I distinctly remember the day I first heard about this thing called F3. I was checking out at my dentist office and there were a stack of cards laying there – no one said anything, no one pointed them out to me – I just looked down and saw the cards that read Faith, Fellowship and Fitness. If there were ever 3 words that could some up a void that I felt in my life at that time, it would be those 3 words. I left my dentist, card in hand and went home and Googled what this F3 thing was all about. I read about a brotherhood. I read about crazy rain or shine workouts at some absurd time of the morning. Then, I read about Sad Clowns Syndrome.
I knew that it was something I needed to check out, something that I had to show up for and see what the hype was about. January 3rd, 2015 was the launch date of F3 Summerville and I knew I needed to get there.
I remember showing up that morning. It was dark and chilly and a bit of fog surrounded the field of what looked like 300 people. As it turned out, there were only about 95 of us. We split into groups and started working out. I remember being on the tennis courts and not being able to bear crawl 15 feet without having to stop. I remember wanting to throw up so badly. I remember some dude with a broken foot yelling at us to keep pushing, to not quit. I remember the biggest thing about that morning was that nobody was left behind. I know because I was the guy at the end of the line on most things.
We all circled up and the naming started. I had a bunch of paint on my workout pants, because that is what they were used for up until that point and as they got to me, the broken foot guy looks at me and asks me if I paint for a living. I tell him no and he goes “Whatever – your name is Picasso.” From that day forward, I was Picasso and I was hooked. I jumped with both feet in and found a world that I had been missing so badly in my life. I rarely missed a workout. I was even one of the original “double-down” guys that would work out at Seismic and then run across the field to work out with Faultline, as soon as Seismic was done. I think my best streak was a month straight of double-downs.
Things were going great. I spearheaded the launch of Tectonic and was the AO Q for the first year or so. I completed rucking events, started running and completed Halfs, 5ks, 10ks, P200 and all sorts of CSAUPs. I had lost a good bit of weight and was in the best shape I had been in since I left bootcamp 20+ years ago. Then on Jan 14th 2018, everything came to a screeching halt. The day before, on January 13th, we celebrated our F3 3rd year anniversary. We had a great get together and held a ceremonious flag burning, where some of us presented flags – myself included – and spoke of lost brothers in arms (at least these are the things that I am told happened that night, as I don’t have any recollection of that night, the day or the 2 -3 days leading up to the morning of January 14th).
The morning of January 14th, 2018 around 1:45am my then 2-month-old son woke up crying about 2 hours before his scheduled feeding. My wife went and got him and brought him back to our room to feed and he instantly fell back asleep. Feeling a bit annoyed, my wife took him back and laid him down and then came back to bed, where she noticed that I was making an odd sound.
At first, she though that it was my fake snore that I would do when I didn’t want to get up and get a crying baby, so as she joking nudged me to tell me that I could stop faking, she found out that something was definitely wrong. As it turned out, I had contracted a virus that sent me into AFIB. My wife immediately called 911 and began performing CPR. The paramedics came and took over and for 47 minutes that night, my heart could not maintain a pulse. They worked on me and worked on me and refused to give up, when under normal circumstances they would have called it within 5 – 10 mins of trying.
After 47 mins of CPR, my heart came back and was able to maintain a pulse. They placed me in a medically induced coma for 4-5 days in hopes of saving any brain function that may have remained after being depleted of oxygen for so long. They woke me up from the coma and 4 days later I was released back home to start the long road to recovery.
I tell this story to highlight how large a role F3 played in me still being alive – from the support for myself and my family while I was in the hospital to the encouragement and support that I’ve had this past year. I’ve been told the waiting room of F3 brothers and friends that were there just to support my family, even if they could not get in to see me, outnumbered other families 10 – 1.
F3 brothers showed up so big that to this day I am still in awe. I remember stories from my neighbors who were driving through the neighborhood on Monday the 15th and had to pull over on the side of the road because they were sobbing at the display of 40 something men in the median in front of my house praying for me at 5am. I had F3 brothers at my house pulling trash cans around and taking recycling to the dump, so it was one less thing on my wife’s plate. I had an F3 brother that ran point on communication with my boss at work, so that my wife would have one less update to have to talk through. There was a F3 “Pulling For Picasso” BBQ fundraiser that my brothers put on for me to help raise money, along with a go-fund me account that was setup for my family. There have been countless one-on-one conversations with F3 brothers, some of which I consider close personal friends. The amount of support received from F3 during that time and in the past year has been mind blowing.
I remember speaking to the first responders a few weeks into my recovery and I asked them if it was normal to work on someone like they did me for such a long period of time. They all gave a resounding “No.” So, I asked them why they kept going despite the odds. Their response was: “Because your body was in such good shape, that it never stopped responding and fighting, and we decided that as long as your body was doing that, we would do our part to help it along.”
First, I owe my life to the Lord all Mighty for His hand over me, my family and the medical team that night.
However, I am 100% convinced that had it not been for F3, that card I found 4 years ago, and the elements of Faith, Fitness and Fellowship each showing up in such a huge way, I would not be alive today. F3 has always been and will always be so much more than just a workout. I am eternally grateful for this Group of men that call themselves F3.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
Leaders Leading Leaders