Pacific Represented at Golden State Games

Natalie Marr ‘18 fights through the final leg of the competition.     PC: Ameer Othman

On Feb 3, Crossfit209 held its annual Golden State Games, a same-sex partner team competition with Rx and scaled divisions for men and women. The sport of crossfit is a high-intensity fitness program incorporating elements from several different sports and types of exercises. People from all around San Joaquin County flocked to compete for the $5000 cash prize tournament.

Two of those participants were from the University of the Pacific and competed in the female scaled division. Natalie Marr ’18 and Jackie Tia ’16 partnered up for their first ever crossfit competition and both have been regulars at Crossfit209 since the summer of 2017. The Pacifican had the opportunity to speak to Natalie about her experience and her thoughts before and after the competition.

“I was very nervous and intimidated going into it honestly,” she said. She explained that she was more focused on the experience and marking it as a milestone to how far she has come since she started over eight months ago.

“When I started, I couldn’t even do 50 air squats,” she said as she laughed and reflected on her early beginnings doing crossfit. This competition combined a multitude of different movements that required not only strength but stamina, agility, speed and most importantly mental strength to stay motivated. The other aspect that was observed by both students was the interesting gender dynamics that were at play not only the day of the competition, but as part of sports in general.

Both noted that there was a negative stereotype directed towards women who competed and had a rather strong or dominant appearance from their upper body. That body shape has gotten some backlash in the general public as it has been categorized as being “unattractive” or “undesirable” for females to pursue and thus women should look into less taxing sports.

Shannon Schipper, Director of the Women’s Resource Center, argues that the public pressure on women to look a certain way to be appealing to men can affect the way a woman perceives her physique and body type. The idea that women receive pushback from joining sports such as crossfit and other male-dominated sports has created an unsafe and judgemental environment for women to operate in.

Luckily, both Director Schipper and the two students brought up ways to combat this attitude and even the ground for all involved. The former pointed to the resources available on campus, such as the Pacific Recreation Center being there to provide personal training and other classes to get students more accustomed and comfortable to the gym environment.

Both Natalie and Jackie pointed to the approaches Crossfit209 has taken in encouraging both males and females to encourage one another in their health and nutrition goals both inside and outside the gym. They highlighted the positive atmosphere there and stated that they believe more women should take the opportunity to branch out of their comfort zones. Exceeding societal expectations to look a certain way, in their opinion, can have a ripple effect for years to come.

While all participants may still be recovering from the taxing competition just a few days ago, both women are looking forward to the next one to compete in, with ambitions to hopefully place next time.

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