Locked Shields of the Minivan Centurions
An axiom of military tactics is that as the lethality of weapons increases so does the distance between warriors in battle0. Before gunpowder, when the primary weapons were the sword and daggeo0r, men were tightly packed together to achieve mass and mutual protection. In addition to the blades, each man carried a shield that consisted of a heavy shank of wood bolted onto a metal boss that served as a handle. If the battle was fierce enough, the wooden part would need replacing. And it often did.
We picture that kind of soldier in an open arena using the shield to ward off blows in single combat. But that’s gladiator stuff. The real purpose of the warrior’s shield was as part of a wall formed in conjunction with the other soldiers in his unit. When two sides joined in battle, their leaders would call for the formation of opposing shield walls. Each warrior would lock his shield with those of the men to his left and right. It was from behind this shield wall that the armies would fight, massing their sword power together to overcome their enemy. The side whose shield wall was first broken was the side that was overcome. Break the wall, and you break the man. The Romans were most skilled at this. Their leaders were centurions, who commanded eighty men each. It was the centurion’s job to train his men and deploy them in combat. He picked the high ground to form his shield wall, called his men into it, and then exhorted them to keep it locked, to fight, survive, and win. On the strength of its skilled centurions, the Roman Army could survive and win against a determined and larger foe because in the heat of battle the centurions kept their shields locked. Break the wall, and you break the man.
And so it was until the advent of gunpowder, which rendered the wooden shield obsolete. Men still massed together to achieve superior firepower but with only their flesh and bones to act as a shield. While the Civil War found men massing in the open, World War I had them spread into trenches, and World War II spread them further into foxholes. Today, infantrymen fight as far apart as they can to protect the unit from the lethality of the enemy’s weapons, but they still mass fire and still retain the emotional bond of the shield wall. For while the weapons have changed, the warrior heart has not. We still fight together, behind the shield wall, or we are overcome. Break the wall, and you break the man.
There are many great Workout locations in F3Nation, but Charlotte’s Freedom Park was the first. It is where it all started. Not only is it a great place for a Workout, it also serves the community in a thousand different ways. The average man in F3Metro probably spends an average of 7 hours a week there in one capacity or another. Go there on a Saturday morning in the spring or fall and you will see the parking lots stuffed full of minivans and the fields overrun with kids playing soccer and baseball. There is so much sweet America there it will make your teeth hurt. When the world is running particularly amok, a day in Freedom is all a man needs to keep him focused on what we have here, what is worth protecting. The World may be afire, but we have Freedom, Brothers. We have Freedom. Is it likewise in every park that is part of F3Nation? We imagine so. That is really why we do this, isn’t it?
One day after soccer, Dredd was walking toward his minivan with his daughters when the youngest one asked him why there were never any police officers at Freedom Park. He had never thought about it until that moment, but she was right. Except at the front gate (enforcing the no-left turn rule), he had never seen a police officer patrolling the park. So he answered, “They are probably at other places where they are needed.” Which prompted her older sister (in her older sister voice) to say, “Yeah, we don’t need them here because we have the daddies.” Little sister replied, “Rigggght, we have the daddies to keep us safe at Freedom. The police are at the parks without the daddies.”
At that, Dredd kind of looked away so his daughters wouldn’t see the tears in his eyes, and he noticed that he could see about five other F3 guys within nine-iron distance, coaching soccer or cheering their kids on. And he knew there were another twenty F3 men that he couldn’t see from where he was standing. But they were there.
It occurred to Dredd that if the bad guys came to Freedom they might have thought it easy pickings because they would see no police on duty. But they would be mistaken. If evil came to Freedom it would have the daddies to contend with, and it would not stand a chance. While we might be outnumbered, Brothers, we have locked our shields and will keep them locked in the heat of battle. We know that to be true.
Alone, we may go down fighting but we are still easily overcome. But we do not fight alone. We fight behind the Locked Shields of the Minivan Centurions. That shield wall will not be broken.
That is Why We Are Here.
We are F3.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”
- Whenever you see a successful person, you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them.” Vaibhav Shah
- “Success? I don’t know what that word means. I’m happy. But success, that goes back to what in somebody’s eyes success means. For me, success is inner peace. That’s a good day for me.” Denzel Washington
- “Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.” Chris Grosser
- “Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” Albert Einstein
Leaders Leading Leaders
A Few Pennies Worth
1) Be strong when you are weak, brave when you are scared, and humble when you are victorious.
2) Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others.
3) Whatever makes you mad, leave it. Whatever makes you smile, keep it.