F3 Knoxville

Saturday Morning BOGO

Clear, cool, and Qless was the forecast Friday afternoon. In a perfect world, that Q would have belonged to Lilydipper, but an uncooperative hip has other ideas. Crawdad won’t stand for an open Saturday Q. He made some decisions. He placed some calls. Continue reading if you’d like the details, but the summary is that it takes two men to do what one Lily does.

We took em to 100. Tie Fighters, The Junk Science, some stretching, and 10 burpees for Snitch, who I’ve never seen come in late, ever, so he must have had some serious business to do this morning. I didn’t ask but I’m betting Cheet Sheet was similarly relieved when he arrived.
The first part of this BOGO was to discover that our Non Privately Owned Naturally Occurring Mineral Formations (NOPO-NOMIFs) were just laying there beneath the trees, as nature presumably left them. Partner AMRAPs as some stragglers caught up, curls, presses, rows, more curls. All I know is that a lot of you have way more reps in you than I do.

Catch Me If You Can w/5 burpees up baby Everest and down the Dragon. Deposit the NOPOs and begin the second part of the BOGO.

We built pyramids on the Cloud, with Crawdad bringing out his famous Louisiana Whistle. Box Jumps, Irkins, Dips, Derkins, Merkins. Unless you cut your reps, your arms were jelly.

Recovering on our feet, we made our way to the dustbowl and some Doras. 200 reps and then another 100 of whatever you wanted.

Back to AO for Mary AND a visit to the ATM.

Welcome Scott W, Billy Goat!

Your F3 friends are a deep and wide pool of help and challenge. You’d be nuts not to lean on them when you need to. It would be a waste to not be challenged by them. You’d be foolish not to step in and try to lead.

Grainger County Christmas Story

THE SCENE: Clear skies, temps in high 20’s.

Run around the parking lot to get warm; 20 Side-Straddle Hops; 10 Burpees; 10 Cherry Pickers; 10 Rockettes; 7 Wide Arm Circles Forward and Backward
Mosey to start of the Dragon Tail.  We will run up dragon tail stopping at every other light to do 10 of the following exercises (one exercise for each run up).  After reaching the top, run on trail to road, back down to lower parking lot, and back to the start of the Dragon Tail to do the next exercise.  Here are the exercises:

  • Iron Mikes (both legs = 1)
  • Big Boy Sit-ups
  • Jump Squats
  • Merkins

Mosey to stop sign that is on the northeastern corner of the admin bldg.  We will be moving in a route with signs giving the directions for exercises along the way and where we go next.  The signs will be numbered and by cones.

  • Cone 1:  Do 10 Burpees.  Then bear crawl on sidewalk heading south to Cone 2.
  • Cone 2:  Do 15 Dive Bombers.  Then lunge on sidewalk south to Cone 3.
  • Cone 3:  Do 10 Shoulder Taps (both shoulders = 1).  Then run to Cone 4 at porch of Admin Bldg.
  • Cone 4:  Do 20 Calf Raises on stairs and 20 Hello Dollies (4 ct.) on porch. Then run south on trail and back north on trail to Cone 5.
  • Cone 5:  Run down steps to parking lot below Coliseum.  Then run south up parking lot, around to southern end of Coliseum and north to Cone 6 which is by marble bench area of Coliseum.
  • Cone 6:  Do 20 Bench Dips.  Then run to Cone 7.
  • Cone 7:  Do 40 Baby Crunches.  Then run to Cone 8 which is on street near to the admin stop sign where we started.
  • Cone 8:  Do 20 Carolina Dry Docks.
  • Rinse and Repeat.

As a group we will take a 30 second gander at Beautiful Eastern TN below us.  Then we will mosey to parking lot with CMUs.

Each man grabs a CMU and teams up with a brother.  We will do Doras. While one man runs to pavilion and does 10 Picnic Table Pull-ups, the other does the exercises with the CMU.  Then partners switch. Each team will do the following exercises:

  • 100 Overhead Presses
  • 100 Curls
  • 100 Rows
  • 100 Squats

Put CMUs back and mosey to start of mini-cardiac.  Bernie up mini-cardiac to park sign, then sprint the rest of the way to the AO.

28 men with one FNG:  John Case.  He is now named Lamont.  He is the father of member Mickey.
In my work as a therapist I heard a mighty fine Christmas story from one of my patients and decided to share it to you here in February.  My patient lives in a mountainous area in Grainger County, Tennessee.  Some of you may have heard of Grainger County tomatoes.  Most are grown in the valley of the county but some areas of the county can be pretty rugged.  Here’s a little demographic news for you in regards to Grainger County.  It is 94% white, 3.3% Hispanic, and probably less than 1% Black.  If you are a black man, you may not want to get stuck alone in Grainger County.  The patient I am talking about is a middle-aged white woman and she would tell you that.

She also told me about an African-American truck driver who was driving on a winding highway through the area she lived in on Christmas Eve.  As you may recall, Christmas Eve is the day we got that snow that gave us all a White Christmas.  The highway the man was driving on was curvy and slick.  Unfortunately, his 18 wheeler went off the side of the road and landed in a deep ditch.  There was no way to get that truck out easily.  It was going to take more than one large wrecker truck to get the truck out.  It being Christmas, that would take well over 24 hours.

The truck had valuable cargo and the driver was required to stay with his truck until it could be towed.  So this African-American truck driver was stuck on Christmas Eve miles from his home – in one of the most rugged areas of “redneck country”.  In Grainger County, if you aren’t driving a pickup truck with a gun rack inside your back window, “you probably ain’t from around these parts.”  The necessary clothing for a man is a pair of jeans with a can of snuff in your back pocket.

News can spread pretty fast in a rural county and the news of the sidelined truck came to my patient quickly.  She was frankly worried about this African-American truckdriver stuck in her neck of the woods.  She was concerned someone might try to start some trouble with him.  She wanted to go out to his truck to check on him but was worried about doing so until her husband got home.  He did later that day and they went out to the area where the truck was located.

What they found was a number of “neighbors” already congregated by the truck.  They also found these same “redneck” neighbors had brought the African-American truckdriver some hot dinner, hot coffee, and baked goods to snack on through the evening.  People from all over were coming to make the driver feel as comfortable as he could.  They even brought blankets but he had those in his cabin which he was able to keep warm through keeping the engine on.  They offered for him to come to their homes but he had to stay with his truck.  By the next morning the driver had hot breakfast and gifts of goodies and Christmas cards.  When the truck was finally pulled out of the ditch, the driver went home with more hot food and goodies that were brought to him at lunch and dinner time on Christmas Day.

My patient went to sleep on Christmas night feeling wonderful about the residents of Grainger County.  Whatever their beliefs and prejudices’, they had made an African-American stranger feel blessed and welcome.  It was a Christmas that I am sure he will never forget.  And, my patient, who has had a difficult year, sang “Joy to the World” a little louder on Christmas day.  The air smelled mighty fresh in Grainger County and the stars shone brighter for the rest of 2020.

Prayers for the disenfranchised; for caregivers who are taking care of others and that they would have patience in that difficult task; for Ribbed and his wife, Sarah, after the surgery to remove the tumor by her spine; for Abacus’ mother who will need surgery on her leg; for those in F3 who have lost loved ones this year.
Reward at Coffeeteria!

Revealing Our Brokenness

THE SCENE: Cloudy, temp about 32 degrees

20 Side Straddle Hops, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 Windmills, 15 Second Squat, 10 Rockettes, 30 Second Squat, 10 Baby Arm Circles Forward and Backward, 60 Second Squat

Mosey to CMU parking lot.  Instead of CMUs, each man grabs a pair of bricks which will be along east curb of parking lot.  We will Dora.  While partner one does exercises listed below with the bricks, the other man runs to other curb, does 10 Rocky Balboa, and runs back to replace partner with the exercises.  Here are the exercises with the bricks:

  • 100 Overhead Presses
  • 100 Curls
  • 100 Rows (brick at each side)
  • 100 Triceps (brick on either side of head)
  • 100 Punches (both hands = 1)
  • 100 Wings Up
  • 100 Wings Down
  • 100 Wings Out

Put bricks down.  Mosey to Mini Cardiac.  We will Bernie to Park Sign then sprint to crosswalk.

Mosey to Stop Sign at Northeast Corner of Admin Bldg.  We will stop to do 20 American Hammers.

Mosey to small parking lot below the Coliseum.  We will do Doras again.  This time, while one partner does exercises, the other runs up stairs, left on Coliseum sidewalk, and down to the driveway to small parking lot to reunite with partner who will then make the same run.  These are the exercises the partners will work on:

  • 100 Hello Dollies (4 ct)
  • 100 Squat Jumps
  • 100 Merkins (4 ct)
  • 100 Iron Mikes (both feet = 1)
  • 100 Flutter Kicks (4 ct)

Mosey to parking drive by apartments and soccer fields. We will do 20 Bicycle Kicks.

Mosey to parking lot that is south of playground.  20 Squats.

Mosey to Mini Cardiac.  We will, once again Bernie to Park Sign then sprint to AO.

26 men, no FNGs.
The Lord is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth.  Psalm 145:18

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

And it’s no, nay, never
No, nay never no more
Will I play the wild rover
No never no more.     —  Old Irish Folk Song

I used to belong to a Sunday School class in a church that I formerly went to that had nice, intelligent, and friendly people in it.  I found myself missing something in the class, however.  What it took me some time to realize was that people weren’t opening up in the class.  They freely talked about worshipping God, about helping others, about walking the right kind of life – but they weren’t revealing themselves in the process.  They talked about how “people” needed to apply the Bible’s lessons to their lives but not about how those lessons should be applied to their own lives. They weren’t talking about the true challenges they faced in their Christian journey. They weren’t talking about their BROKENNESS.  I remember wishing people would talk from their hearts.  I remember one woman in the class being more likely to do so.  I followed her example one time but no one else in the class did.  And, after a time, I figured, “heck, I’m not going to talk about my problems if no one else does.”  And so, I withdrew and finally just left the class.  Maybe I should have confronted the class.  Instead, I found a church where people do freely reveal themselves.

Men, it is important to REVEAL ourselves to God and to others we can trust.  We are broken creatures in so many ways.  As humans, we mess up!  We find ourselves making the same mistakes, sinning in the same ways, despite our promises to ourselves that we will not do the same thing again.  I certainly find myself making the same mistakes over and over.  It as if sin is inherent in my nature.  And, if we believe the Bible, SIN TRULY IS IN OUR INHERENT NATURE.  In the Old Irish Folk Song above, the singer proclaims “never no more will I play the wild rover” (i.e. drinking so much that one gets snockered).  Yet, the song is one that is sung with the comic knowledge that one absolutely will play the wild rover again, when the hangover is gone and the temptation arises. Despite our best claims to stop the sin within us, we sin again and again.  This could be in regards to many different things:  pornography, greed, animosity, overuse of power, coveting, prejudice, infidelity, or just plain worrying too much.  If we truly look at ourselves, consider every sinful part of ourselves – we are likely to feel great shame and may want to give up on ourselves.

But, we have a great and glorious God.  We have a God that actually wants us to reveal that sinful part of ourselves to Him.  He wants to know us fully.  And what happens to us when we truly reveal ourselves to Him?  LOVE happens.  Think about what happens here in F3 when a brother reveals his brokenness to the group. Do his brothers turn their backs on Him and run away?  Do they smite him?  Do they ignore him?  I think not.  They embrace him.  They let him know that they understand.  And, as his brother, they see themselves in him.  They know that they too have messed up, have been broken.  When God sees us revealing ourselves to one another, He Smiles from Above.  He celebrates.  He say, “Now that is what I want my children to do!”  Because through that revealing, we heal.  We get the feedback of love from our fellow man and from God.  And, it when we are strengthened by love, that is when we can experience True Change.

Prayers to end racism and for our country to be more united.  Prayers for wife of Ribbed, praise for healing of Choir Boy’s wife, praise for Cap’n Crunch’s 25 wedding anniversary, prayers for Cheatsheet in the care of his mother and daughter, prayers for Veggie’s safe return back to college in the state of Michigan.
CSAUP from 6:30 am to 9 am at Asylum on Saturday, January 30.

Don’t Look Back

THE SCENE: Sunny, temps in low 40s.

Y 20 Side-Straddle-Hops, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 Cherry Pickers , 32 Grady Corns, Left Leaner (Liberal), Right Leaner (Conservative), Little of This and That.
Mosey to Coliseum. We will do 20 American Hammers and 10 Tempo Merkins.  Mosey to parking lot below Coliseum.  Each man gets a partner for Doras.  While partner runs up stairs and to driveway coming back to parking lot the other partner does exercises.  Here are the exercises that each two-man team completes:

  • 100 Squat Jumps
  • 100 Iron Mikes (both feet = 1)
  • 100 Hello Dollies (4 ct)
  • 100 Flutter Kicks (4 ct)
  • 200 Baby Crunches

Mosey to stop sign at southeastern corner of Admin Bldg.  There will be cones planted along the roadway.  Men will stop at each cone to do exercise listed.

  • Cone 1:  10 Hand Release Merkins.  Sprint to Cone 2.
  • Cone 2:  Ten Burpees.  Bernie to Cone 3.
  • Cone 3:  20 Big Boy Sit-Ups.  Bear Crawl to Cone 4.
  • Cone 4:  Run to front of Admin Bldg to do 25 Calf Raises at Steps.  Then run back to Cone 5 which is on roadway at other end of parking lot.
  • Cone 5:  Hop to Cone 6.
  • Cone 6:  Run down stairs by bat cave, head left to grove and run up top of summit to come back to this cone.  Then Bernie to Cone 7.
  • Cone 7:  20 Dive Bombers.  Butt Kick to Cone 8.
  • Cone 8:  20 Bicycle Kicks (4 ct.)  Sprint to Stop Sign.  Alternate between Big Boys and Merkins until rest of PAX arrives.

Mosey to Haslam Boulder.  30 Second Gander at River Area below.

Mosey to Parking Lot with CMUs.

Each man grabs CMU.  We will do the following exercises then run to Pavilion to do 15 Picnic Table Pull-ups between each exercise:

  • 20 Overhead Presses
  • 20 Bell Ringers
  • 20 Curls
  • 20 Rows
  • Note:  We just happened to team up and play a little game called “Encore” while in the midst of the CMU exercises.  Losers had to do some Burpees.

22 men, no FNGs.

Philippians 3:13:  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. . .

From Lyrics to “Don’t Look Back” by Boston:

Don’t look back
A new day is breakin’
It’s been too long since I felt this way
I don’t mind where I get taken
The road is callin’
Today is the day.

A patient of mine told me of a quote he heard that he wanted to apply to his own life.  The quote is, “There is a good reason why the front window of a car is bigger than the rear view mirror.”  I love that quote.  If we spend too much time looking at the rear view mirror what happens?  We crash.  We are injured.  We are not dealing with what lies ahead.

I see another patient who is frankly stuck in the past.  It keeps him from moving on in the present.  He made a decision to leave a job he hated, retire early, leave the expensive city he lived in up north, and move to the mountains of East Tennessee.  His life has not been what he had dreamed about when he made the decision.  He has struggled financially and doesn’t have as many friends here as he would hope to have.  He now regrets the decision he made to quit the job he had and move here.  He keeps thinking of how much more money he would have if he had stayed with the job.  Trouble is, he was miserable at that job and treated unfairly in it.  He had good reasons for making the decision he did.  And, he could make his life better here.  He has opportunities to meet new people, meet friends.  He could get a part-time job to bring in a little extra income besides his retirement income.  But he lives in regret, looking at the past through that rearview mirror.

Even if we do make mistakes in life, we cannot go back and fix it.  We can only learn from our mistakes and move on.  That is the key to finding what we need.  I think this is what Jesus meant when he said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) He means that if we keep looking back we will miss out on God’s heavenly blessings, on the opportunity He gives us to live in Him.

Gents, don’t look back.  We all make mistakes.  Put your hand to the plow and move forward, trusting in God to be with you along the way.

Prayers that racism would end in our country, our melting pot; for the victims of Covid-19 around the world; of praise for Lily’s wife, Jan, being cancer free; for Abscess’ sister who will be getting a biopsy to see if she does have breast cancer; and for Ribbed’s wife who has surgery near the cervical area of her spine to remove a tumor.
Bring coats for the collection we are gathering for charity.  Come on out to Panera this morning for the book signing by a fellow named Robertson Dickens (aka Crawdad).

I’m Diving In

THE SCENE: Raining, temps in 60s

20 Side-Straddle-Hops, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 Windmills, 10 Rockettes, 10 Lunges, 7 Wide Arm Circles Forward and Backward, Little of This and That

Mosey to Bottom of Cardiac.  We will run up hill and do the following exercises at the following areas:

  • Curve 1:  25 Carolina Dry Docks
  • Curve 2:  25 Dive Bombers
  • Curve 3:  25 Decline Merkins
  • Benches:  25 Bench Dips

Mosey to Parking Lot by South Ball Fields.  We will do suicides running to each of 6 cones, doing 10 Merkins, and running back to do 20 Baby Crunches.  Those who finish first get a 30 second break, then rinse and repeat.

Mosey back to the main street.  Do 20 Bench Dips off of curb.

Mosey to Parking Lot with Islands (Jinxy has named it “The Caribbean” and the name has been officially sanctioned by Crawdad) that is south of the Northern Ball Fields.  We will Bernie clockwise around the parking lot the first time, stopping at every other island to do 10 Hello Dollies, 4 ct.  We will skip around the parking lot the second time, stopping at every third island to do 10 Flutter Kicks, 4ct.  We will Grapevine left around half the parking lot and Grapevine right around the other half, stopping at every fourth island to do 10 Squats.

We will High Knee to sidewalk that leads to the ball fields.

Mosey to the Pavilion at the Northern Ball Fields.  We will do 20 Picnic Table Pull-ups then run to playground to do 10 step ups at benches (five starting with one foot and five starting with other.  Then we run back to Pavilion.  Rinse and repeat two more times.

Mosey to beginning of Mini Cardiac.  Bernie to park sign then run the rest of the way to the AO.

20 Flutter Kicks (4 ct), 50 Hello Dollies (4 ct)
17 men, no FNGs

My Christian beliefs have not come about by a sudden conversion as it has for some people.  Rather, my road to belief in God has been one full of twists and dips.  I have found it difficult to commit to God in the face of my doubts.  Is God truly there?  Did God create the universe?  Is God a good and loving god?  Why would a loving God allow pain and suffering in our world?  I have read Christian books on apologetics to help me better understand the arguments for Christianity.  But like other men with much greater minds than I, including Pascal, St. Augustine and C.S. Lewis, I have found that reason alone is not enough for me to believe in God.  One can rationalize both belief and disbelief.  I had a philosophy professor at Baylor University who once said that philosophy cannot prove that God exists – but also cannot prove that God does not exist.  God is a great mystery.  To believe, we must, as Van Morrison writes in one of his songs, “let go into the mystery.”

There is a scene I love in one of the first of the Star Wars movies, The Empire Strikes Back.  Luke, after a battle with Darth Vadar, hangs to a latter.  If he falls, it appears he will certainly die, as the crevice below seems to go on forever.  He learns that Darth Vadar is his father.  Darth Vadar offers him the chance to live, beckons Luke to take his hand and join him, proclaiming that together they can rule the Galaxy as father and son.  What does Luke do?  He lets go!  And in doing so, he plunges to the depths below.  He lets go into the mystery.  He allows the “Force to Be With Him.”  And, of course, we later learn that by letting go, he lives.

Pascal, St. Augustine and C.S. Lewis found out that joining with God takes faith – a trust that goes beyond reason, beyond rational understanding.  At some point you just have to trust what you can’t see.  So, I can make all kinds of arguments for the existence of God – but, those arguments cannot take away the uncertainty – ultimately, I have learned to say, ok God, I’m going to trust you, here I am.

There is a Christian song called “Dive” by Steven Curtis Chapman that captures the need to take the plunge if one is going to trust in God:

The long awaited rains
Have fallen hard upon the thirsty ground
And carved their way to where
The wild and rushing river can be found
And like the rain
I have been carried here to where the river flows, yeah
My heart is racing and my knees are weak
As I walk to the edge
I know there is no turning back
Once my feet have left the ledge
And in the rush I hear a voice
That’s telling me it’s time to take the leap of faith
So here I go

I’m diving in, I’m going deep, in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush, tossed in the flow, in over my head I want to go
The river’s deep, the river’s wide, the river’s water is alive
So sink or swim, I’m diving in (I’m diving in…)

Brothers, I count to 3 and I dive in, whether it makes sense or not – I dive in hoping that Jesus will catch me like he did Peter who in his fear, started sinking in the water while Jesus stood upon it.  And like Peter, I ask, “Lord, to whom else shall we go?”  I’m diving in.

Prayers for Lilydipper’s wife, Jan, who is now getting radiation for her breast cancer; prayer of praise for Choir Boy’s wife whose health is improving; prayers for young people during this pandemic, including a high school student at Hardin Valley that recently committed suicide, an adolescent that Lulu knows who is coping with anorexia, and Abscess’ son who recently got into a severe automobile accident – he is ok but definitely suffered injuries; prayers for family/friends of a friend of Pele who lost his life in a solo plane crash yesterday.

Convergence and 3rd F on Saturday, October 17, 7 am at the Bomb Shelter in Alcoa.