Deployed U.S. Army troops experience the intensity of CrossFit competition. Sgt. 1st Class Rafael C. Lopez reports.
We are an aviation unit that is deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. For people who are unfamiliar with us, you can view our history in the CrossFit Journal article APFT A-OK.
Our soldiers work a 12-hour day for 13 days straight. During deployment, they have experienced climates and higher altitudes the majority of them have not seen before. We started our CrossFit program about half a year ago and have been going strong. We decided about four months ago to hold our own CrossFit competition here in Afghanistan. We wanted to create something that would increase both unit cohesion and boost esprit de corps within the ranks.
We designed the event to work like an Affiliate Cup competition. The main reason why we went this way instead of an individual competition was a lack of judges and a lack of equipment. We formed groups of four soldiers to compete in an all-out war against each other. We published the idea of the competition about a month and a half out, but the WODs remained a secret to allow for the unknown and unknowable.
Smack talking began quickly, with everyone explaining why their team was better than other teams, and we knew this would be the fuel that would keep everyone burning for the battle. When Day 1 arrived, the talk was at its peak.