It’s Florida in the summertime and while we have been most fortunate in the past with our outdoor events there was no stopping the rain on Saturday. You have to accept the fact that some things are completely out of your control; the weather is one of them. Prepare for the unexpected — when Murphy and his gang showed up we were ready.
Our annual Battle of the Boxes competition is typically held in the summer and this past Saturday we hosted our largest event ever with over 59 teams of 4 competing. We did have a little luck on our side as the weather permitted the initial set up in the morning; the outdoor vendors and athletes arrived and set up camp. But shortly after the first 3, 2,1. . . GO! the skies opened up and they didn’t let up for the next 5 hours. Not only did it rain it was a torrential downpour.
The vendors got the worst of it having to protect their merchandise and displays against the weather; the winds blew so hard tents and canopies were picked up and carried down the street. A few abandoned ship (pun intended). This was exemplary of ‘only the strong survive’; we had a total of at least 6 that could be not salvaged. The hardiest of the vendors with the true CF mentality weathered the storm with only a few packing up early and heading home. The rest merely secured their tents, dumped the rain from the tops and held strong.
Meanwhile inside the box the wods continued with very few hiccups. As I was moving around checking on vendors and then on athletes and spectators one thing was glaringly obvious — everyone was still smiling, cheering on their athletes and having a blast even as all the spectators were huddled on one side of the box. It was a torrential downpour but that didn’t ruin the ‘parade’ one bit.
Even with 10,000 square feet when you have 236 athletes competing and several spectators it’s a crowded box. Twice we had to completely shift the crowds in order to set up for the next wod. With our awesome staff in control that was easily accomplished. As the rain continued to pour in the doors had to be shut at times to minimize flooding in the box. That meant it was hotter and more humid; still not complaints from athletes and spectators.
There were many game day decisions to be made and I must compliment our team on making them and making them quickly. When our handstand wall was flooded, 2 volunteers rushed out to purchase towels and we immediately moved it to the dry wall. Outdoor prowler pushes became indoor rowing (pun again intended).
Our main parking field which was grass turned into a swamp, the cars kept coming and coming so our parking director had to shift them to the sides of a vacant “private” road. Mid competition, the gate got blocked which we rallied, found the owner and moved the offending cars. That didn’t stop the absent owner from threatening to tow the cars. Good luck, there were at least 80 of them. They finally quieted down after a bit of diplomacy on my husbands part.
Finally around 1 pm the sun decided to shine or more accurately the rain stopped. Vendors dried out their tents, spectators got to walk around outside and the athletes continued to PR despite all the rain.
We pride ourselves in being organized, giving the athletes and spectators a top notch and fair competition without running excessively behind; I wondered if that was possible at the beginning of the day. With the weather conditions, parking situation and a 20 minute time out for EMS we finished the day only 50 minutes behind schedule. I consider that incredible.
In true CrossFit spirit the athletes, vendors and spectators did not let the rain ruin the day. The athletes PR’d, the spectators were wowed and vendors garnered new customers and made sales. Despite the rain the parade marched on with an overall successful event. While there are only so many spots on the podium it was still a winning day for everyone involved.