I was able to spend the last week in Carson, California watching the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games. This was the second time that I have been able to go watch the games (the other time being in 2014). Over those two years, I learned a few things about what to bring (and what not to bring) as a spectator. The following is a list of the things that I suggest you take with you, but is obviously not required. Both times that I have gone, I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle in Orange County, about an hour south of Carson, and drove to the Stub Hub Center every day.
- A Backpack with a Camelback (or other brand) bladder
My camelback saved me! Lines are extremely long at the Games, especially once the teams and individuals start their competition because more people show up. I had water all day and didn’t have to worry about buying water or standing in long lines when the rest of the crowd was filling up water bottles. I also took a Nalgene bottle with me as well, but always had ice cold water in my Camelback. I carried everything I had in my backpack including all of the gear that I bought throughout the day. The backpack doesn’t have to be huge, just something that fits more than a tube of chapstick.
I got this handy thing after seeing a guy with it in 2014 at the beach event. It was an absolute game changer. I was able to take extremely detailed pictures and videos of the athletes and I swear, you could see their sweat. I had a lot of people asking me where I got it and saying they had to get one the next time they come.
3. A Towel
Yes, a towel. The seats at the Stub Hub Center get incredibly hot so you’re going to want to take a towel to sit on. Trust me. When you see other spectators in their sports bras/no shirts and short shorts try to sit on one of those seats and freak out after realizing how hot they are, you’ll thank me for having you towel with you to sit on. You can avoid the sun pretty well when you are in the soccer stadium, but if you’re in the tennis stadium (and yes, you DEFINITELY SHOULD get tickets to the tennis stadium) the seats are sitting in the sun all day until the late afternoon when they hold the individual events.
4. Cash/Visa Gift Card
If you’re planning on going to the CrossFit Games, plan on spending money. Aside from your plane tickets, rental car, gas and food, you WILL want to spend money at the Games. The vendor village has amazing gear that you can’t help but want to get. Also, you should try the food there at least one day. There are a ton of options from smoothie power bowels to, my personal favorite, BBQ pulled pork and sweet potatoes. I learned really quick that I should have bought a Visa gift card with the money that I had saved and ONLY used that instead of using a combination of my credit card, debit card and cash. It would have been so much easier to use one source of money.
Before you head into the Stub Hub Center, make sure to stop at Whole Foods, Sprouts or wherever you go grocery shopping to get snacks. Although the food at the CrossFit Games is amazing, it does get expensive pretty quick and if you’re anything like me, you are ALWAYS eating. I took stuff like sweet potato chips, pumpkin seeds (I’m allergic to tree nuts & peanuts), fruit, protein bars, Progenex protein, etc.
6. Portable Charging Sticks for your Phone & your phone charger
With the amount of social media usage, picture taking and checking the leaderboard that you’ll probably do at the Games, you’re phone is bound to die. The last thing you want is for your phone to die right as the final heat of men go upside down for their ring handstand push-ups. Portable charging sticks will charge your phone so you don’t become disconnected. Charging goes a lot quicker when your phone is on airplane mode, also! There are charging stations throughout the stub hub center so if you get some down time, make sure to take your phone charger with you so you can use that and save your portable charging sticks for when you’re sitting in your seats trying to get a picture of the events.
7. A Hat and Sunscreen
Don’t try to be the cool kid that just wants to sit in the sun and get tan all week. YOU WILL GET TAN. Wear sunscreen and put it on throughout the day. A hat will help keep your noggin from getting burned and keep the sun out of your eyes on top of your sunglasses. Many of the vendors in vendor village sell the goofy, but so functional, straw hats that you see a lot of spectators wearing. They also sell baseball caps and snapbacks in different colors and branding that you can buy.
8. A “No fear” Attitude.
What I mean by this is don’t be afraid to try new things in the vendor village. Make memories that you’ll be able to talk about when you come back. Don’t let the fear of being in public and having other very fit people watch you scare you. Do the Assault Bike challenges, drink a Kill Cliff with a muscle stim machine on your arm, try the food, do the fan challenges, PARTICIPATE.