Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Field Day!

They say losers never win.  Except sometimes they do!  Skipping ahead to the conclusion of this post: WE WON!!!  Okay, had to get that off my chest.  Now, enjoy the rest of the blog post.  :)

There was a local "Field Day" here in Atlanta this past Saturday.

Events, according to the website, included:
  • Bubble Soccer (watch the video if you don't know what this is--I didn't until I played it)
  • Dodge Ball
  • Tug-O-War
  • Balloon Toss
  • Blindfold Wheelbarrow Race
  • Soggy Sweat Pants Relay
  • 3D Relay
  • 3-Legged Race (didn't see this on their website, but we did it)
The gym I go to, Crossfit West Cobb (aka "CWC"), fielded two teams.  The "A" Team, if you listen to the hype, called themselves "The Winners."  So our captain chose "The Losers" as our team name (I think--actually, I have no idea who chose our team name).  Yes, we were "The Losers."   All day.  Until the very end.  :)

Here is a shot of most of the members of both teams (including one gym member not on either team and one photo-bombing baby):

As best as I can remember, this is how our day went.  No guarantees that we did these events in this order or that any details are correct.

Event 1: Tug-O-War (all team members)
Good way for us to start.  We went up against a team called Cat's Meow or something like that.  I noticed that one side of the field was a little less soggy than the other side, so I told our team to congregate on the dry side so that when we lined up we'd get that side.  Not sure it made any difference, but you take every advantage you can.

Anyway, we lined up, got ready, and started pulling.  Initially we got a little pull, things seemed to be going our way.  Then, wow, there was fierce resistance and the rope starting going the wrong way!  Maybe we thought it was going to be easy or something.  Not the case.  Anyway, at that point it got serious.  We really dug in and stopped the other team's progress.  Gradually we got the rope moving our way and steadily made progress.

Bottom line: We won.  The whole thing couldn't have lasted more than 30 seconds.  Yet walking away, we were all breathing pretty heavily.  Quite an effort for such a short event.

Event 2: Bubble Soccer (five team members at a time, two women on field at all times)
One of our big disappointments.  Went against Cat's Meow again, I think.  We had two Italians on our team, soccer is in their blood, so we thought we had this in the bag.  Never pays to be overconfident, though.  Game was 7 minutes long.  The bubbles were suffocatingly hot, and you couldn't easily see or hear.  I started on the bench but subbed in halfway through the game.

Didn't seem like we stuck to our strategy once the game started.  I had advocated having a couple of our players destroy opponents in the middle of the field, to give our Italians some room to do their thing (one at midfield and one hanging back to defend our net and take long shots on goal).  We weren't doing enough destroying, in my opinion.  So, naturally, when I got out there I did a fair amount of that.

Unfortunately we gave up a goal mid-game.  The other team had a girl short enough to just set her bubble down in front of their net, to completely block it.  So ... I went around to her side, got a running start, and just blasted her.  Sent her flying, cleared the net wide open.  I must have done a good job because she eventually got up and yelled at me, and I quote: "Was that fucking necessary?!"  Yes, apparently it was, sadly, based on the score.  One of my teammates later heard her in the beer line still griping about it.  Hey, what can I say?  I guess that's what happens when you put a hockey player on a soccer field. Unfortunately for us we didn't get a shot during that time and lost 1-0.

A word about points: I believe I remember hearing that a win was worth 30 points and the loser still got 5 points.  Probably the same for Tug-O-War.

Event 3: Balloon Toss (two pairs of team members)
This is where we made real progress, this was the key to our victory.  Scoring was the sum of the distances each pair completed.

Bjorn and I completed an 80' toss.  Mike and Ben completed a 70' toss.  That gave us 150 points--way more valuable than a win in soccer!  Shoot, if the soccer event was scored the same way it might take 200+ soccer games to accumulate 150 goals between both teams combined!   :)

I'm sure CWC Team "A" (mistakenly named "The Winners") regrets this event.  I thought they were in great shape in the second heat because they got a balloon with a small leak in it.  They were thinking about requesting a better balloon, but I and others thought that this might be an advantage as the event proceeded because it would gradually lose water.  As a result of losing water, it might have less internal pressure and be less likely to rupture.

As for me, I regret not catching Bjorn's 90' toss, we really could have done better.  It was a great toss, a soft easy arc.  I caught it and greatly exaggerated cradling it--pulling my hands down as I caught it so it hit my hands with less pressure.  But as I did so, I pulled my hands down too fast down the right side of my body and the balloon rolled off the back side of my right hand, hit the ground, and broke.  Totally my fault.

We didn't know it at the time, but this event would ultimately provide 150 of our 401 (I think that's what I heard) total points.

Event 4: Dodge Ball (all team members)
Another disappointment.  I ran out to grab a ball in the middle of the field, didn't get there in time, and got hit in the first 10 seconds of the game.  Based on the number of our players left standing, this must have happened to others, too.  We might have had 4 players left against 8 or 9.  The other team gradually whittled us down, and ultimately it was just Karla against the world--the world in this case consisting of 7 or 8 members of the other team.  Karla hung in there all alone for a long time, getting several of their players out.  But their advantage was just too great for her to overcome.  We sucked at dodge ball.

Event 5: 3-Legged Race (all team members)

Solid event.  This was a timed event, run against multiple teams.  I don't think we won our heat but we did pretty well, above average I think.  We practiced beforehand and worked

All team members participated, relay race with five pairs of people, each running one length of the field.  I think it was Mike who suggested that we skip.  Ben and I were a pair.  We ultimately decided to start with our inside feet together, single step, then go into a skip on the outside feet.  Ran the whole distance that way, single step with inside feet, skip with outside feed.  We got the rhythm early in our run, then sped up as we got the hang of it, not starting too fast and falling on our faces.

Event 6: Blindfold Wheelbarrow Race (all team members)

Again, five pairs of team members, relay race, five lengths of the field.  Walter said that he'd keep his arms moving but I needed to push him forward so that his arms didn't have to do that portion of the work.  I also noticed Walter's sweaty legs.  I told him to tie bandanas (from those used to tie people's legs together for the three-legged race) around his ankles.  That way, I could grab something dry and not worry about slipping.

The field was also somewhat sloped.  I figured we should put our strongest upper body "wheelbarrows" on the low end, and have them do the uphill legs.  Worked like a charm, we did very well in this event.

By the way, this was the only event where we went head to head with "The Winners", the CWC "A" team.  For the record, we beat them in this event.  Oh, did I mention that we also beat them in the final standings?  As well as the rest of the field?   :)

Event 7: Soggy Sweat Pants Relay (all team members)

This event was strange.  We had to run ten lengths of the field, and everyone had to wear the same pair of soggy sweat pants.  Run, dip sweat pants in water every second length of field (water bucket on only one end of the field.  That means we had to quickly take the sweat pants off of one person and put it on the next person--not easy when floppy sweat pants are all wet.

So, we had a good plan on one end, on the end where we did not have water.  Next person laid down on his back, and the runner coming in would slide it so he would be foot-to-foot, feet in the air.  Then other team members would peel the sweat pants from the previous runner to the next runner, just rolling them inside out onto the next person.  Worked great.

But it didn't work so well on the end with the water.  Because we couldn't go directly person-to-person.  Had to take them off, then dip, then onto the next person.  On at least two of the changes we rushed things too much and ended up with one leg right side out and the other leg inside out, making the change very difficult.  Oh well, we still ended up with a decent time, better than average, I think, but we didn't win our heat.

Event 8: 3D Relay (all team members)

Timed event with extra points.  Four team members did the mini tricycle race. Three each doing dizzy bat and dumpster diving.  Dumpster diving was running into a storage pod filled with boxes of crap to find bonus items.

Tricycle race, dizzy bat, dumpster diving ... repeat the cycle, and finish with a fourth round of tricycle racing.

Since I hadn't had a beer yet all day, I figured I'd do the dumpster diving.  And I volunteered to go first, to tell the other "divers" what to expect when they went in.  The key was to remember what items gave the most points.  Well, I memorized those fucking things, I memorized them well!  Several days later, I still remember those damn items:

  • 30 points: Creative Loafing t-shirt
  • 20 points: Atlanta Sport & Social Club - Champs
  • 10 points: Atlanta Sport & Social Club - Purple tye dye
  • 15 points: Atlanta Sport & Social Club beer koozy
  • 10 points: Creative Loafing flyer for this event
  • 5 points: Ping pong ball
Mike did the first round of dizzy bat, and he came running back unable to run in a straight line.  I ran sideways to meet him.  I yelled to to him to just make it back, I'd run sideways to wherever he ended up!

One of our competitors was in the storage pod when I got there.  I just went straight to the back, dove below boxes, and came up with a 20-point shirt immediately.  Good enough, I ran back with that, and told Jen and Bjorn what to expect.  I think our time was good, and Jen and Bjorn both ended up with purple tye dye shirts, so there was 40 points of our final score right there, another good chunk!

We thought we did well, but were completely shocked, at least I was, when we heard we won.  We got a bag with some stuff in it.

From the website:
Top scoring team ("King of the Field") will receive:
    Team Trophy
    Champs Ts
    Team Pic in Creative Loafing
    Major Sponsor Swag

Well.  I didn't see any trophy.  Didn't get those t-shirts.  "Major sponsor swag" included two match books.  A cheap bag (cool, but cheap).  Two ticket vouchers for the High Museum of Art.  And two ticket vouchers to an Atlanta Hawks game--except listen to this fine print: "Bearer of this Certificate is Entitled to 2 seat [sic] for an Atlanta Hawks 2014 Pre-Season Game .[sic]  ** Tickets are subject to availability and excludes all marquee games."  Wow, pre-season tickets but only if they have seats available.  And is ANY pre-season game a "marquee game"??  We'll have to see if our picture gets in CL or not.

Anyway, here we are, the Kings of the Field.  Karla and Carlos had already left.  And I heard that Mike and Bjorn had gone to grab a smoke or something.  So just the six of us on stage for our moment of glory!  :)

No, I'm not trying to show off with my shirt off (as a couple friends accused me of doing).  I'm a northern boy, and it was HOT out, simple as that.

Completely off the subject, I had never heard of this park before, Old Fourth Ward Park.  Late in the day somebody pointed out The Masquerade right next to the park.  I had no idea!  The last time I went to The Masquerade for a show this "park" was an abandoned lot or a parking lot or something!  Amazing how the neighborhood has COMPLETELY changed.