The Project: Kuwait

The Florida Grid League: A High Stakes, High Excitement, True Team Sports League

January 22, 2021 Meg Guthmiller, MATHER WISWALL Season 2 Episode 218
The Project: Kuwait
The Florida Grid League: A High Stakes, High Excitement, True Team Sports League
The Project: Kuwait
The Florida Grid League: A High Stakes, High Excitement, True Team Sports League
Jan 22, 2021 Season 2 Episode 218
Meg Guthmiller, MATHER WISWALL


GRID is the future of team sports. Men and women competing side by side with a variety of specialties and body types working together in the ultimate race-based game of teamwork and strategy.

The sport was introduced in 2014 by the National Pro Grid League with world class athletes competing at the pro level of GRID. 

The Experience

  • A very fun and rewarding, coed team sports, full season experience
  • Feel the fun of utilizing your physical strengths as the best way to contribute to your team. Don’t stress your weaknesses
  • Compete in 2 hour, high speed, high excitement matches in front of a crowd
  • Represent your city and help strengthen your regional fitness community

The Sport

Two teams race head-to-head to complete a series of weightlifting, body-weight, and other athletic elements. The FGL uses two versions of the sport with GRID 6 (6 person teams for anyone) and The FGL Season (14 person teams for higher level players).


Teams are composed of an equal number of male and female players who can be:

  • bodyweight specialists
  • heavy weight specialists
  • generalists who can perform a variety of movements

Players use the strengths that suit them to best contribute to their team.

What wins races

Speed, strategy and teamwork are used to complete the races in the fastest possible time.


Two teams race in two lanes. Each lane is divided into four quadrants. Two teams perform at a time on the GRID head to head, which is very exciting.

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Show Notes Transcript


GRID is the future of team sports. Men and women competing side by side with a variety of specialties and body types working together in the ultimate race-based game of teamwork and strategy.

The sport was introduced in 2014 by the National Pro Grid League with world class athletes competing at the pro level of GRID. 

The Experience

  • A very fun and rewarding, coed team sports, full season experience
  • Feel the fun of utilizing your physical strengths as the best way to contribute to your team. Don’t stress your weaknesses
  • Compete in 2 hour, high speed, high excitement matches in front of a crowd
  • Represent your city and help strengthen your regional fitness community

The Sport

Two teams race head-to-head to complete a series of weightlifting, body-weight, and other athletic elements. The FGL uses two versions of the sport with GRID 6 (6 person teams for anyone) and The FGL Season (14 person teams for higher level players).


Teams are composed of an equal number of male and female players who can be:

  • bodyweight specialists
  • heavy weight specialists
  • generalists who can perform a variety of movements

Players use the strengths that suit them to best contribute to their team.

What wins races

Speed, strategy and teamwork are used to complete the races in the fastest possible time.


Two teams race in two lanes. Each lane is divided into four quadrants. Two teams perform at a time on the GRID head to head, which is very exciting.

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Thu, 1/21 8:06AM • 52:31


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somebody out there has a close relation to somebody that's playing no matter what background or size or specialty they are. He loves to lift heavy you have somebody to look up to in grid, you love the bodyweight movements, you have somebody look up to him grid and really kind of be impressed by the level of perfection they have on their individual specialties



when Maddie had brought it up, you know, Florida grid League, and I was like, no Maddie, I was like really done that was done in like 2016. And I was like, there's, like elasti. And there's nothing that happened there. And he was like, No, there's like, nothing going on. I'm like, what, and then started looking into it. And yeah, it's been fun to do a little this research, Danica and I are going through all the teams and the coaches and everything like ahead of time and figuring out the structure of the teams. And then seeing the specialization was something that was really exciting because you just know how overwhelming and burnt out people get trying to do all the things right like you can do anything but you can't do everything seems



like it's a lot more popular. A lot more people are talking about it beyond those teams and do the things that Yeah, I'm really good at bodyweight. But I could never do across the competition ever, or any lifting up because I'm just don't have that strength. But want me to go out and join a team. I think that's really awesome that you get to have that specialty that people get to do what they love to do and what they're really good at. So that's pretty



cool. It's more like a sporting event that you're traditionally used to going to you go for two hours, you have some beers your screen, you cheer for your team, and you go home. It's a ton of fun. All this and more in today's episode,



Was there another episode of the project, I am joined with my co host today, Danica Louis from Seattle, thank you. And we are joined by Mather with law of he's the co founder and head of competition and marketing of the American grit Association, and also the director of competition of Florida grid league. So we're gonna get into what that all is and what it means. But neither. Thank you for joining us and walk us through a little bit of your background. What got you to what you're doing today?



Sure. Yeah. Well, thanks for having me. I'm super excited to be here. So I am originally from Philadelphia. I've been involved with CrossFit since 2010. So I just had my 10 year anniversary in CrossFit. Congratulations, thank you. It's a long time, it kind of blew my mind when I found out but two years into my CrossFit journey, started doing CrossFit competitions in Philadelphia that evolved into more specialized competitions where gyms would compete with one another and it kind of evolved into a season. And we started going in the direction of evolving a normal CrossFit competition into what's more like a sport season. So there's a Regular season Playoffs and championship and there are quote, unquote, teams. And so we're developing this concept. And then we heard about Tony budding coming out with the idea of grid and said, Well, that sounds even better than what we were doing. So let's go check it out. So we went to the original meeting. And that was really the entrance into the sport of grid for myself and my sister, who is my partner in all this. And I guess that's the beginning. I don't know how far into detail you want to go. But fast forward, here I am in Florida, you know, still involved with grid.



That's amazing. So is that first meeting that you're talking about with grid? Is that was that the national pro grid league? When I was starting it? I was like, 2014?



That's correct. Yeah, it was in Texas is the first meeting was the national pro fitness league at that time. Okay. And that was kind of like the very first vision iteration of the sport, which is obviously very different than it is now. But um, but that's how I got involved in then. Yeah, through a chain of events ended up in Florida in a whole new version of the sport. So that's awesome.



How do you like Florida?



Actually? Yeah, it's I never saw myself as a Florida guy when I was in Philadelphia. But now that I'm in Florida, I see myself as a Florida guy.



you've embraced the Florida man vision now you're like, this is my life. I love it. Yeah.



Yeah. You know, it's once you're out of cold weather for an extended period of time. It's really hard to go back.



So we both came from Yeah, Kuwait facto winters over here. So yeah.



willingly will say it



was a great area to so that's really nice.



It's perfectly Great. Now through marches like perfect weather. It's the best you can imagine.



Yeah, one of my favorite breweries is their funky Buddha's out there. I love that one, but no.



More than a couple of times Yeah.



Love it. Oh, my goodness. All right, awesome. Yeah. So now that you've kind of given us a little bit of your background going into grid, I guess, for the people listening, can you explain I guess exactly kind of what grid league is, you know, just overall, like, how are the competition set up? What's the training kind of what's the structure for the teams, you can just dive in a little bit for us?



Yeah, for sure. So to sum it up as simply as possible grid is taking a lot of the movements that exist in the quote unquote, fitness world today, largely in CrossFit, but also in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting gymnastics, and we even developed a lot of our own movements within grid, but you take those movements in create not, you know, I liken it to the American Ninja Warrior obstacle course, where you use these movements as kind of barriers through getting through the race. So it's not about fitness, it's not about determining, you know, how fit somebody is, or anything related to being well rounded. It's you've got a certain set of movements that need to be completed in order to finish the race. And you have a team of people that can complete those movements. And you have to figure out how to do it as fast as you possibly can with that team of people. So every grid event consists of two teams, 18 person teams, there's 16 active for a given match. And there's 11 of these races that I just described against, with those two teams going head to head, and each race is structured differently. So there's certain movements that are involved, there's certain utilization of the grid, which is the playing surface that we play on that coincide with the rules of each individual race. So some races are bodyweight bias by nature, some races are strength biased, and you know, I'm not going to go into detail I can, if you want me to, but there's a lot to explain there. But I think the main principle is that each race, you know, you use your players differently within a given race. So you have some players that are more biased towards strength, they're bigger, you know, they tend to be able to move a barbell fast, but they're not going to, you know, do too many pubs, because, generally speaking, it's a different body type. So we have a very wide range of types of players that play the sport. And it's very strategic, because the coach has to figure out how do I use these individual players with their individual strengths to best Eve the race at maximum speed, and you have to take into consideration things like fatigue, communication amongst the team, of course, how the structure of each individual race plays into it. And then any external factors, like if somebody messes up, or if they get a fault, which is a bad rep, and so tons of factors involved. But from a spectator perspective, it's very simple to watch with no knowledge, because it's start at the start line, you finish at the finish line. And it's easy to see which team is ahead. But when you're actually the coach strategizing how to perform the rays, it can get very in depth as far as the strategy goes. So it's got all of the makings, the structure of a really exciting sport. And the main reason for that is it was developed to be exactly that. So the original vision of the sport was for spectator purposes. And it's designed to be fun to watch. It's designed to be a media product. And it just so happens that it's incredibly fun to play as well. So yeah, that's kind of the high level overview of how it works. And it's structured like any sport, there's teams that represent cities in Florida, and they compete in a regular season. And there's a match record in depth teams with the highest record go on to the playoffs. And then you know, there's a playoff and and then a championship winner from there.



Oh, amazing. I love that you brought the spectator aspect of it, because Danica and I were talking about this a little bit before and some of the events that we had put on like the Battle of the Easton in Kuwait. That was one of the main things is how do we make this exciting for the spectators like people don't just want to come and watch somebody work out. Like what, what can make it exciting and fun. And so one of our solves for that was the start of an obstacle course race, which was one of the events for the athletes. And we created a course that spectators could do before the event as well. So that way they see them doing, you know, something that was similar to what they had done, and making it more of like a fitness festival aspect. And I know that that led into also some of the vision of the Dubai fitness championships that a lot of our listeners have been to and seeing is having it on that field where you can see specifically not really a field but like in any event, right is being able to see like who's ahead and knowing exactly what's going on. So be said the teams are 18



correct. I see a full team is nine men and nine women.



Okay. Okay, cool. And then for every event, I guess, is it broken down? How many people are in each event? Or does it change like the number of people that you get to throw into each event or I guess like,



how is that all broken down? Yeah. So each race You can have up to five men or five women compete in individually. And so it's kind of like soccer, where you have a starting roster. And then as you go through the match, you can substitute in other players for your starters. And those starters have to leave with the exception of one wild card. So I don't want to get too far into the details and get too overwhelming. But the wild card player is the only one that can come back into a match after they've been replaced. So it really allows for specialization. Yeah, but um, but yeah, so to answer your question, five men or five women for any given race, but some races are gender specific, so only females are only males? So it just depends on the race format. Okay, cool.



Okay. And for a given event, I guess how long and how many races? Are you doing? I guess, is it like an entire weekend? Is it like, you just go out one day, we're just gonna get out as many as we can. Like how I guess, how do you kind of structure that?



Yeah, so it's much more similar to a baseball game or a football game, a matches are about two hours. And they're very high energy, and there's very little downtime. So one of the big focuses we have is minimizing time between races. And that means our equipment crew and everybody moves really quickly. But we will change out the race setup between races as fast as we can, yeah, average race side, length is between two and five minutes. So they're really short, which means that they are very close a lot of times at the end, and there's a you know, between two and four minutes of rest time between races. So it's high energy, high impact for those full two hours, people say like, their heart rate kind of gets up, their energy level gets up, and it never goes down. Whereas in CrossFit competition is very different structured very differently. There's a lot of downtime between events, you know, several times. Yeah, exactly. And there's advantages to that. It's just very different. But in our case, it's more like a sporting event that you're traditionally used to going to you go for two hours, you have some beers your screen, you cheer for your team, and you go home, it's a ton of fun.



That's pretty awesome. It's nice that it's just two hours for the athletes also. days on days, or



Yeah, I mean, it can be a grind. I mean, what I love about CrossFit is there's nothing like the notion of finding the fittest on Earth, or the fittest in a given competition, I think that's really cool. And you need to have rest in between a variation of types of events to allow that to happen to its fullest extent. But this is completely different. It's not competing with that in any way. It's just a different take on things. And I'm a huge sports fan, the people that are a part of our league generally are sports fans. So it's kind of combining the two worlds. Really, the only similarity to CrossFit we have is some of the movements like a snatch or a pull up. But like I said, we don't care about fitness is structured completely differently. So that's really the only similarity. It's the same level of similarity as gymnastics to CrossFit or Olympic weightlifting into CrossFit, it's completely different. So we're not a direct competitor in any way. In fact, we see us as another way to use CrossFit and to benefit somebody to experience a high level competition that they might not be, you know, suited for, with their certain body type, whatever. So, like I said, it's much more like a traditional sporting event in experience. And I think our fans really love that part of it.



I think it's so relatable to like, you know, what they do for their own fitness and health, right? Like they see athletes doing things that they, you know, are either working towards in the gym or Have you ever experienced doing whereas like football and baseball games at a certain level, right? That's kind of like a previous experience, I guess from childhood or you know, like younger but like, this is stuff that you're actually you know, doing now or participating in now. So I can see that kind of being extra exciting or motivating into watching and I can think of that like for myself when I was heavily into CrossFit and going and watching some of these competitions. It was like super motivating to get back into the gym and to be healthy.



Yeah, yeah, for sure. And I think one of the coolest parts about it is athletes are often specialized. So we have huge athletes we have like 300 plus pound athletes in the league. And we have really small players in league under like you know, around four foot so that comes with different advantages but what it also comes with is somebody out there has a close relation to somebody that's playing no matter what background or size or specialty they are, if you love to lift heavy you have somebody to look up to in grid p love the bodyweight movements, you have somebody look look up to in grid and really kind of be impressed by the level of perfection they have on their individual specialties. So that's one of the best parts about it is having a player that somebody can relate to no matter what background size, gender, ethnicity, everything. It's very diverse in that regard.



I'm going to call out your strength specialist coach Taylor Stallings because Danica and I've been obsessed with Watching videos of her and seeing her left and we're like, holy shit, it really was very impressive. Listening oh my gosh, Wednesday. Totally, totally. She's a 10 time powerlifting world record holder, US National Champion Olympic lifter CrossFit regionals competitor, national program league MVP. I was just so impressed just the first photo ever. I was like, holy shit. And I love the strength side of things. So Danica and I have already been kind of designing our perfect world. Good team and Danica gets all the air squats and running and I can do all the heavy lifts and things that's like heavy as hell and under five minutes. That's like what I want.



That's my specialty.



A lot of love from people. She's quite amazing. Impressive. Ask me in person for sure. So she's the best we're lucky to have her in the league. Sure.



If we're understanding this correctly, for how the league is kind of set up so that a ga is it's like the NFL. Right. And then within that,






leagues, yeah, it's not the future.



Kind of. So the NFL is the league in which the teams exist. Okay, so the real comparison to the NFL would be the Florida grid, because that's the entity in which the team's biggest. sociation is the overarching entity of the leads. So the league's right now in the way that we're trying to roll, the new version of the sport out is the leagues are regional, so everybody can drive to where they're going to compete. And that was one of the big changes in the business model that we made when we kind of read designed it. And it's what we hope to do is replicate this regional league format in several areas outside of Florida, obviously. And then once that's established, have an interconnected level of competition amongst the leagues. So the general structure doesn't really relate to existing sports as they are now as far as team sports go, because there's generally a national level of every sport, but you know, there really hasn't been any team sports that have come up in New popularity in the past, you know, 100 200 years, it's all been more individualized sports. So we feel like this model is the way to do it more of a grassroots way and make a barrier of entry to participate low enough that people don't have to know exactly what's going on, and how exactly how to play the sport, they can more on a whim, go check out a match and and see what it's like. And once they do, they fall in love. So that's really what's been the secret to our success. As far as model goes so far, and where we hope to continue until, you know, we have enough of these regional leagues, where the higher level of competition is really what the main focus is. And that will hopefully where the professional portion of the sport comes back into play. Okay.



So yeah, so you kind of want to keep it more like the leagues more on regional basis. And then in the future, there might be kind of that higher end that you're going to get to where people from different leagues may be competing,



yes, yeah. So we're very fluid in the way that we want to make this happen. Our main goal is just to make the sport exist, we have proven the regional model we know it can exist in in other areas. And so that's the main focus. Now, that doesn't mean that, you know, if some big opportunity comes down, where we could kind of skip a couple steps and go to a higher level right off the bat, then we would but the way our trajectory is now and the way that we see it as being sustainable in the long term. Our goal is to keep these regional models fairly low in overhead, and really easy for people to participate in. We just replicate that as many times as we can.



Yeah, no, that that definitely makes sense to you, as far as kind of talking about, you know, especially even on like spectator side, athlete side, what do you think is kind of, I guess, like the limiting factors for a faster growth? Or what do you get any, like, kind of negative feedback on like, what people think is going on? Or, you know, kind of not like, what's kind of preventing you think like an explosive growth all of a sudden?



I mean, that's actually an easy question to answer. And the answer is that you have to have a level of connection with the sport to really appreciate what it is on an individual level. So we've seen really, you know, what you would call pretty rapid growth as of late, but it took a while to get there because it really took a long time for people to develop a connection enough with what it actually is and how they can participate in it to be able to do that. So it took a lot of groundwork as far as having very small local events, say, hey, come put a little team together. Just try it out and have fun when you do you fall in love with it. You learn enough about it to get more involved. And that's how we've been able to continuously grow now. I think once we Proving out that we have the meanings of a substantial fan base that can be leveraged and then scaled, then you know, the only addition that's needed really is the investment to take it to a bigger level, whether it be through a network or some sort of financial investment. But I think that's really the only kind of explosion variable is having somebody with the means to have large impact through a network or through finances to take this thing and scale it a little bit. But we don't need that. We don't know we don't require it. And we see a lot of benefit to the grassroots region by region model, because we develop raving fans in you know, within those regions, and there's plenty of need, or there's plenty of ability to build upon that exclusively. And so, financially, we're fine. We're growing every way we need to and, you know, we're just we're in it for the long haul. We're in it for the right reasons. This is not a get rich quick scheme, you know?



Yeah, no, of course not. Yeah. So I will having been from Florida, I have heard of Florida Gridley. But to be honest, I wasn't I kind of thought it was just a shoot off of some sort of CrossFit thing. I have my own at the time when I was those probably before I even moved to Kuwait, honestly, or sometime around there. So I know people who have gone to Orlando I know they've like talked about it, because they've gone to some of the gyms out there and everything. So I had heard of it. But yeah, I didn't realize kind of the detail. And it looks like it at least in Florida, it seems like it's a lot more popular, a lot more people are talking about it, which I think is pretty cool. So that's awesome. And to have it, it seems like it is you you are catering to some people who maybe thought that they wouldn't compete before you know, or they wouldn't be doing this. And now they get to be on those teams and do the things that Yeah, I'm really good at bodyweight. But I could never do across the competition ever or any listing cop because I'm just don't have that strength, but right want me to go out and join a team. I think that's really awesome that you get to have that specialty that people get to do what they love to do and what they're really good at. So that's pretty cool.



Yeah, two things that you just said, I want to highlight. One is what you just said is the perfect scenario, or you hear about this thing, or you see a clip on Instagram, and you're like, Oh, yeah, it's some sort of offshoot, it's some bite off CrossFit, whatever, blah, blah, blah. And there's so many of those types of things out there that exists in the world today. It's totally understandable that like, why would you take the time to learn about how it works, and you know, what is motivated by what makes it different? And, you know, I would fall into that category as well. So it takes repetitive exposure, it takes you know, somebody you know, it takes being really impressed by some of the players that you see, to take that next step and say, Hey, what is this? what is actually going on? Is this something I would understand, do, I think it's cool. So it takes 10 2030 repetitions of seeing it and you know, seeing something that kind of intrigued you, where you take the next steps to learn more about it and figure it out. So you know, we've kind of reached this homeostasis, where this happening and a lot quicker level where people are like, wow, you got to check this out, you know, I totally get this now. And now I can tell my friend about it, that kind of thing. But it takes a while to get there, where at first, it's just really hard to turn over. And then the other thing that you said was, you know, having something for a wider variety of athletes. And that's one of my favorite parts about what we do is because there's so many people grinding away in CrossFit gyms, you know, putting hours and hours and hours of training in, we're literally world class athletes at what they do, they can move a barbell better than anybody, they can do backward rolls better than anybody, they can say some of our best clips are bar facing burpees, we have athletes that can move incredibly fast on bar facing burpees. And it's something you would never think is like a big deal. But if you post it on social media, it spreads like wildfire, because it's super impressive. And these people are just incredibly athletic at these certain modalities. And so they develop all of the ability to do that. Just like any CrossFit athlete, they just don't have the well rounded capability an athlete does. So I love having this opportunity to showcase some world class athletes in their own specific ability that you know, might be limited by their body type or one specific movement that keeps them from being amazing at CrossFit or weightlifting or gymnastics. But in grid, they just Excel, you know, to no end.



Yeah, that's awesome. And the whole idea of having it be a team, and especially co Ed, I think is really awesome. I mean, you did say like there are some competitions that are you know, gender specific, or you know, but for the most part to be able to, you know, there's not there's not a lot of team sports, or it's always co Ed at all times, you know, and you're competing as like a robot. Yeah. So it's, it's nice to see that and to and not to not only take, like you were saying, there's also that technique that's involved, that coach has to know every single person's strength when they're going to burn out when this is going to be what time you're going to be doing those changes. I mean, there's the mental part of it too. That is really cool. So it could be that maybe you have like in that one, maybe you should have taken that part of that race or whatever, but you didn't, because maybe there was a miscalculation on the Coach's Eye, you know, whatever it is, I think it's kind of cool that you are all one, you know, so it's at the end of the day, it's the whole team that, you know, is in it together. And I think that's just to me is really cool.



Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's the fundamental reason that team sports are such a big part of our society is because you know, that team represents everybody that is in the city that they're playing for. And you get so much benefit from working together on a team playing a sport, you know, you would meet adversity together, you, you know, each play your individual roles, all of that exists on our team, like any other team sport, but the big factor that's different is that many women are together in the same team sport, and that doesn't exist anywhere. The closest comparison is like doubles, tennis, or, you know, CrossFit, where there's teams, but it's no two and two, it's not people, and there's not such a range of capabilities. So it just takes everything that's really impactful and important. And the reason that we put our kids into team sports as children, and basically doubles it, because not only do you have the different abilities on your same gender, you have the different abilities on the opposite gender that you're also working with, your coach has to manage a much wider range of personalities because females deal with adversity different than males. And it's just taking that need and necessity to communicate effectively to be able to work with others to you know, check your ego, to know when to sit on the bench, all of the things that create so much benefit from playing team sports and doubles it because you've got men and women together. It also like I said, creates that capability for now women can be more involved in team sports, there's a reason team sports are male dominated when it comes from a spectator perspective to because there's no women to watch, you know, this is why female soccer is coming up because now this is a sport and female basketball. So it doubles the target audience as far as who's the optimal spectator? And I think, you know, when people are always like, why do you try so hard? It is why do you think it's going to be so important in the world? You know, what is it about the sport that means so much to you, and me and I talk about this all the time that we think the number one factor to the reason this sport is going to be successful in terms of being a large impact on society is because many women are together and equally represent team sports rather than being male dominated, and you look at the direction of society, and everywhere else in society equality has caught way up to where you know, there's equal rights, there's equal attention in ethnicity in gender equality, except for team sports. You know, it's the last one is lagging way hard behind team sports are male dominated through and through. And if you look at the new sports that are coming up right now, in tennis, well, Ted's been around forever. But you know, Venus and Serena Williams are probably the two biggest tennis stars are two of the biggest tennis stars today. In CrossFit, the female athletes get way more attention than the male athletes on average, you know, American Ninja Warrior, there's been like two competitive females and they get way more attention than everybody else. Even in UFC, you know, it's a little bit lagging behind, but the females in UFC get a ton of attention to so it is catching up. And I think the fact that this is a team sport that exemplifies holding men and women together on the same team at the same equal level, just like in, in normal life, like we have to work together in normal life. That's the reason we think that this sport is the modern version of team sports. This is the way society is going. It's also where society should go, this is the way society should be. So we feel like this is helping accelerate society in a positive direction to where there is true equality, there is true diversity, because we have something that people get behind and are focused on and root for and are excited about that represents that



I love hearing all of what's gone into the thought behind that because that that makes it so much more exciting for for me now just looking at it like understanding all that and understand even like from the top down, right? It's you and your sister, there's this masculine feminine balance up top right that it trickles all the way down into how the teams are developed and gone. And I just, I can feel how connected you are to the vision of what this is and talking about, like the slow growth and doing it right and not you know, guns blazing going to, you know what you want for that ultimate vision of really giving it the attention that it needs in that grassroots way to help build this culture and build this model around that that is just incredibly exciting and empowering to hear. So thank you for sharing all that. That detail behind what's gone into that. My question is we've got the eastern Gridley, we've got the Atlantic gridlock, and we've got the Florida Gridley winter. Y'all come in West. what's the what's the There's no



way they pay honestly. Yeah, right now, Florida good league is the main focus, the Atlantic and the eastern league. Basically, we're just getting started before COVID hit, we want to expand as soon as we can, but also sustainably. And that means we've got to find the right partners to make it happen, we've got to find the right process to make it happen. we're much more focused on longevity event speed, we think that anybody that's going to start this sport anywhere else is going to be at a huge advantage doing it with us, because we wouldn't be here if we didn't go through the NPL experience, and it's a really difficult thing to do. And the more we experience it, the more we feel confident that that is the case. So we feel like we're going to encourage the growth of this work in any means that are necessary in any area, until we can have the resources to bring it all together. So we want to be where anybody that is qualified, and that is, you know, kind of meets our ideals, and that we think we can work with on a daily basis is, and that includes anywhere in the world, as long as they have the support structure around them to do it. And so that's kind of where we're at, you know, we don't have a we must have leagues by this date. It's more of a, we're gonna keep doing what we do. We're gonna keep building the sport and growing the fan base, and then we take the opportunities as they come. Yeah,



yeah, I was. And I think it's smart to just like you kind of mentioned, I mean, most people do, they kind of run out of the gate, and they just expect just this immediate, like, it should just be popular. I think it's cool. So everyone should love it. And why isn't it growing, and they put too much in too fast and overwhelmed. And then you get a collapse instead of a growth. So to hear you know that you're doing it a little bit slower, you're basically nurturing what you know, is working now fixing any tweaks before you start to kind of expand. And as you mentioned, I think it's great that you can kind of take that time to make sure that if you are going to move forward or are going to be partnering with other people are opening more legs, that it's the people that have the same values, like you did that with the starting, you know, because that's also another problem. People just dive in, and then you have someone who's Well, that's not exactly my vision. Well, now it doesn't match. So you know, it's so I think it's kind of good to hear that.



Yeah, I appreciate that. Yeah. I mean, the only way we've landed on this is doing it the wrong way enough times.






And we feel confident we know what does now and so we're just gonna take it like it comes to appreciate your validation in that for sure.



Oh, it's funny, cuz when Maddie had brought it up, you know, Florida grid League, and I was like, no Maddie. I was like, Gridley exam that was done in like, 2016. And I was like, there's, like, elasti. And there's nothing that happened there. And he was like, No, there's like, nothing going on. I'm like, what, and then started looking into it. And yeah, it's been fun to do a little research, Danica and I are, you know, going through all the teams and the coaches and everything like ahead of time and figuring out the structure of the teams. And then seeing the specialization was something that was really exciting, because I just know how overwhelming and burnt out people get trying to do all the things, right, like you can do anything, but you can't do everything that this and that goes for business that goes for fitness, parenting,



for everything. Traditionally, in sports, you don't have to do everything. I mean, I think that's part of what makes CrossFit so unique and so powerful and so impressive, because there's no other sports in the world where you have to be as well rounded as you have to be in CrossFit. But in basketball, baseball, football, you do your one thing really, really well. And that's your contribution to the team, you know, and that's the way most team sports are built. So we just following that model that is proven to exist with a different take. And we use a medium in which we can allow men and women to both participate equally. So that's really the difference.



Have you seen any interest with this or anything that is starting like internationally as well? Do you know of anything going on like this and other countries where they've dabbled into it? Or tried it? Or maybe looked at like program league or what you're doing now and tried to start something internationally?



Yes. So I feel like just for the listeners that don't know DNV GL we've referenced it a couple times was the original version of of this sport, and like you guys have hinted at it was guns blazing, go big or go home. And that was the approach. And at that time was the kind of height of all of that at one point there was 13 different leagues that existed, some of which were in Europe, in Australia, I think it was, well all that went away and boiled down to Florida. And we started very small build to backup. Well now we're at the point where we are in talks with several groups outside of the country about how to bring the sport to their area in Europe, in Australia, Africa. Even in the Middle East. People have I've expressed a lot of interest. So it is coming very soon. You know, COVID obviously hasn't helped, really, in that regard. But yeah, there's a lot of interest in a lot of different areas to bring this to the region. How have you



had to that's exciting to hear, first of all, that it is already getting some traction. And with the same model, I imagine of like that grassroots of like starting in your region, your area, building up the hype, and then being able to expand from that, how has COVID shifted? I guess, maybe some of what you thought of like with the spectator experience, or even competition as well for like, this next year? Like, what, what's going to happen this next year? What are how are things adapting?



Um, yeah, for 2021, it's still a little up in the air for 2020. You know, we had to stop our season like any other sport, we do have an event coming up in December, that is basically like a boil down 2020 into a single weekend event, we have all eight teams that will be there, it'll be a single weekend tournament, it's really just to get everybody together and have some fun and play the sport in 2020, the best that we can. But for 2021, we our normal season is summer. So we have a little bit of time before that season would take place. We have a lot of several big events prior to that, that are scheduled to happen, that would be good indicators of what can happen and what can't. But right now our hope is and our goal is to get back to somewhat normal operations in the summer of 2021. With with our full season,



I hope everything comes comes smooth. By that time, that's cool that you've thought ahead, at least to that and have a little plan of action and still being able to bring something in 2020, despite everything that's going on, give an opportunity for people to still be there for your community and the people that are that are closest to you. That's cool.



One quick element for relevant to COVID is the team talent acquisition process. So what would be kind of like the draft in any other sport? Yeah, we call that the American grid trials. And it's an online thing. So it's also global. So we had people from all different countries participated in it last year and the year before. And so the American grid trials will happen in the spring. And that can happen, you know, during COVID, because it's online, but we release a series of tests that relate to specific roles on the grid. And you know, people participate in the tests, and there's cash prizes for each winner, but there's a series of them, and then the teams take that information and use it to recruit for their teams. So we don't have a draft because it's regionally based, but teams sign players that they make agreements with to come play for. That's amazing.



Oh, so how many people? Did you have participate in the last last round of that?



I think it was about a little under 300. Okay. And that was last year. So



that was the second year that you had done it? Yep. So the process is typically there's the online portion and tests that people like video sent to you, you verify is it, you know, sort of along those lines? And then is there like an in person level to it, then where they come in and try out with the team or like personalities? like is that part of?



Yeah, I mean, you said it earlier, the personality, the, you know, camaraderie, the strategy, the coach, being able to manage the team that's as important as you can do physically on the grid. So the personality of the players is really important. But you know, given today's society, some of the best grid players aren't necessarily local. So you know, in Florida, when teams can, if they find somebody that they really liked through the American grid trials, they'll invite them to a team practice, or they'll have a mini kind of tryout. But you know, we've had players sign from Japan, from South America to these teams. And obviously, you can't meet them ahead of time in person. So you know, it's through the phone through through messaging, and you do the best that you can to get a sense of their personality and how well they would play with others on the team. And if they're good enough, you take some risks. So So wait,



so I have a question. So if you make the team one year, you're guaranteed a spot again, or is it like can you go



the way it works is when you sign with a team, you can only play for that team that year. And then with any other team for any other reason. At the end of the season, there's typically about a month period which is called the rut resign period and teams they have first shot to resign players that are on their teams. So they can you know, pick who they want to resign for the following year or let go or whatever. After the resign period is over. You know, it's a free for all anybody can go anywhere and you can basically recruit any past team member. So that's kind of how we work it.



So it is a lot like sports.






We've had lots of players go to different teams. moved between teams. We had one player so far that won a championship on two different teams. So and we, you know, we've only had three quote unquote championships. So it's pretty cool to see.



That is awesome.



I'm curious to know what are some of the most maybe unexpected things that you learned since you've started with Florida Gridley, maybe one of those big lessons we talked about, you know, you're learning from from failures and things like that. But what's been one of the things that's maybe like surprised you the most that you didn't expect or an unexpected event with it that has transformed into something really



successful? Good question. Yeah. Okay. So here's one, the kind of financial model of this sport is that it's prized. So that, you know, like any other typical CrossFit competition, the winning team gets a financial prize. But we started developing these means of players earning sponsorships. So every player gets a uniform. And this was an idea of one of the team owners shout out to Nick beach, we give them a spot on their uniform where they can sell a logo. So you know, they get a certain amount of photography, videography with them and their uniform, they post about it. So we've tried to create a lot of different opportunities and revenue. And we do league wide sponsorships, where we hire players to help promote products and our partner brands and things like that, through photoshoots, and videography, shoots and things like that. So we've really tried to create a lot of opportunity for the players, we didn't anticipate or plan on doing that originally, but it's been super successful. And it's been a lot of fun to see players kind of take it and run with it. And some of them have really good amount of money doing that and create a lot of benefit for the brands that they partner with as well, because we do big focus bars is highlighting our star players like any other sport and getting them as much exposure as we can and giving them tools to create engaging media on their own social media platform. So that was unexpected. It was an idea that just kind of came up. And it's really been awesome to see since



Yeah, big perk for someone who gets in on the team to be able to Yeah, yeah, foster some of those relationships. I



love that. Yeah, sounds cool.



I got two other questions. And they're kind of just more like personality ones. for you as well. I've just been really impressed listening again to like the vision of everything that you've put in behind the thought that's gone into how this is structured and how it's going to grow. But what like, What's something your younger self would be surprised about your life today? Whether that's like, you know, like, Did you always see yourself doing something in like, fitness and sport industry? Or what's what's something that your younger self would be surprised about? About what you're doing



today? Good question. I've always been entrepreneurial. And I've always been into sports. I love sports. I don't think I ever really thought I would be in sports, per se. And uh, certainly before I got in CrossFit wouldn't have anticipated being as in the CrossFit as I was, wasn't in. So I would say the fact that you know, I am involved with the sport that's basically involved with the fitness community is probably pretty surprising to my younger self, the fact that you know, I'm as into business as I am now as certainly wouldn't be. The best answer I can give is, you know, I definitely didn't envision Oh, and being in Florida, I never would have guessed.



headlines. You know, people really give Florida Time I Saw. Like, I had to tell people, they're like, Wait, do your friends know you're from Florida? Like I started dating? So Florida, right. I'm like, Oh, my goodness. It's not that bad of a thing here.



Guys, I definitely get it. I mean, I understand this stigma associated with Florida. But um, and like I said, I'm a Philly guy through and through, like, I never would have, you know, seen myself and you know, warm, there's like this. I don't know. Like, I don't want to say weakness. But now you go to a warm weather state. And so you lose some of your edge, but a little bit. But now I'm here and now and I don't care if I lost a match. I'm good. I like it.



Sounds like Yeah, it's definitely uh, I find that it's surprisingly laid back and relaxing. Honestly, people are just kind of like, I mean, you know, they're like, whatever flip flops a tank, let's just roll on out and have a couple of drinks. No worries. Whereas I don't know, like here living city life. It's like, no, you're gonna walk fast. You got to get to where you're going. We got this, this this. It's totally different vibes for sure. Kind of Yeah,



I would have to say that. The what you just described is the antithesis of what I am. As far as I'm not. I'm not gonna just chill very often. I'm not I'm a go getter type of person. And that was the hardest part about Florida was you know, I came to a couple of business meetings. In the first few months I was here and people didn't show up. And I was like, this doesn't happen in Philadelphia. You know, people don't return your calls. Last You know



try business in Kuwait



from Florida and I was frustrated in Kuwait



okay i don't think



it'll be a while probably before we see Gridley happening there and inshallah is all of it and shall is always God willing and that's how you know Danica and I'm working in the fitness and they're trying to organize you know maintenance appointments and whatnot and we have an all women's gym. It was only man needs to come in to do something with lighting heating or whatever and you're trying to schedule an appointment you have short windows between classes, and it was always Oh, yeah, inshallah nine o'clock and it was like, No, dude, we're on a tight schedule. You cannot show up when you want to do here now. Right? We learned a lot of patience. I think so I



don't Yeah, I was like, I don't yell a lot in the phone. But there was some times I was like, stop saying inshallah I need a Yes, yes. No, inshallah. Yes, I'll be right now.



Is that mean, maybe here?



It means God willing.



It'll be a little bit later in a



at once. If they say at once. It's like, yeah, it's like a maybe if they say it two to three times. It's pretty sure like, it's not gonna happen. It's like inshallah, inshallah. inshallah.



It's like, your friend, when friends on Facebook, it may be to your event, you're like, they're not coming. I was like, Yeah, okay. They're not showing up. All right. Yeah. That's the polite way of saying no,



yeah. Oh, man, that was the hardest transition for me. I've gotten used to it and figured out how to navigate it now. But really, the the, the setting and the weather is what I love about Florida. Yeah.



I would love to see some, some of our budding athletes from the Middle East show up and the trials for you all, or at least, maybe some of the online training. So I noticed that I did want to touch on that as well. On the website, there is online training programs that I'm assuming is that for someone who is hoping to go to the trials, or is that just for like spectators, or Who's that online training program for



really all of the above, the reason that we started it is because we had so many people asking about it, and kind of demanding it insane, you know, I want to do more with this sport. And I want to see what it's like to train it is very different than your general CrossFit training, or general functional fitness training. It's kind of like training for MMA, there's a ton of people out there that train for MMA, they have no intention of getting in the ring, and fighting, you know, I mean, it's just a style of training. So there's a lot of people that that are in it for those reasons. But there are a lot of people that want to play too. But we also have a great education component of it, where we basically teach you a lot of the rules and strategies associated with the races and in the matches. So if somebody resonates with the sport on any level, and they want to try a new form of training, or maybe they are one of those body types that we talked about before that's more conducive towards weightlifting or more conducive towards bodyweight, we have a track specific for that, and kind of allows them to focus on and develop their natural strengths to the max they can be versus focus on being well rounded. It's just a different take on it. But so yeah, so there's a wide range of, you know, desired outcomes when it comes to who's in the training. But those are some of the reasons we've heard so far. Yeah. And Taylor is a coach, by the way she



got on the program. I was like, I'm gonna have to get a program. Out of my, my competition days, I think, but I don't move too fast these days, but maybe I'll start.



Yeah, well, we'll send you some to try if you want, it's gonna be awesome. It's not late program, which you can, yeah, works you pretty good. But it's a lot of fun. It's very different. It's definitely you know, there's not much conditioning in the traditional sense. But by the time you're done the sessions, you're pretty white. So well, I



keep telling everybody, I moved to Sun Valley, Idaho this year, it's a ski resort town and I I moved from the Middle East and Minnesota, I don't ski so I'm gonna give it a try and see how I'm gonna do it. But I just keep telling everybody that my winter score is I'm just going to be in a gym and get jacked. So I'll gladly take out that online program.



I can't even do that. Because like, no, but now my eyes are closed again. I'm just like, here we go. Like, dang it.



For sure.



My final question I have for you, I guess is just what's a question you wish that we would have asked you or what's something you still want people to know about? Florida? Good



late. It's good question. You did a really good job covering all the different dimensions. I guess I would say, you know, a lot of people ask how they can get more involved. And I will say that we want everybody that says oh man, that sounds like fun or oh man that really resonates with who I am or I love sports. I love CrossFit. And this is the perfect mix. Whatever reason you think, you know, that sounds awesome. Get in touch. We're very responsive. We're we're, I forget the word you just said. But we will get back to We won't say that. And there's so many different ways to get involved. So whether it be, you know, helping out remotely, or just learning more about it, and we can send resources for that we're really all about educating people on any level about what we are as a sport in how you might want to be more involved. And we hear all the time from people that have gotten more involved, how impactful it's been on them, just because of all the reasons that we've talked about. So



I'll just say as far as getting, having them reach out to you just going on the website doing contact, what's the best way for them to reach out?



Yeah, website contact is fine. dm us on Instagram, tik tok, wherever, wherever you see our logo, there's a way to get ahold of us. And you can we'll get a response. I love that.



Thank you so much for joining us mother. And



yeah, well,



that is so exciting to follow. I'm glad that it's been revived. And that I know as much as I do about it. Now it's gonna make it much more exciting. I think just knowing some of that ultimate vision behind it. So thanks for sharing all that with us.



Absolutely. I'm very grateful to be on. And thank you for showing interest and looking to learn more. And there's anything else that we can ever talk about, I'd love to.



Absolutely, we'd love to have your your coaches on to talk about any of that specialization and training or as you guys are growing, and things you want to get out there for the world to know. Yeah, definitely keep us in the loop on that. We'd be happy to have you all back out and keep us in the loop on on what the next thing is.



Yeah. Why don't we Why don't we see if Taylor might jump on with you in a nice time hack? Yeah.



I'm so excited. Yeah, we



just submitted our stocking and following her on Instagram now



where she lives up to the hype, and she's, she's a great guest for something like this. And she gives you a lot of insight on the sport itself from her perspective. But also, she's her background. Everything you've been through is super interesting. So she makes a great interview. So the tournament is coming up, but right after that, I'm sure she'd be into it. So



awesome. Yeah, I look forward to that. Thank you so much Mather. Thanks



so much. been a blast. I appreciate it.



Thanks for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please head over to iTunes to subscribe rate and leave a review. You can also find us on Instagram at the project Kuwait. Thank you and join us next time