I started my CrossFit journey in September 2017 and have been competing now for approximately 3 and half years. If you’re reading this then it’s highly likely you’re as much of a CrossFit addict as I am and the community aspect is one of the main reasons you’re involved in the sport. It’s for this particular reason I volunteer my time for the events. Judging, watching and supporting athletes as they push themselves to their limits, exceed their expectations and just generally leave everything out on the floor is something I’ll never tire of seeing. Regardless of the level of competition, every athlete will ultimately find that dark place and set up home there for some duration of the workouts.
It’s safe to say that without the volunteers, competitions can’t go ahead, that is the black and white of it. I hadn’t realised the importance of this until Summer last year where my first experience of volunteering came about at the Arnold Games for the legend that is Richard Hornsey and his Battle for Middle Ground team. Having competed at Trinity Wars, I left that event knowing I wanted to get involved with the BFMG team and have volunteered for every event in the calendar!
Since that first experience, I’ve attended various competitions on different scales and on few occasions have attended as either a spectator or judge and ended up on the comp floor. Which in turn lead to becoming a “hybrid” athlete, entailing a day of competing and volunteering! Most recently this occurred at WIT House London where Rep It Out made a return. Having previously offered my time to assist with judging, I also wanted to take part in the event and as the day was split via the categories, it was ideal to compete in the morning and dish out the no reps in the afternoon. In all it was a great event, the volunteers were looked after with refreshments on tap and help was on hand if anyone needed it.
I ran this idea of a “hybrid” athlete past Ric and we both came to the agreement that I’m in a very small minority who would be willing to do both. At the end of the day, the athletes pay for a ticket to compete. Why should you then give up your free time to help run an event you’ve paid to attend? It’s a very valid point! More so with the higher level competitions, it’s an intense day as it is without the added energy required to either judge or shift all the equipment around. Personally, for me, it’s a day out, an opportunity to meet new people and ultimately help the organisers provide a day that runs smoothly.
Event management have to account for the fact that a small percentage of helpers will not make the event and Covid has not helped with this. Therefore some have seriously struggled in getting the numbers of participants. Asking the DJ to put a call out for assistance is now becoming all too frequent. Many already offer either free or discounted entry to qualifiers or comps and the larger scale being able to provide merch. The question then being, what do the events need to do to ensure that the volunteer pool grows with the athletes? I think the route of volunteer days, which the likes of Battle for Middle Ground (now Graft Events), Midland Fitness Games and Turf Games have already adopted are a great start but for a number of us, it still entails the cost of travel if they’re not local to you. If you are tempted to get involved in these, reach out on their social media pages and you’ll find a number of volunteers are in the same position and can car share/buddy up with accommodation.
Overall, I’m pretty excited to be getting involved with a large number of events this year both on and off the floor and will look forward to reporting back!