How can we speak properly of our work this morn? In nothing less than verse. For at Dromedary,
Those minutes, that with gentle work did frame
The lovely path where every foot doth run,
Will play the Qs to the very same
And that unfair which fairly doth excel;
For never-resting time leads the gloom on
To hideous mileage, and confounds him there;
Limbs checked with ache, and lusty breath quite gone,
Strength o’er-snowed and bareness every where:
Then were not summer’s energy left,
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,
Vitality’s effect with vitality were bereft,
Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was:
But pax distill’d, though they with frustration meet,
Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.
Proud of y’all.
Good news! God has provided plenty of clothes, nice furnishings, books, and toys for every needy family in North and South Carolina. The challenge? His provisions are sitting unused in other people’s closets, basements, garages, attics, and storage units.
With Christ’s Closet, the men of F3 and other volunteers receive God’s provisions from donors and give them away with love in the name of Jesus. Simple. Yet that act of love is stunning — and sometimes life changing — to those that receive. The needy are not used to being served. They find it hard to believe they can receive without cost: no money, no paperwork, no application. No judgment. Just love.
This weekend, Christ’s Closet and 50+ men of F3 (Waxhaw, South Charlotte, Metro, and SOB) and elsewhere showed up in love. The task seemed impossible. Yet, partnering with the men of Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church in Monroe, they gave away most of a football field worth of furniture and 150 bins of clothes, toys, books, and bedding. Ask them about it. The stories of love, fellowship, service, need, and joy are legion. The men of F3 and their families gave freely in the name of Jesus in parking lots. They prayed, hugged, and chatted with the needy. They delivered furniture to their homes.
I am so honored and privileged to serve with them in God’s name. Count your blessings. You have many to call such men friends. No one, I repeat, no-one, can accomplish what the men of F3 can when they come together.
The world is changed already because of them. And they are just getting started.
Written at the (winsome) request of Posse about GTE 24 – The Mutha
Our world teaches us to focus on ourselves: our reputation, fitness, looks, wealth, and power. Hundreds of organizations and gimmicks offer to help. From a distance, F3 can appear the same: “Join our free workout, get fit, make friends, and become a better man.” But unlike those organizations and gimmicks, F3 does not make you a better man through self-focus.
You might have a similarly incorrect idea about the Growruck: that it is a personal test of fitness and endurance. Again, the truth is different. It is the opportunity to serve your brothers by encouraging them, carrying their load, and sparing them pain by taking it on yourself.
Nearly 120 men arrived at 4pm at AG Middle School and lined up with rucksacks with a 30 lb weight, 6 liters of water, and other gear for a total of ~ 50 lbs. Then the PT test: 40 hand release merkins in 2 mins, 50 buttlerfly sit ups in 2 mins, and a 2 mile run in 18 mins. It was hot and we stood in the sun while each man passed or failed. Then we did exercises at stations at AG and got messed with for another hour or two. I did the minimum to pass the PT test. This generated cadre mocking, which I welcomed. Every extra rep for myself (to show how strong I was) was strength marginally less available to give to my brother later.
We lost 18 at AG from a bad mix of the heat, the PT, and the exercises. Then we divided into 4 platoons of 24-25 men each and set off for 20+ miles over the remainder of the night (16 hours total). Each platoon started burdened with sandbags of 120, 80, and 60 pounds, plus less heavy water coupons, ammo cans, and a shovel flag. Along the way, we heard about leadership, personal journeys, and some military instruction. We went to Freedom park, got in the lake for shenanigans, then went to Community Matters in part via ~1.5 miles wading through the slippery rocks of Sugar Creek. At Community Matters, we traded the sandbags for a phone pole (log), went up to the top of the Muthaship & down a couple times, and then traded the phone pole for a “dutch baby” contraption made of pallets and some kind of heavy machinery. Along the way, I made new friends and was particularly impacted by my new friend Mr. Fixit, a constant encourager. It was also good to be under the anvil with old friends like Uncle, Titan, CSPAN, and Kid Rock. I missed the opportunity to be with others in other platoons, and particularly missed not being able to lend a hand or word of support to other brothers, like my man Radar (who crushed it without me).
We headed home with a sunrise stop at the Myers Park CC tennis courts. At this stop, Moonshine got up and spoke, quoting from Romans 5 (with permission but without attribution):
We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
This passage was impossible for me to understand until I had truly suffered. Now it is impossible for me to understand life without it.
Not that a Growruck is true suffering. Nor will a Growruck produce character, even though some of the guys left feeling that way. That 16 hours was but a dim reflection of real pain.
But which of you was able to run a marathon without training? Or to excel in whatever you do at a high level without practice? That is what a Growruck is. Practice. Practice enduring a small amount of suffering in order to train in how to respond. What I have learned that is my response to the suffering of others should be sacrifice. And the Growruck was practice for that. So if you are considering a Growruck, I suggest you consider it for that reason: one type of practice responding to pain in others by taking their pain upon yourself.
You will transform that way, and in few others.
Yes, it is true. I Q’d Diesel barefoot. And I arrived at 5:35am with the truck at full throttle, though the workout starts at 5:30. But that is only because I woke up at 5:31. I apologize to everyone for that tardiness, and have no excuse. The reason (not excuse) is that I turned my normal Friday alarm off last week to take a day off, and failed to reset it properly. (Side note: I would have preferred that more of you were impressed by me going from asleep in my bed to center of the COP in 4 minutes.)
Since Diesel is a no-running workout, it was convenient to not have enough time to put my shoes on (or use the facilities, or stretch, pray, read scripture, drink water and coffee, or any of the other things I prefer to do before working out). So I kicked it barefoot. Luckily, Golden Plates had an extra cinderblock & the pax were warmed up when I arrived, so we got right to it.
First Movement: Don’t Put Your Block Down or Rest it on Anything (really)
I told the pax that they were not allowed to put their cinderblocks down, or rest it on any part of their body, and then I pho-mocked Chastain (who was cradling his block near his thigh in a restful manner) to make sure everyone understood. Some of them laughed until they realized I wasn’t kidding. Holding the block the whole time is good for your grip strength, and puts continuous stress on the participant, which is good, too. We did fairly continuous exercises that probably included the following:
Everyone tried hard(ish) to stick with it. The sanction for putting the block down or resting it was 5 burpees. But some of the guys realized that I couldn’t actually make them do 5 burpees. So the sanction was ignored by some who took the loss to their dignity instead. Others who couldn’t do burpees instead did some other sanction that they made up.
Second Movement: On Your Backs (No Touching the Ground)
The pax then got on their backs (without the block touching the ground). At first, they were glad. Then we did exercises that included the following, doing enough reps mostly to make Chastain quit.
Third Movement: Bear Crawl with the Block
No text is necessary to describe this phase
Our finale consisted of exercises like the those we did in the first movement.
Nice to get out and be with guys I don’t see every week, including a few strangers (to me).
There was a lot of bluster about naming the FNG, with O-69er claiming (falsely) that I give “bad” names. He may have meant “bad” like O-69er was stuck in the 1980s, when we used to say someone or something was “bad” but we really meant its antonym, “good.” Clever, right? O-69er also says “thirsty” when he really means desperate, and “don’t trip,” not to mean, “don’t fall,” but rather to mean “don’t stress out.”
So with all that bluster, I asked for name suggestions for the FNG, to see how good their naming-game was. I got “Julia Childs,” “hors-d’oeuvres,” and “sous-chef,” because the guy likes to cook. Since the pax claimed to have such a good naming-game, I gave them more time to make suggestions. Good ones. I waited some more. I tried to use silence to spur (good) suggestions. But got nothing. So the FNG is now named “the Bodyguard.”
The Bodyguard is a stud by the way. You can see it in some FNGs who may be surprised by the first workout, but come strong, like a Whitney Houston song.
Peace out brothers. Hope your weekends are fantastic.
Four friends posted this morning to get stronger and faster and watch the sunrise together. We did a few SSHs and some merkins, and then got to it, doing the following exercises, plus some:
Of course, I made some of these up. We generally stopped the reps for each exercise when Gerber started to fail. In between, we sprinted:
I started to lose most of what velocity I had around 30 minutes in, so called OYO: thrusters with descending sets from 10 to 1, with a sprint to the curb and back in between each set, and then snatches from 10-1, same thing (which we didn’t finish).
Very impressed with Shriver today. When Gerber wasn’t winning the sprints, Schriver was. And t-claps to Damascus, who pushed hard the whole time despite one of his feet assuming a hoof-like shape, and hitting his 4th post in 5 days.
Hope y’all have a great day.
Look, there is nothing wrong with stretching with friends. It doesn’t matter that many men choose to do it on their own time. For example, many women like to do yoga together. Dudes sometimes do yoga too. And men sometimes choose to stretch together. Sometimes they even do it instead of working out, at the time when they would normally push themselves. It’s like a day off. There’s nothing wrong, and plenty good, with a day off. You might even feel like stretching with friends is a “workout.” And hey, that’s cool. It’s a free country. People also choose to watch Jerry Springer. Or go to a Barry Manilow concert. Those are choices too.
5 men at Cowbell made a different choice. They sprinted. They threw metal. They pushed past the point of failure. Each thought numerous times about wanting to quit. Each felt like they could not do the next rep demanded. Yet they persisted and grew stronger and faster. Most will probably stretch later. This morning, they chose the cowbell. It was great to be with them.
And by the way, look out for CRS. The guy shrugged when I handed him a 40lb kettlebell, did just about every rep, and was right there for every sprint. I’m pretty sure I’ll be trying to catch him six weeks from now.