August 10, 2018

Was-Now: All the Effs by Teacher’s Pet

This is me on probably the third Saturday workout of F3 Memphis

How did you know to post for the first time?

I had seen Rick Kuhlman (F3 Knoxville – G6) in Facebook photos with a group of 15-20 other guys who looked like they had just gone through a mud pit or ran some ungodly amount of miles. They looked like they were spent, yet they were smiling and clearly a community. Rick is somebody a generation older than me that I greatly respect, and I also recognized a couple other guys in the picture. There may have been a caption saying something about the 3 F’s of F3: Fitness – Fellowship – Faith. Basically I made a mental note to want to know what that photo was all about – also how did the handful of folks I recognize know Rick!

On March 20 2017, I filled out the expansion form on the F3 Nation website and even sent an email to 20 or more men that I thought could be interested in a Memphis launch. I didn’t get notified by F3 that the launch was happening by F3 royalty, but happened to find out on my own through looking at F3’s website. I came and roped in at least one other guy to join me.

1st F – Fitness: How has F3 Accelerated your fitness?

Backstory: I wasn’t very competitive growing up and didn’t try very hard at sports. Parents weren’t going to make me continue playing if I wasn’t interested or giving it my all. Therefore, I only played one year of soccer, two years of baseball, and one year of middle school football. I was way too sedentary in my middle and high school days. I did play outside quite a bit growing up, but I was in the era to see video games pick up steam and stayed indoors too much. The results have been that I’ve often been overweight and insecure.

Once in college, I played hours of pickup basketball at a church lock-in. We played on a full length court and I was on a team with guys who were on the Carson Newman baseball team. I was smoked and extremely sore the next couple of days. This was the first time I remember that feeling and realizing that movement was really good for me. I  predominantly used pickup basketball, ultimate frisbee, and occasional solo running as my fitness outlets from 2007-2017. Any consistency I showed was through commitment to a Tuesday night pickup at such&such gym. My fitness too often depended on others–the assembling of a game or access to pickup. And maybe this was once or twice a week.

F3 has accelerated my fitness to where it is now an essential part of my life and not a temporary or fleeting thing. I’ve gone from being self-conscious about my weight and appearance to knowing that I’m consistently doing something about it. There’s not a cleanse or a pill or a quick fix that’s going to make me feel better about myself or improve me over the long haul. This  consistency, predictability and definitely the community of F3 has drawn me in and keeps me coming back for more. I’ll do the hard thing next to somebody doing the same hard thing with me. Going solo to a gym hadn’t done it for me. Spin classes were fun, but I don’t think I actually cared to get to know the person spinning next to me. The bootcamp that I had tried out was good, but it required an additional fee to the gym membership to even participate, let alone the fact that so and so had to be present at the front desk to even get signed up! 

2nd F – Fellowship: How has F3 Accelerated your community?

Spring 2016, I remember feeling a million miles wide and an inch deep. I’m extroverted and a connector. I know more people than I’m able to stay truly connected to.

A coworker of mine had helped me to assemble this morning guys group that wasn’t necessarily tied to a specific church or even an agenda. When I was set to get married in June 2016, he pitched an idea to this group to help me to get in better shape for my honeymoon – he called it the LGN plan (LGN=look good naked). We may have ran once or twice as a group. Given the short lived LGN plan, I greatly value the shared leadership model that perpetually carries F3.

I love that F3 is a great third space for me to workout with several people in the city that I already enjoyed being around. Additionally I’ve met people from other churches and communities that I for sure would’ve never met otherwise! I always love long rucks and 2ndF events to get time to know guys better. Many F3 guys I see as often as coworkers. In adulthood I’ve found it challenging to have those friends that you might only get to see a few times a year or every couple months for a two hour dinner. The consistency of fellowship is something good for my soul that I think myself and others might miss the most from our school days.

3rd F – Faith: How has your faith been accelerated by F3?

F3 defines faith as belief in meaning and purpose outside of one’s self. I think we see this exhibited through “looking out for the 6” or fist bumping an FNG. This is the effort of the guy who is saying – I know what it’s like the first time the Q says we’re going to do 1000 burpees or whatever and I’m going to be by this guy’s side doing it with him. I think this is something we really don’t do very often in life. We always want to be out in the lead driving the newest car and having the biggest house. We rarely stoop down low and prioritize someone on the fringes over our own livelihood. 

The community that we form with each other in the gloom creates bonds that aren’t as easily created in the mundanity of our work lives. We’ve gotten real with one another about our weaknesses and flaws. We’ve prayed for guys coming out of recovery programs, families overcoming cancer, and people searching for work. We’ve also been there to praise God for healthy babies, clear cancer scans and gainful employment. Our community is what you could call tight knit. 

There are numerous instances in year one that inform me that what we’ve got within F3 is way more than a workout group and we’re certainly not less.

Jeff Riddle
Teacher’s Pet