A year of Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith
How has this community of men impacted me, my family, and my community?
This question is what I have been contemplating since Saturday, my 1 anniversary of Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith.
It might be easy to quantify and gauge such things like weight, strength, and speed but as many of us have found, these attributes are by-products of what we have found to be the true benefit, accountable brotherhood.
I showed up on a dark Friday morning at what I would later learn is called ‘The Barracks’ but I knew it as the UofM track and field house. I had frequented the place many times before, usually for a semester at a time, as I cycled from the rec center free weights to cardio routines. The track had always been a good place for me to run a few miles, do descending sets of pull-ups, climb the rope, get a few dips in before having a priority time of prayer and reading the Word. Once, riding in on my bike, the ROTC folks almost decapitated me with a rope that they had stretched across the sidewalk. Luckily my finger bones got in the way after the skin burnt off.
I was a bit early and was greeted by the guys as they rolled in around a shovel with a flag on top. Some guy they called Toms began with strangely named warm-ups, some of which were a bit too complicated for one lacking basic coordination skills such as myself. Then . . . . I was in survival mode, a blur of 400s, pull-ups, burpees, squats, and dips. I hate puking, so I willed myself not to. They named me Laura Croft, since I’m an archaeologist, a millennials version of Indiana Jones. However, Gus objected and a verbal throwdown ensued with Toms that culminated weeks later with Gus overruling with Tomb Raider. I actually apologized to Toms as he always seemed pissed that Laura Croft was no more.
Prior to that day, I was a lone wolf, with a free weight routine from the early 90’s, shallow small talk conversations with the faithful few in the gym at 0630. I bragged to my wife (M) that guys don’t need friends, we can catch up and be cool with each other after years apart. I enjoyed being accountable to 1, myself, asking for more from the Creator to advance His kingdom but worshipping an idol of complacency. I had people I called ‘friends’, those I said hi to in the church hallways, went to their kid’s birthday parties but I missed the fellowship I had with my teammates in highschool and college, I missed the fellowship I had with my fraternity brothers, I just didn’t know that I did.
Yes, I’m thankful for the physical push. I can recall my fair share of ‘harder’ than possible q’s but the real F3 gift for me is the sacrificial relationships:
- staying with the 6 (the struggling last man) when you just want to be a bad ass and get done first. Breaks your will for him. The 6 always serves you more than you serve the 6.
- Posting for a brother. What gets you out of the fartsack most days isn’t a desire to do hard things. Its the guy you know who will be leading the workout, or the guy who is going through a hard time, or the Thursday AO Q that you know will be all alone if you don’t post.
- Finally meeting the HIM you’ve heard about. Getting that chance to fellowship and do hard things with the guy or PAX you’ve looked up to from afar but have never broke bread with.
- Welcoming the PAX or an FNG. Thankful for the Carolina brothers at Crossroads, Lake Norman, Myrtle Beach, and for those in Augusta, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
- Posting when you’re physically and mentally broken. Seeing Granola jump out of that truck with his ruck minutes before GrowRuck 12. Seeing a guy do 345 again and again for a brother who has never. Doing a late night or early early early morning CSAUP for a guy who wants a PATCH. Witnessing an AO create a special pre-BC, BC for a guy to achieve a goal.
- Being served. Having Altar Boy walk/jog with me the last 3 miles of the Crucible. Requesting prayers. Knowing others and being known by them.
Yes, the list could go on but be encouraged by these and keep moving. We need to be preparing to become leaders, yes, but we also need to be doers at the same time. These are not mutually exclusive. I’m thankful for and excited to accelerate with you gentlemen today and tomorrow.