This weekend, I tagged along as “team manager” to the Metro Swat New England Fitness Challenge, held at Gillette Stadium. My friends and teammates from Unleashed (as well as some I didn’t know) were competing and I wanted to be there to lend support and help them in any way I could in what I knew would be a difficult challenge. This post will be pretty long, full of pictures, so grab a blanket and curl up.
The event would start at 10pm Saturday night and end at 9am Sunday morning. We all agreed to meet up at Unleashed at 4:30 for the hour long drive up to Foxboro so we could carpool together. Tara helped me pack anything and everything we could possibly need, including some freshly baked banana muffins she made. I brought any first aid you could possibly think of, extra TP, paper towel, tons of different snacks, cases of water, foam rollers, stretching strap, extra blankets, chairs, sleeping bags, etc. If you could think of it, chances are I had it! This didn’t leave much room in my car, so I only had Chrystal with me on the way up there and she already had a ride home planned.
We met up, moved stuff around, got people packed up and took off. The traffic flowed well and we made good time. We found a primo spot in the parking lot to set up our tent and unpacked our creature comforts. Then it was tailgating time! People went all out. There was someone down the row from us with a full-on trash can fire, people brought RVs, a person had a crock pot hooked up to their car battery. You name it, people thought of it. Our spot was even super close to the portapotties, but even early on in the evening they were already gross. Luckily, they had the stadium restrooms open for us with a short walk – score!
At 9 pm they started the opening ceremonies. They had the flag presented and National Anthem and then they had the team captains all meet in the middle of the field for a briefing. Our team captain Joey got all the info we would need for the night and a printed schedule. There were 40 teams competing, broken into groups of 4 teams. At each event, you would compete against 3 other teams – the same teams for the entire night. Our group ended up not having 4 teams though, and we never found out what happened to the 4th team. We were given the order that our teams would go to the events so we could plan ahead. Each team had 15 members and, in all but 2 events, only 10 members would compete.
The order of events was as follows with whatever pics I had of it:
Keg Relay – for this event, each team member had to line up on a 10 yard line (10, 20, 30, etc). Starting at the goal line, they would sprint out to the next team member with an empty keg, pass it off, run back, grab another one, repeat until all were passed to the other end. They then had to pass them all back to where they started.
Sandbag run – each team member had to either carry a Wreck Bag (sand bag) or push a wheelbarrow full of sand bags around the inside of the stadium and back.
Sand pile migration – each team had a huge pile of sand they had to move from one end of a parking lot to another, using only 5 gallon buckets, shovels and brooms.
Puzzle – each team was given a map to a location with a bag of puzzle pieces within the stadium. They had to get all the pieces and return to the start and assemble the puzzle.
Log carry – each team had to carry a log together to a check point. At each check point, the team would kneel down and another team member would cross the log. They would then return to start, team member would cross the log and they would move to next farthest check point. At the end, they all had to lift the log up and down until each member had crossed the log.
Super tag – all teams were given flag football style belts with 2 flags a piece. On go, they all basically just chased each other in a free-for-all and the last team standing with any flags was the winner.
Operation – each team had a station with a truck tire, 3 sledgehammers, a Wreck Bag and the board game Operation. While 3 team members hammered the tire at any given time, one other team member would run with the Wreck Bag up the stadium steps, across, down and back. They then had to take a piece out of the Operation game board and then jump into the rotation of hammering until all pieces had been removed.
Dolly – each team had a dolly they had to push up one of the stadium ramps with another team member sitting on it. Whoever was pushed up last would then run back down with it and pick up the next team member. This was repeated up a few flights and then they had to run back down.
Truck pull/Tire flip – each team had to pull a cement truck 50 yards, then run back and flip a truck tire to meet up with the truck. This was repeated 4 times. This was one of the two full team events where everyone was to compete.
Stretcher – each team had a medical stretcher. One teammate was strapped into it and the rest had to carry them up several flights of stairs and then back down before un-strapping them and running to the finish.
Final Run – an approximately mile and a half run around the perimeter of the outside of the stadium (approximately mileage based off of a teammate’s pedometer). This was the other of the full team events.
My team knocked it out of the park every time, but unfortunately it wasn’t our night to win anything. I think the big win was working together as a team and becoming closer in the process. In addition to managing who was doing what and making sure everyone was as comfortable and fed as possible, I took tons of pictures throughout the night. I was also official coat hanger, water bottle/phone holder and overall goofball, trying to keep things as light as possible. This was definitely crucial in the wee hours when we all had the ability to get a teensy bit cranky.
Once the events were over, our friend Keisha arrived just in time for the end and brought everyone coffee and bagels! Everyone got changed into some clean clothes and headed over to CBS Scene for the after party, not realizing it was only 9am and they weren’t letting anyone in until 10! Everyone was severely bummed after that. Half the team left, but a few of us stuck around. While we were milling about outside, a reporter came over to ask me some questions and I begged Christine and Stephanie to come over and do it with me because I was nervous! They both ended up getting quoted in the story here.
We ended up getting let in to CBS Scene a tad bit early and found some comfy couches in the corner to crash on. We really just wanted the food they told us we would get after the event but all that was out at the time was a MOUNTAIN of cheese (not really an exaggeration), crackers and grapes. We hung out until 10:30, some drinking coffee, others their free beers, and the real food never came and awards were never announced. I went back and re-read the website and it appears that was supposed to be at 11am. I have no idea why they would possibly make us wait 2 extra hours after we’d already been there since 6 pm the night before. Out of the extraordinary organization they showed throughout the event, this was a really poor ending to it and the one really big negative I have about the whole thing. Other than that it was completely awesome. The only other suggestion anyone had was to compete against different teams in each event, instead of the same teams all night.
All in all, even despite the exhaustion, it was a fantastic night and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I can’t wait to join the team and do it next year!