As I start my travel to work the Regionals this year it occurred to me that not everyone knows where I am, or what exactly I’m doing. Some of the morning classes may not even notice I’m gone! With that in mind I thought I would jot down a quick summary of what it is I do on these long trips.
I am a part-time employee for CrossFit Headquarters(Not Rogue), and work mainly during the competition season (Open-Games, although there is travel all year to support those.) My department is under “Games” and is called “Signage.” My official job title is “Signage Installer.” Our Signage department is pretty small with 1 full time employee (my boss), and 3 of us part time employees. We also have contractors that we hire to help during the actual events.
So what does a “Signage Installer” do? I like to say that we are responsible for making the competition look like an “event.” One of the main pieces is the competition floor, The flooring comes to our warehouse in Wisconsin completely blank and in large rolls. We divide it out and ship it to the events, and then once onsite we cut, and lay it out to the exact dimensions of the competition floor. Once laid out and put in place we create the “ruler” look that is marking it every 6’, creating a border, create a finish mat to hide the scoring cable, and make it look “pretty.” It’s extremely important that this is all done with precision, to create a safe and fair competition.
After that we cut and create all the other mats: rep mats (to show rep counts to audience) rep markers (to show rep counts to athletes and judges), start/stop mats, warm up area mats, and any other specific needs for the event(there are 100’s of these.)
Once finished with the rubber we start on branding the competition floor and venue. This includes all the barricades surrounding the floor, the flags in the corners, the covering over the rig, the clocks and clock covers, directional signage (think “ticketing” and an arrow, or “athlete warm up.” Branding and numbering of equipment (yep that tiny lane number on the Assault Runner, that was me.”
We also provide logistical support for several other teams at the event. This includes packing and transporting kits for the Directors, medical teams, scoring, judges etc….
During the actual event we ensure that the competition floor matches the diagrams, and is safe for the athletes and judges. We facilitate the name change outs, and floor change outs between heats and events.
Then the best part we break it all down in about 4 hours and load it onto a truck to go back to the warehouse or onto the next event!
I got started with this work as a volunteer, and I did it as a way to give back to CrossFit that had given me so much. I started volunteering at our specific Regional and at the Games in 2012 and did it every year in various roles (Judging, Gear, Signage.) In 2015 I became the volunteer Signage lead at our Regional, and then was picked up for the paid team at Games that year(2015.) I continued on the team as a contractor until early 2017, when I was hired on as a Part-time employee.
I have several reasons for doing it, but the main reason is the experience. It gives me the opportunity to work with and learn from some really great people. I’ve gotten to travel to some amazing places that I may have never visited(Australia 2x, Spain 3x), and there’s something exciting about the high stress “make it happen” environment of the event itself. It also provides an extra stream of income to my family, and has helped us provide us some opportunities we wouldn’t have had. I also genuinely enjoy some of the work. I love to work with my hands and build/create things, and also like to problem solve on the spot. Both of which I get ample opportunity to do, and often spend 12+ hours a day doing.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to go out and do these crazy events. I always return with a renewed appreciation of the gym and community that we have. Until then know that I miss all of you, and can’t wait to WOD with you again soon.
Week 1: East Regional in Albany, NY
Week 2: Central Regional in Nashville, TN
Week 3: Meridian Regional in Madrid, Spain