Thursday, June 23, 2011

Recap and Respect

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to take a small break from school to go and put myself on the pain train for a few days. I don't know if it can get much better than that. Not only was I able to participate in the 2011 South Central Regionals but I also had the opportunity to be with my family and close friends that I've missed so dearly in the past month or so.

I must commend all the participants this past weekend. The female individuals, male individuals, and team competitors did an outstanding job not only competing but enduring that Texas heat and showing unreal acts of camaraderie and sportsmanship. I can't forget about the judges, media team and staff volunteers as without you guys this event wouldn't have run as smoothly as it did.

First and foremost I want to congratulate Zeph Littleton and Andy Lewis, you guys were awesome and there is no one more deserving than the two of you.

I also want to thank everyone who came out to support me this past weekend. I met a lot of new faces and am overwhelmed with the support and community that exists in the South Central regional. It was an honor to simply be in the same area as all of the athletes competing. Congratulations to everyone that participated and a special congrats to the Crossfit West Houston athletes who really came in this year and did nothing but live up to their potential and open some serious eyes.

Leah Shullenberger placed 9th in her first standard competition. The girl was second guessing competing a few months out of sectionals, now she's the 9th fittest woman in the region. Sorry bout it.

The Crossfit West Houston team of Ryan Hopkins, Kristen Mullen, Garrett LeFevre, Papi Bejarano, Steph D, and Tricia Jackon did nothing but impress and represent West Houston to the fullest. They ended up taking 8th out of about 30 nasty teams in the region. Big ups to all of them as they truly left it all out there and showed what they were capable of.

And last but not least how can I forget about my brother, the big behemoth, Aryan Barto. The dude did nothing but impress all weekend. So inspiring to watch a guy his size move the way he does. He came into the weekend an unknown just wanting to have a "good time" and left with everyone knowing his name. He's big, he's fast, he's strong and he wears shirts with loosened neck ties. The dude keeps it casual but obviously from this weekend, he means business. It was a real treat to be able to share the floor with him on Day 3 and I have no doubt in my mind that he will be in contention for a podium position in the years to come.

Props to Bayou City Crossfit as they put one heck of a team together. An unreal balance of strength, speed and skill made for one heck of a team that will be fun to root for out in Cali at the end of July.

These competitions that come around every so often are a beautiful thing. It's not so much about going toe-to-toe with the fittest athletes that Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi has to offer but it's about the time spent with them in between workouts. The time spent just picking each other's brains, laughing, shooting the shit and having a great time is what I look forward to the most. What makes these athletes so valuable is that they're damn good people. I can't emphasize how great it was to catch up with all the old faces and meet a ton of new ones and I look forward to what the future holds for us all.

I want to give a special thanks out to my family. I love you guys and thanks for everything you do for me. Big Robert Exline and my West Houston family, thanks for coming out to show your support, I miss you guys dearly and wish you all the best. My newly acquired Crossfit NOLA crew, you guys killed it and I'm so proud of you guys. Syn and the NWA crew for the awesomely controversial gear that I will never stop rockin'. And lastly thanks again to everyone else for all the kind words, gestures and support that you showed my brother and I all weekend, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Crossfit would not be crossfit without you guys.

With that being said, I've taken a few days down to recover and by recover I mean not doing shit. I'm trying to let my body heal up a bit before I get back on the grind and get this thing going. I'm really looking forward to representing the South Central region out in Cali at the end of July. I really believe we've got some heavy hitters and I know this is the year we're going to make a name for ourselves. I'm going to do everything in my power to best prepare myself to compete against the best come July. I'm hungry to prove myself and ready to lay it all on the line for the South Central.

Here's an interview I did with ESPN 97.5 on Day 2: