Damn, Grid is exciting! I have enjoyed watching all the matches live streamed on NPGL.com but Tuesday night, seeing the sport in person was a totally different story. The crowd was screaming, the weights were being thrown, and it was spectacular. I have attended a few CrossFit regionals and numerous other functional fitness competitions, but nothing compares to the high speed, total power, and awesomeness that is Grid. This sport is very spectator friendly, easy to follow, extremely accessible, and it has the potential to be HUGE.
And Grid founder, Tony Budding, has HUGE expectations. He has said in past interviews that he hopes Grid surpasses the National Hockey League. It might be a long time before that happens but I definitely foresee Grid taking over the Sport of Fitness. That might seem like blasphemy to the Kool-aid drinkers who don’t think the sport of Grid is legitimate unless Froning is in it, but I bet if they went to a live Grid match they would change their opinion.
Ok timeout for a second. I am growing tired of crossfitters saying that Grid doesn’t have the top athletes. First of all, Grid is loaded with Games athletes–just look at the New York Rhinos roster — both the second place male and second place female from the 2014 Games are wearing Rhino red this year. And more importantly this isn’t CrossFit — it is Grid. Quite simply this is a different sport. And no offense to CrossFit but it’s a better sport. It’s faster, more team oriented, requires in-game coaching, high levels of game strategy, and the list goes on. CrossFit might be more endurance based and appeal to the fan who likes conditioning, but other than that, Grid wins in every category. And speaking again to the naysayers, there are not unlimited substitutions in Grid. Moreover, athletes have to be good at multiple movements and possess plenty of gas-in-the-tank. Sure they might not be performing at the 80% mark many crossfitters do to maintain their pace but who wants to watch 80%? Grid is 100% effort and 100% badass.
Ok back to my point: fitness world, get ready for Grid. Olympic lifters, gymnasts, power athletes, crossfitters, house wives, and businessmen: it doesn’t matter, Grid will captivate you. It may take a while to win over the Dave Castro Disciples, but if you are serious about fitness OR simply serious about sport, then Grid will win you over. All you have to do is show up and you will believe for yourself.
But how does Mr. Budding get you to show up? My simple answer is “stars.” Grid needs stars. Grid needs a face. And no offense to Tony but it shouldn’t be his face. Right now if you asked me who the face of the NPGL is, I would begrudgingly say its Tony Budding. But a couple more matches like last night and it might soon be Taylar Stallings or maybe Taylar’s teammate, Lindsay Bourdon Menerey.
Yes, yes, I just named two Brawlers, and I am clearly a DC area native so obviously I am biased. But the fact is, DC likely has the best two women in the sport. This will take a while for the functional fitness community to understand, but GRID IS NOT CROSSFIT. How else can you explain “no-names” like Ingrid Kantola, who just a few weeks ago wasn’t even in the league (DC took her in the supplemental draft), beating out six times Games athlete, Christy Phillips Adkins, for a starting spot on the Brawlers?
When the Brawlers signed Lindsay Bourdon Menerey and Taylar Stallings in the off-season, I will be honest, I had to look them up to even know who they were. But now they look like the two most dominant women in the sport. According to DC head coach, Justin Cotler, “no other team even talked to Taylar.” For you Grid fans who have seen her perform, you might be shocked to hear this. And if you don’t remember, DC was one of the last teams to join the league. Most of the other teams had nearly full rosters by the time the DC Brawlers entered the league. Taylar Stallings told us last night in the post game press conference that she expected to sit out this season because no one was interested in her. And now the experts, like Gridmaster, are putting the Brawlers at the top of the power rankings because of Taylar and Lindsay.
Will Taylar become the face of the NPGL?
Justin Cotler thinks she already is one of the faces of Grid. And its hard to disagree with him. Cotler also thinks Lindsay is one of the faces of Grid. In fact, last night after the game, Coach Cotler said, “We may have the two best female athletes in the league on the same team.” And their performance last night certainly merits this recognition.
Philadelphia Founders coach, Jason Leyden, after the game called the Brawlers, “one of the strongest teams in the league.” And he specifically spoke about DC’s women, “with Taylar coming up to the barbell, we had to get to the barbell like a good 5 or 6 reps before she could, because we knew her cycle time would be so much faster…and we also had to deal with Lindsay and her pull-ups.” Trust me, the league knows about Taylar and Lindsay.
Lindsay and her pull-ups
Holy cow, this was the talk of the evening! Just listen to the Brawlers fans go wild; even some of the fans in the Philly section (pictured in back, hard to miss because there weren’t many of them) had to applaud both of these athletes.
Race 3 and 4:
As you can see, this is a race with 40 chest-to-bar pull-ups and yes, Lindsay did them ALL unbroken butterfly style in mere seconds. And as impressive as that was, she had to turn around and do 30 CTB pull-ups in race 4 (Race 3 & 4 are the same but Ingrid Kantola took 10 of the reps in race 4.) The crowd was deafening while Lindsay rocked the butterfly pull-ups. But then came the kicker: the Founders coach threw a challenge flag on the number of repetitions of the the overhead squats and the challenge was upheld — so Lindsay had to do at least another 25+ AGAIN. And that is all the crowd talked about until Taylar stole the show in the last moments of the women’s triad (race 9) with the 115 pound snatches. The Brawlers’ women went into sheer beast mode in race 9 — my favorite race of the evening.
If you are excited about Grid, or even if you think it’s lame, we still want to know. Let us know what you think in the comments section. And check us out and “like” us on Facebook, where we will soon be doing a DC Brawlers T-Shirt Giveaway.