Greetings brothers. I am celebrating a year of involvement with F3. It’s been somewhat a whirlwind of a year full of endeavors, opportunities I never thought would be possible. But with faith and little encouragement, from my F3 brothers, friends and family I have succeeded in things I thought were far out of reach at my age (45 when I started F3, currently I’m 46). I want to take this opportunity to say thanks to a few guys, I later learned to be called PAX, who helped me along the way.
I had been doing a good bit of walking. Usually each afternoon for an hour or so. I was wanting to get rid of some excess pounds and get into some sort of shape. But, I was missing something. I walked the same route each day and, frankly, this was boring. I didn’t want to join a gym cause I felt embarrassed and overwhelmed. Where would I start? I needed something but, wasn’t sure exactly what. I was knocking on the 270 pound door. I had been lingering around 265 to 268 pounds for quite a while. I would later learn this is part of the sad clown syndrome.
-McLoven: In the early morning hours on October 11, 2015 I was working an off duty gig at A.C. Flora High School (I am a full time police officer with the City of Forest Acres Police Department). Soon guys started showing up at the athletic fields. They started running around the different parts of the school doing exercises. I was thinking, “what are these guys all about?” I was also thinking, “Well, that looks silly.” I would later learn stuff like this is called CSAUP. And I learned a workout group is called an AO. This AO was called Battle. It’s Saturday morning I know where i would be. I’d be be sleeping in. I would later learn this would be called fartsacking. The more I watched these guys the more I was intrigued. What caught my attention the most was at the end they circled up and prayed. I later learned this is called the COT. This caught me. I stopped one of them to inquire what were they all about. I was in full police uniform. The guy I spoke to was Jason Lockheart (AKA Mcloven). With enthusiasm he said, “We’re F3.” With this kind of enthusiasm I could only think that he’s probably happy I didn’t give him a ticket or something. He wrote down the website for me gave me the paper and said, “you can’t get a beat down like that for free.” Kinda ironic that he gave me a piece of paper when usually I’m the one handing out invites in the way of uniform traffic summons for court appearances. I later learned this is called EH. I thanked him and that night browsed the F3 Nation website. I had never heard of Howard Park (AKA Jumanji). Going into the workout I knew I would be referred to as an “FNG” and at the end of the workout I would say something about myself and would get some kind of crazy nickname. I showed up the following Tuesday and have been going strong ever sine.
-Ginger: Ginger was the first guy I talked to at Jumanji. I asked, “is this F3?” He said yes and welcomed me and reminded me that I am referred to as an FNG. I felt welcome. He was eager to make me feel welcome as were the other members of the group. I would later learn they were PAX.
-Malfunction Junction: Malfunction Junction was the leader for my first workout. I later learned a guy leading a workout is a Q. I can recall telling him to not do anything to make me puke (it had been years since I worked out). He replied with a humbling, “don’t worry I won’t make you puke.” He was humble enough and honored when I invited him to Jumanji for an anniversary smack down. I’m hurting more now than when I started after having to take a few weeks off due to loosing a fellow officer at the Forest Acres Police Department and then dealing with the flooding disaster. Thanks again for not making me puke.
-Alter Boy: That first workout was a real test. Part of the workout was doing an exercise and then running a lap around the little league sized baseball field. I could only get 1/4 way around without having to stop and walk. I thought to myself, “these guys probably think I’m such a looser”, but Alter Boy returned for me. When he did I would start running again and giving some effort. What was even better he would encourage me. “Good work. You can do this. All the way through.” That meant the world to me. I realized this was more that just a free workout. This is getting encouragement and being encouraging. This is providing support and giving support to your brother. He is always such an encouragement. He helped me to VQ on January 3rd 2015. It felt good that I was doing something to help other guys.
-To the rest of the PAX on that mid October morning: Ramblin Wreck, Inuit, Catfish, Ginger and Tuff Guy (“F3 Gary!”). They too encouraged and supported me. There was no making fun of and no showmanship. There was a little bit of talking. I soon learned this would be called mumble chatter an important part of any F3 workout. I was concentrating on my breathing too much. How could these guys talk while doing this? The 45 minute time period was up. I was thankful and exhausted, however something changed in me. The time came for me to get in the middle of the circle. I said a little bit about myself, but not much in that I don’t like to bring attention to myself. I indicated I was a police investigator with the Forest Acres Police Department. After some ideas were given Malfunction Junction gave me the name “Columbo.” Much better than donut, krispy kream, or something like that. A few weeks later I learned that Alter Boy and Tuff Guy knew my late father from their time of working out at a local fitness center. I felt like they already knew me.
I was immediately impacted and intrigued by this methodology and have become a regular at Jumanji workouts. I started to see some changes. My belts needed additional holes to make my pants tighter. Pants were getting looser. Shirts were getting baggier. I went from a XXL to an XL shirt. I felt better and more confident. I felt comfortable sharing things with my F3 brothers. I felt I could ask them to keep me accountable. I feel closer to my wife and kids. I felt better physically. I went from a 42 to a 40 in the waist. I dropped 30 pounds! The habit of buying a candy bar and sugary soda at the grocery store check out line withered away. Soon Tuff Guy started up a running group for the other mornings, opposite bootcamp, at the start of 2015. I started running and found even more of a willingness to get better. I set a goal early in 2015 that I would run in an official 5K. On May 23rd 2015 I ran the Lexington County Sheriff’s Foundation Jailbreak 5K. Knowing this was my first 5K Tuff Guy finished way ahead of me but came back to help me to finish. I also did the Tunnel to Towers 5K on September 18th with Inatec along side me. These are just a few things that I saw as impossible that became a reality. Seeing members of F3 Lexington, F3 Lake Murray and F3 Columbia participate in the Palmetto 200 and the Blue Ridge Relay has been inspiring. I have logged approximately 225 workouts in the one year time frame.
During this one year time frame there has been convergences, coffeterias, Second Fs, and other opportunities to meet other amazing, yet ordinary men, who have the same struggles and victories as me.
I want to thank my wife of 23 years for her support, love and encouragement. She is my best friend and biggest fan.
I want to also thank Dredd (David Redding) and OBT (Tim Whitmire) for the vision God put in you to facilitate, in such a unique way, to help men grow physically, spiritually and emotionally. The impact you have had on me, and countless other men, to cure the Sad Clown Syndrome has been amazing and life changing. I hope to to thank each of you in person someday.
Finally I want to thank God and my savior Jesus Christ for giving me the ability, willpower, desire to do things over this one year time span that I thought impossible. With their help and the encouragement of my F3 brothers the impossible has become possible. The un-obtainable became obtainable. What seemed out of reach was within reach. Thanks F3 for a life changing year.