your pants within the half hour.) After the partner carry was complete, each team had to run the length of the parking lot, grab all the equipment necessary to make a 95lb and 65lb barbell, run back and build their barbells. 95lbs for the men. 65lbs for the women. At which point, each pair of team members had to complete 100 ground to overhead. Snatch it or clean and jerk it – your choice. Then, still in your mini male-male female-female groups, complete 100 partner medball situps each. Start by interlocking your legs, the first partner does a situp with the medball in his hands, touching the ground overhead as he lays back. As he sits up, he exchanges the ball to their other partner who completes the same movement. Simple. Following that, the entire team had to collect their own 14lb Medball and complete 100 “indian run style” (seems to be a trend at this competition) wallballs. The entire team lines up single-file, and as the first member throws the ball up he runs to the end of the line while the next member in line catches the ball and proceeds with their wallball. This cycle continues until the team amasses 100 reps. Oh and there was a slight catch, if the ball touches the ground at any point, there was a 5 burpee penalty for the entire team. Finally, once the wallballs were completed, each team had to run – with barbells in hand – back to where each team originally received them, disassemble them, and run back across the finish line. Time.
Just like the week before, this multi-part WOD kicked off with – undoubtedly – the hardest part first: the partner carry. Honestly going into the event, I thought my team would fly through the carry. Granted Rob and I weigh roughly the same amount, but my leg strength is something I pride myself on and something that I think separates myself from most crossfitters. Boy was I wrong! On 3,2,1 GO, most teams took off like they were shot out of a cannon. Me on the other hand felt like I was drudging through quicksand. But we managed to fight through it. Thankfully our ladies had a much much simpler time. Bazz was the designated driver with Mae just along for the ride. I’m pretty confident Bazz owns handbags that weigh more than Mae. So by time Rob and I finished up our 2nd exhausting lap, they were completely refreshed and ready to move onto the ground to overhead.
The ground to overhead portion of the workout was relatively easy. My team moved through them pretty efficiently snatching the weight until fatigue forced us to clean and jerk it (unless your Bazz who gets so delusional mid WOD she decides to snatch every rep).
I have to say, I couldn’t be more proud of some of our other teams from Maxability at this point of the WOD. 65lbs for some of the women on our other teams was no joke – especially 100 reps of it! If it wasn’t for their great foundation and strong technique they would’ve never been able to muscle their way through the reps. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, physically we may not be the strongest box out there, our strength lies in our ability to outperform the competition through (near) flawless technique.
Next, the medball sit-ups. Definitely creative. The first thing that ran through my mind was “can’t wait to try this with my kids in sports performance” not “hmm this might make my abs explode”. Thankfully they didn’t, and to be honest this was a relatively easy part of the day. You can only do medball sit-ups or abmat sit-ups for that matter so fast. So it was one of those things, just grit your teeth don’t stop and fight out all 100 reps in a row. Don’t be a cupcake!
Indian run style wallballs. And so a controversy is born (more on that in just a sec). Who would’ve guessed it, the wall balls were the easiest part of the competition – and even more surprising, I actually enjoyed them! Granted the ball was only 14lbs compared to the normal 20lb men’s standard and every rep was performed at about a 10 second interval per individual, they were wall balls dammit! But none of that matters, because the premise of this portion of the workout wasn’t to test which team was the best at wall balls, no the goal was to test which team was the best at working efficiently as one cohesive unit. Unfortunately, our team did drop the ball (literally) once and were penalized with burpees, but beyond that we functioned great as a team moving swiftly through the reps even though the weight was pretty heavy for our female partners.
After wallballs, a mad dash to the finish ensued with team Maxability Beast Sweelington finishing in 27:20 or 11th place for the day.
Slightly less epic in scope as week 1, but an overall more enjoyable/CrossFit-y workout.
So on to the controversy. First and foremost you have to understand, as with any CrossFit competition, the teams that end up on the podium and the teams that narrowly miss the top spots tend to be separated by only a few points, and the Nasty Northeast was no different. Every second counts! And our top team, Maxability Get Deep, ended up missing the podium by 7 seconds, which under normal circumstance would have been a tough pill to swallow in and of itself, but based on the unusual circumstances the pill seemed more like a watermelon.
Essentially, what happened was during the final portion of the workout, the Indian run style wall balls, one of the members of the 3rd place team, for whatever reason, collapsed and was unable to continue while his teammates fought on to finish the WOD with the three remaining members. Now initially, that might sound like a disadvantage for their team, but through closer examination that’s really not the case. From a technical standpoint, by only having three members on the wallballs, the team was able to cycle through their reps faster. Yes, there was less rest time per member between reps, but with three people instead of four, there were less moving parts and a decreased chance of error. Now look at it from the flip side, our team had one female member who was unable to throw the 14lb MedBall to the required height for the rep to count, so every time she went up to throw the ball “NO REP!” Which is understandable, but if the team with only three people was not being penalized for only having three members, why not tell our struggling female to sit this one out rather than eat up time with her short balls. Better yet, why not just have one member, like Tim who is more than capable of doing 100 wall balls in a row, just stand there and do them all by himself. Each failed rep was eating up precious seconds, and when the difference between a 3rd place finish and a 4th place finish was decided by only 7 seconds, those costly seconds add up…quickly!
But even more than all that, by allowing a team to continue while one member was incapacitated defeats the purpose of a team event. I take nothing away from the 3rd place team. They persevered through an unforeseen difficultly, kept their composure, and continued to fight to finish the WOD. But a team is a team is a team, and if one member doesn’t finish then the team doesn’t finish. Sorry. It just goes against the principles of a team event, and I don’t just mean that in CF sense, I mean that in any sort of team event. “No man left behind…unless of course you’re slowing the team down in which case see ya later!” You start as a team and finish as a team. Period.
Those are – or should have been – the standards. And that’s fact not opinion!
However, if you were to ask me personally what my opinion was of this whole overblown controversy, my answer might surprise you. Because in the end, the events that took place and the mistakes that were made didn’t really bother me much at all. The bottom line is this: the individuals who took it upon themselves to compete weren’t just competing for themselves or their teams. They were competing for their box – for Maxability. For pride. And that’s reason enough to fight for every point!
Yet at the same time it’s also important to understand the context of the competition we’re talking about. It’s not the CrossFit Games or regionals or some brainchild thought up by Dave Castro, it’s an event designed and created by a handful of passionate people with the sole purpose of creating a greater sense of community between local boxes and to have a little fun while suffering together. Everyone loves a competition, but maybe at the end of the day that’s not really what the Nasty is about?
So at the end of the day, was I overly distraught about the outcome of the event? No. Because I know those individuals running the event were doing the absolute best they could with what they had. If the true goal of the Nasty was to throw out the scoreboard, and create a grander sense of community amongst fellow boxes/CrossFitters, then the “competition” – without question- succeeded.
And if you look at it through that context, maybe it was a great day for the Nasty.