“Both traditional and non-traditional sports find a home in Lubbock, Texas, which has all the facilities and amenities that make an event memorable.”
I pointed to the dot on the map marked “Lubbock” and looked at my assistant coach, Andy.
I saw the doubt wash over his face as he said, “That is where you want to host our competition?”
Of course it was. From personal experience, I knew that Lubbock is a hub of sports facilities ideal for baseball and volleyball events. Why not bring our event as well? I had heard of mixed martial arts tournaments there, so I knew there were ideal locations for nontraditional competitions.
“The APEX Event Center is perfect,” I said. “We are CrossFitters! We do our workouts in old warehouses and abandoned cinderblock buildings. Trust me, this place is going to feel like a palace compared to what we’re used to.”
Andy shrugged his shoulders and said he would look at it. Little did he know that not only would the facility meet every need we had, but the city as a whole would win us over by the end of our trip.
A lot like home
I have been a part of many baseball tournaments, so I had heard about Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park, located on the Texas Tech University campus. The stadium recently went through a $5 million renovation, making it one of the best facilities in the country. Lubbock is also host to the Lowrey Field at PlainsCapital Park, which features outstanding concessions and restrooms—not to mention a gorgeous football field and four locker rooms.
Once I aged out of playing myself, I got into organizing tournaments for my kids, even paying the Lubbock Youth Sports Complex a visit a few years ago. It has more than a dozen lighted softball and baseball fields perfect for large-scale events, and even better was playing in a town with an average of 263 days of sunshine per year, so we never had to worry about cancellations due to poor weather.
In 2010, I shifted my focus a bit and opened a CrossFit box. Over the next few years, I grew it to host roughly 300 athletes who are spurred on by more than a dozen coaches.
We got the itch to compete and decided to take the lead on our own event, as the closest one to us is typically five or six hours away at best and only comes around once a year. After looking over some big-city facilities, I determined we needed a place that felt more like home.
I knew Lubbock had an indoor facility that would be ideal for a nontraditional sport. Combine that with my knowledge of everything else the city has to offer, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pay a visit.
Home to Texas Tech University, Lubbock has the kind of energy we wanted. Additionally, southern hospitality is always in full swing everywhere. Everyone—and I mean everyone—greeted us with a smile as Andy and I walked the streets.
Before we even went to the APEX Event Center, I had made up my mind. Andy, however, wasn’t so sure.
“Let’s check out the facility before we start putting up fliers,” he said.
A perfect fit
I wanted to make sure we had an intimate space so we could easily manage the events, but we also needed enough room to hold the number of athletes we expected.
The APEX Event Center has two large wings, each prepped with four courts. On one side are the hardwood courts for basketball or volleyball, and on the other are the multipurpose courts, which one of the staff members said would be ideal for our competition. Additionally, she pointed out the large restrooms equipped with changing areas so our athletes could prep on-site.
“And here is the meeting room, which can serve as your operational headquarters during the competition,” she explained. She had obviously done a lot of work ahead of time to outline how the facility would best serve our event.
I looked at Andy, who was nodding his head reluctantly. “OK,” he said. “Let’s give it a try.”
We had roughly 150 athletes competing in 10 different rounds. Everything was running so smoothly that even Andy seemed to be coming around.
“The owners of this building are so helpful,” he said. “You would never know this was our first competition.”
More than once, I found myself standing at the front of the courts and watching barbells rise and fall, listening to the cheers and grunts that are the typical soundtrack of these events. Even now, months later, I smile as I can still recall the way the facility lit up and seemingly spotlighted our athletes.
Ready for round two
After two days of blood, sweat and tears, we wrapped up our first CrossFit competition. Our team celebrated with a huge dinner at West Crust Pizza. We had heard good things about the place and were eager to use our “cheat night” for a slice of cheesy heaven.
As coaches devoured the delicious food, we made plans to stay in the city an extra day to play the disc golf course at Mackenzie Park, which our server told us is a world-class, 21-hole course.
Amid all the planning and celebrations, I tried to capture feedback while the happenings of the last two days were still fresh on our minds.
The event went extremely well, and we started brainstorming about ways to make it even bigger and better next year. We discussed sponsors, ways of delivering real-time results to the athletes and rewarding them with beefed-up prizes.
“And we should invite more athletes to participate, because we do have that other wing with courts we could use,” Andy said.
“You want to come back to Lubbock?” I raised my eyebrows at him, “I thought you weren’t so sure of this place.”
“What can I say? It feels like home,” he said. “I think this is the perfect place to host next year’s event.”
That was the one certainty we decided before diving back in to our pizza and celebratory beers.
Find out how you can break a sweat in Lubbock with Lubbock Sports as your dedicated sporting events team.
From family fun to live music and cultural festivals, Lubbock’s event calendar is full of exciting activities perfect for date night or a day out on the town with family and friends.
Are you in the mood for some West Texas barbecue, tasty Mexican food, a savory steak or simply a great home-cooked meal? Lubbock’s restaurants offer visitors all of these options and much more.
Find great gifts or treat yourself at one of our many local shops.
Whether you’re in the mood to dance the night away or sit back, relax and sip on your favorite martini, Lubbock boasts an abundance of nightlife hot spots sure to fit your personality.
Rest assured there is no shortage of history and excitement in Lubbock. Discover a rock ‘n’ roll legend, the largest windmill collection in the world, historic ranch homes and much more. Lubbock attractions offer collectibles, art and memorabilia perfect for adults and kids alike.
Did you know that 80 percent of the wine grape production in Texas comes from this region? In fact, Lubbock is home to five award-winning wineries.
Art is a way of life in Lubbock. In fact, this art hub was one of the first Cultural Districts recognized by the State of Texas. We invite you to feed your creative spirit and appreciate the finer things life has to oer.
With an average of 265 days of sunshine per year, there’s no reason to stay inside during your visit to Lubbock. Relax at the golf course or at a nearby waterfront for the catch of the day. Lubbock is the ideal place for recreational activities.
What’s your perfect family outing? Lubbock’s museums and attractions are a great way to spend the day with loved ones.