The temperature was perfect. The blue sky was bright with sunshine creeping over the treetops. YHC walked slowly toward the typical gathering spot, catching the bizarre yet strangely comforting sounds of MGMT blaring from someone’s car stereo.
It was deja vu.
Three years ago on a Saturday around 7:58AM, I found myself questioning many of my recent life decisions while trying to vomit as quietly as possible into a pond so that no one else would see or hear me while they did this thing they called “Mary”. My buddy, David, had convinced me to try this workout group he did, claiming it’d be a great way for me to network. I had been looking to change jobs for a few months, but my search was going nowhere.
An hour before my private pukefest, we were in a nearby parking lot lazily stretching. The temperature was perfect, though a little too humid. As guys introduced themselves while using two different names, I could hear the bizarre yet strangely comforting sounds of Oasis blaring from someone’s car stereo.
“Good morning, I’m Sherman Lee. Tecumseh.”
“Hey, I’m Adam. I go by T-Square.”
What the hell is going on? I thought. “Oh yeah,” David remembered, “you’ll get a nickname at the end.”
“Oh,” I respond. “What’s yours?”
Back at Goose Poop Island, I start praying this nickname I’m about to get doesn’t reflect my current state of physical disaster. I wiped my mouth and slowly rejoined the other men as they circled up. It was over, and I was thrilled. We counted off, then people started introducing themselves. I naively thought they were just doing that for my benefit. I didn’t realize that was part of the deal.
I took my turn and gave my name and age, then looked around dumbly. “Where ya from?” someone hollered. “Indiana,” was my reply. “Cornbread!” shouted another guy. Mumbles. “What do you do?” came another question. I still don’t know who was asking these questions. The sun was at a point in the sky that it was perfectly blinding me. I just squinted and answered the questions. “Uh, well I currently work in inside sales.”
“Oh! What’s that movie…Tommy Boy?” This came from the guy who led the workout. A short man, but he could run for days. He went by Flatline, which I felt was an apt description for what I was about to do.
“Nah, that’s outside sales.” Someone else thought that response was stupid. “Who cares, it’s still sales.” A little more mumbling, then someone finally calls out my nickname. Callahan.
Walking in the door back at home, my wife waited in the kitchen. “So, how was it?” She knew how it had been just by looking at me. I was beat.
“Al…I’m not going to lie. That was awful.”
“Oh,” she said, somewhat disappointed. She had been hoping this would be a good way for me to network as well. “Well, at least you tried it out. I guess that means you won’t be going again?”
“Are you kidding me?” She didn’t understand what I meant by that question, so I went on. “Of course I’m doing this again!”
Jog to the Sea of Booty for Good Mornings, SSH, Imperial Walkers, Irkens. Then count off, get a partner, and run to the rock pile.
As a team, complete 300 exercises each of Rock Curls, LBC’s with the rock overhead, Rock Squats, finish off with 200 reps of Homer—->Marge with the rock on your lap. One partner exercises while the other partner runs a lap. That’s 1100 reps. Nearly the number of days I’ve been a part of this thang.
Jog back to church, Billy Run to the flag, then circle up for
Term Paper led us in a little Hello Dolly (YHC was unable to speak, the PAX did a fine job on their own). Then Coney led some American Hammers.
Name-o-rama: Still 13. 6 RESPCECTS, 7 meh
Announcements: Memorial Day Murph at Olive Somethingrather School. 7am (I think)
Prayer Concerns: Fluoride’s brother, Burt’s neighbor Ben, McCants’ cousin’s family
A few quick thoughts: I had a lot of time on the road the past two days. I listened to sermons during the drive. I’ve never done that before. Usually I’d listen to music, or maybe sports radio, but never a sermon. Much less nine hours of sermons. But some of the PAX recommended it, and I’m grateful they did. As I listened to these sermons, I also took time to reflect on what things in this world mean to me. What does F3 mean to me? My family? My things?
I realized something. I never even knew it would be possible. But I had allowed F3 to actually hinder me in some way. I’ll explain.
F3 has been one of the most important things in my life over the last three years. I’ve grown both physically and spiritually, and some really great relationships have been developed. Especially the first year, my body started trimming down in a way I didn’t know was possible any more. The second year I started to (fully) come out of my shell, allowing my true personality to show through. Then, this third year, I’ve done everything I could to step up and be a leader, in whatever way I could. Even if that meant disclosing my weaknesses.
But there was a problem.
I had gotten to a point that going to the workouts, cracking jokes with the guys, pushing myself physically – that stuff was the beginning, and end, of the good that I was doing on a daily basis. I was giving F3 my all. So much so that I was allowing my effort in other areas in my life to slip. I had gotten to a point where I was prioritizing my energy toward F3. Because F3 is easy to put energy and effort into. It’s fun. It’s challenging. Aside from tired muscles, it doesn’t demand anything of me that I don’t want to give it. But there are other things in my life that demand things of me that I wasn’t giving proper attention and effort to.
If I can sum up what I’m saying in one phrase, here’s what I’m getting at – F3 was no longer the catalyst to do good in other areas of my life. F3 was the one good thing I did for the day. F3 was too important.
But that’s not what we pray for at the end of COT. We pray to be “better fathers, better husbands, better leaders in our communities.” Instead, I selfishly gave my all to F3, then expected everything else to be fine. But I was shirking responsibilities. At home. With my wife. At work. My attitude had stagnated regarding anything outside of F3.
So, that needs to change. F3 is good. But it’s not magic. Our attitude still plays a large part in how we treat our responsibilities. So let’s not allow F3 to be the end point of the good that we do – let’s let it be the catalyst again. F3 should be the starting point, encouraging us to do better at home, at work, in our thoughts, in our attitudes. If we give all we have to F3, we are woefully missing the point.
I would encourage the men of Carpex to consider this. Reflect on what this means to you. Reflect upon whether you’re giving your all to your family, your work, your relationships, your attitude. Or are you just content to give it all at a workout because it’s easy (relative to the difficulties of life)? Really think about this.
I urged the men to go home and kiss their wives for no reason. To hug their kids until they squirm away. Remind yourself what your priorities are. Don’t allow F3 to be your idol. You can love F3. You can work hard at F3. You can do your best at F3. But don’t allow that to be the end of it. Make it the catalyst.
/steps off of the soapbox
Disclaimer: I’m 30. I’m still figuring things like this out. We had 6 RESPECTs this morning, and I have to think this is a lesson they’ve already learned. Thank you for not chastising me, for letting me fumble through this, for being understanding that you once were where I am. You guys are great.
See you in the gloom.