Just go on back…
It had been a year since my youngest brother, Eli, had passed. I was sad deep down and consumed by work, kids (I had 2 under 4 and one on the way at the time), and life in general. I was extremely exhausted and overweight. I have always been a bigger (not taller) guy my entire life, but never passed 215. There I was in August 2017, 5’9″, 281 lbs, 42% BMI, XXL, size 42 pants, couldn’t run a 1/4 mile…..good God almighty. Since my brother’s passing I was trying to get back into shape and looking for ways to make it happen when my M tagged me in a Facebook post on our neighborhood group page. It was a post about some nonsense called F3 by some dude that probably thought he was better than everyone else. I wasn’t buying it. But my M nagged me and pretty much challenged me, so I reached out to Jordan (aka Gus) and got more information. I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t sleep. I was used to going to the gym in the afternoon or late at night and working out alone, avoiding any guys in the gym because I was afraid of what they might think. These thoughts rolling through my mind the night before the Memphis launch.
I roll into the parking lot, mainly seeing guys much skinnier than me, thinking I really hope we don’t run. I hate running. Even though I ran regularly in high school and college…I absolutely hate it. We circle up and this douche named Bagger Vance steps in and starts leading the group and what do we do following Warmarama??? We freaking run (edited for the reader). Then we had to partner up! Partners??? I don’t work out with anyone. Here is where I meet Antonio (aka C-Lo). Great….a guy who looks in decent shape and is going to be wishing he hadn’t partnered with me cause this fatty is going to take forever to punch out some merkins. As we start repping out merkins and derkins, I realize that the guys around me are in no better shape than I am. I struggle on through the workout to our final exercise…..the Indian Run. We head out, me already winded and on the struggle bus. I make it for my second sprint to the front and I start puking. Six times with a lot of dry-heaving. I felt like a little b….you get the point. Here comes Mr. McDouche (Bagger Vance)….”you alright?” he says. “Yea….*throwing up*…I’m good, just need a *throwing up* second”…..”Just go on back” he says. “No need to carry on, just go on back” he continues. “That mother…” I think to myself. “No, I got this” I stammered as I got up and finished the run with Bagger Vance by my side. Maybe he wasn’t such a bad guy after all I thought. We split into groups. I am in Gus’ group and we are rapidly naming people. They asked what I did for a living and I mentioned I was a biologist and worked with bats (only like 10% of my job btw). Like most people, they think of Batman. Therefore, I was named Bruce Wayne.
I made it home, barely alive and woke up the next morning so freaking sore. I was hooked. I posted at every workout I could for the next 3 months. We started opening up more AOs and Gus asked me to take charge of The Bermuda Triangle (right by my house). From there, we started rucking and attended GrowRuck 05 in Chattanooga. Another life changing experience for me. C-Lo surprised me before the start of GrowRuck with a #8 patch in rememberance of my brother. I held back tears. I don’t think I had ever had another buddy provide something so meaningful before. I wore that patch all of GrowRuck. It was my Why and it still is. Anyways, enough of the emotional sh**. Guess who I ran into at GrowRuck?….Bagger Vance. “Bruce Wayne, is that you?” he says. “Yea man” I respond. “I’m Ba…” as I interrupt him..”I know who you are”. “I didn’t think I would see you here” he stated. “Glad to be by your side, brother” he stated. At that point, I realized that F3 and the guys within it are there for you. Whether its the hard truth they are speaking to you or the hard time they are giving you. They are there to make you better.
Fast forward to the present. I’m still 5’9″ (unfortunately), but I’m weighing in at 250 with my BMI down to 30%. I can wear XL shirts and size 36-38 pants. I just finished a 5K, 7.5 minutes faster than my first 5K I ran right before launch last year. I’m balls deep in F3 and rucking. I have done more service-related things than I have ever done in my life. I have drank the kool-aid. I currently function as Ruck Q in F3 Memphis and run our Memphis Ruck Club. I am no longer afraid to jump into or lead a workout with however many guys. I am no longer afraid to pray with others or talk about God and his presence in my life. Instead, I encourage the others around me. I lead COT and prayer without hesitation. While fitness is a great deal of F3, the reason I and others like me keep coming back is because of the camaraderie and the fact that we, as brothers, endure many of the same aspects of life. I personally want to thank Gus (and others) for bringing F3 to Memphis and constantly pushing us PAX to step-up and lead. And thank you to Bagger Vance for kicking my ass at launch. It was what I needed to jump start a new life of fitness, fellowship, and faith.
“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” – Bruce Wayne