Always 70 and Sunny
Always 70 and Sunny

Grow Together


89 growth-oriented men loomed large in the light of day to accelerate themselves as leaders. Temps were the same as always…sunny and 70. More or less, here’s how the dogs barking in the Carytown shopping center parking lots tell the tale:

COP: Bono led a quick circle up before leading a jack-rabbit speed mosey to the closer circle for some warm up time. Exercises were burpees, burpees, and more burpees. 10, 8, 6, 4, and 10, if memory serves.

Brisk jog around the Great Lawn and then to the Amphitheater. During the run, learn about another F3er and share a story of your own. The topic was falling down and getting back up – metaphorically. YHC thanks Puffs (of Roanoke) for some good chatter along the way.

Amphitheater: Again, a variety of exercises…spotlight on the bear crawls down the amphitheater and the crawl bear back up the amphitheater. YHC has never worn shin guards to Dogpile or WDog, but will consider doing so going forward.

Circle up on DREDD for a mixture of merkins (regular, wide, diamond), flutter kicks, mountain climbers, and Q-ing instructions. YHC tips his hat to Hitchhiker for leading the group in a set of 10 clapping merkins, which shall hereafter be called Hitchhikers.

For many of my brothers, YHC included, there were a challenging few moments here. More to follow below.

Mosey to the Great Lawn for a series of team events.

First event: Team Hopscotch Races. Line up in 3 teams. Each team forms one line, facing east. Team members separate themselves side-to-side by no more than 5 feet. Assume the plank position. First man on the North End of the line bunny hops over every other man on his team. Upon reaching the end of the line, that man assumes the plank position. Every other man in the line takes his turn, building the line closer and closer to the Carillon. First team to reach the south hill of the Great Lawn wins.

Second Event: Any Three Ways You Can. Same teams, this time heading North. Every man on the team must use 3 methods to migrate the long length of the Great Lawn. Running of any manner is not permitted. All other methods are acceptable. One many on each team must be carried the entire way. A team finishes when the last member of its team reaches the north embankment. Biggest losers do 20 burpees. 2nd Biggest losers do 10 burpees. Winners plank.

Third Event: High knees and down to the ground. Slaughter led us in a 2 minute reminder that high knees are challenging to keep up, and dropping to the ground is easier than getting back up. YHC was thankful that temps were in the 30s, not the 80s.

COT: Number-am-a, Name-a-ram-a, a dude in a really bright shirt took us out.

Announcements: GrowRuck tonight, 18:00 at Dogpile. Bring a 30 lb rucksack, yourself, food, and $20 in a plastic bag (to take a cab home).

NMS: First, YHC apologizes to every man who attended, but is not listed. YHC is doing the back blast to create a forum for the guys who were present and may have thoughts / comments to share. Please add anyone who attended in the comments.

Second, YHC apologizes for the sermonizing hereafter. Our resident pastors were not all present, and for YHC the following is cathartic. Here goes:

It has been YHC’s absolute pleasure to be a part of this group for 2 and 3/4 years. This group has reinvigorated YHC’s life, and it has helped focus more purpose into each day. YHC started the run over from ETs with Saab. We talked about our expectations for the morning and the possibility that the physical side would be challenging. Alas, for YHC – and perhaps for many of us – today ended about leadership, both successes and failures. On a personal level, YHC heard things from the Q that simply were not consistent with who we are and how we want to be represented as F3Nation. Rather than rehash the situation, YHC will stick with Flatline’s motto: only those who post know. YHC’s interpretation was that a poor choice of approach from the Q to another man started a downward spiral that the Q did not know how to back out of. Instead, the Q hit rock bottom and continued digging. Later, there was another comment that YHC found frankly baffling regarding the language skills of a PAX member. YHC intends to address both situations with the Q today. YHC encourages other men to do so as well, if they feel so called.

That said, YHC’s friend Hardywood has provided a critical leadership lesson, an awakening really, over the past few years – YHC will summarize this in the form of a question: “How can we, as men and as leaders, transform a negative situation into a positive opportunity for learning and growth?” Today gave each one of us a real life experience from which to grow ourselves and others.

One of the 5 principles of F3 is that it is open to all men. That is the spirit of F3RVA. We welcome, and we encourage. And, sometimes, we roll our eyes and wonder. YHC encourages each member to remember who we are in everything we do and always be true to our principles.

A second part of F3 is that we “Leave no man behind, and leave no man where we find him.” That lays on each one of us the burden and the opportunity to provide leadership to each other – whether to a new member or to F3Nation’s Nantan. No man among us is perfect. The Nantan bears a special spotlight, illuminated more brightly than those on any of the rest of us. We may not be sure of what to do when a leader publicly tumbles. YHC hopes each of us is reminded today of who we are and of the behaviors, words, and leadership we seek to represent. YHC encourages each of us to pick up our brothers when they stumble or fall behind. And, YHC also notes…heavy is the head that wears the crown. When a leader of 18,000 men stumbles, he faces a challenge. Let’s help him up.

Lastly, YHC wants to thank Hitchhiker for his leadership. When put in an extremely challenging position in front of 88 other men, Hitchhiker stood tall when the rest of us were taken aback. Life threw a curveball your way. Rather than stumble, Hitchhiker dug deep and led us. As someone noted after the workout, clapping merkins or clerkins or whatever they are called will hereafter be Hitchhikers for anyone in F3RVA. Great leadership, my friend. Thank you.

Let’s grow from today.


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  1. I was only there for COP before I had to go to work, but I know what happened and I wouldn’t trade this group of men for any other! Well done, Hitchhiker! I am glad to call you my brother! Nice backblast, Upchuck!

  2. Well said Upchuck, thanks for redirecting us and pushing us all to learn. Hitchhiker, you’re a great dude and we are glad to have you! I love the clap merkin renaming.

  3. Hitchhiker, we love you dude. You handled that admirably.

    As ugly as it was, I’m sure the Q did not mean for it to go like it went and got answers he wasn’t expecting and it snowballed on him.

    We can grow from it, Q included.
    Thanks for this, Upchuck.

  4. UpChuck, well said, Thanks for taking the initiative and writing the backblast.

    Mr Roper, Heal quickly, and continue to watch out for Hardywood.

    Hitchhiker, Your leadership skill shined brightly today, Kudos to you my friend.

  5. Well thought and well said. If leadership truly is about growth and humility, then hopefully we learned a great lesson today as it relates to both. Hitchhiker is our brother. He’s one of us. It makes no difference where he is from or how he got here. If he ever falls, we will be there to pick him up. Today however, he dug in and stood tall. He showed all of us how leaders handle adversity. How leaders don’t need to be loud and abrupt. How leaders lead by example and not words. Frankly, that titles do not equate to leadership. I could not be more proud to call Hitchhiker my brother. F3RVA is a special group of men who shine bright, and today Hitchhiker, you shined the brightest. We see you brother, and we’ve got you.

  6. There so much about today that angered me. But Upchuck’s wisdom reminded me of Christ’s call to look at the log in my own eye before I look at the speck in someone else’s eye. I will say that I’m glad F3 RVA chose to go it’s own way with the culture, principles, values, and the way we treat people. What was on display today does not represent what’s in my heart, how I feel we should treat fellow brothers, and not what true servant leadership is. Hitchhiker (and to all the others who were yelled at, embarrassed, or insulted) thank you for your example of true leadership and grace in the face of adversity. I do feel the Q owes an apology to make right his wrong. But I trust those who are wiser thab me on how to best ensure that happens.

  7. Well said Upchuck and every other PAX who have commented. The brotherhood chain we have here in RVA is strong and will not be broken. It’s an honor and privilege to be a link in that chain. We know who we are and it shows by the support here. Heads high men we all are blessed to have the support of each other!

  8. Agree with making a positive and accelerating leadership. That is the intent and purpose.

    Looking back I think the Q intent was to demonstrate standards and some things that are important to the Q. Taking the opportunity with a group that does not get many visits and has representation throughout / across the comonwealh: DC, Roanoke, Hampton Roads. Some of us don’t feel we need a reminder of the standards. Fine. Some do. Fine. Personally, YHC was reminded of some things long forgotten. Example Hot wash 3 up and 3 down is not something we solicit openly (many do privately). In the moment , what would make the Q better, faster, and more efficiently? Can you see how the the PAX improve from seeing the Q embracing the feedback? Meanwhile those that have not yet led as Q can now see the standards.

    The Q did that at the end with the hot wash. Some commented that we could have better used the opportunity, but I think it’s ok to address it privately. How would it have been better if the Q fully explained the mission intent FIRST? What if it was said: there is not a problem in this region, but please allow me to indulge my Q privilege to discuss some important things the Q wants you to take away with people I don’t see often? What if he better demonstrated the hot wash standard on himself FIRST?

    Net for YHC. Some don’t feel the stress of 90 guys, some do. Some will never get the chance. From my shared experience with the Q, surprise leadership assignments create growth at the expense of short term embarrassment. The growth lasts longer than the embarrassment and that’s important.

    So the key is: How could it have been better?

    What actions would have moved the situation(s) from inappropriate to mild embarrassment?

    Would it have made a difference if there was a personal connection first? What if the Q had been to a few Dogpiles? What if the Q solicited volunteers or only chose folks he knows? What if as part of the recon, and mission planning, the Q solicited Honeydo for a list of willfull candidates, briefed the candidates on what is going to happen and then worked though them to accomplish the explained intent?

    Hats off to Adderall, Hitchhiker and Spit for stepping up. Find the growth.

    Wrapping up bclub, my thought is to invite the crew back for DogPile on any given Saturday. SEE the standard first. If as a region, we are as open as we say… it’s what we must do.

    One last thing. No one wakes up and decides that today is going to be the day I will eff up task execution. No one drives 250 miles to do so in front of 89 men. Let’s look for the positive… think it through, there is a lot there today.

    Limited visibility changes the conditions which increases the learning. Good luck to the PAX tonight.

  9. Im pretty sure that Gomer took the high road, but I didn’t understand most of what he said. That’s probably the better route.

    Im pretty sure that I would not have taken that line if I were present. Hitchhiker is my friend, and that’s all there is to it. I have more to say, but I’ll hold my tongue.

    To hitchhiker, Lab Rat apologizes to not have been there to stand with my friend.

  10. F3 RVA PAX has helped, frustrated, argued and celebrated with me over the years and I love you all for that. Frankly – from my experience, have one of the tightest bonds in the system. All the thoughts expressed concerning today’s Q are valid and important to discuss for sure. While Wilson HATES running, I have to say a bit too much talking! When I jog in place DURING a workout……..well the Q failed to provide a solid 1st F! I do love you guys (I’d hug you all if I could) and THANK YOU all for being YOU! I look forward to seeing you all in the gloom soon (not the running)!

  11. Many words of wisdom have been said in this backblast. Thank you Upchuck and all others that contributed with their reflections…

    Most of all thank you Hitchhiker for your courage and strength in a challenging situation. Someone who inspires, motivates, empowers, creates vision, lead by example, lift and build people up so they grow – that’s leadership of today’s standards. You showed it to all of us and we all can learn from you. Well done! Proud to be your friend and part of the F3RVA team!

  12. Wow sorry to have missed what sounds like an interesting morning. I am unclear what went on, but I can tell you that knowing our brother Hitchiker personally, that dude is one of the most tenacious and faithful men I know who has persevered over tremendous obstacles. Just ask him to tell you his story. It pisses me off that he may have been the subject of humiliation or racism. Love you brothers and I appreciate your care and support of our friend and brother. See you soon in the gloom.

  13. I echo the comments above. What he did to Hitchhiker was WAY out of line. However; overall I think this was actually really good for F3RVA, regardless of, and in part because of, the spectacular failures. As compared to most other workouts, I actually felt I grew a lot as a leader on Saturday. I certainly grow in fitness as I workout and in fellowship, but do I actually grow as a leader as a result of a typical F3 workout? I probably do organically, but how intentional am I being at leading and rubbing off on the other men? I liked how intentional Saturday’s leaders were about training us on how to properly lead, and by instilling leadership principles throughout the workout. In fact, some of the Q’s specific leadership statements have really helped me this weekend to be a better dad, spouse and leader. Like Gomer said above, these were things that I had forgotten, and it was great to get the reminder. I think we as F3RVA can do a better job of intentional leadership training, even if we rightfully disagree with the Q’s messages and approach.

  14. Hi everyone,

    Many of you have reached out to me via personal words, emails, phone calls, and text messages since last Saturday. I just want to thank you all of you for your care and encouraging words. In fact, knowing that you guys have my back helped me go through the situation. I am so grateful to be a part of F3 RVA.

    Special thanks to Swirly who renamed clap-merkins to “Hitchhikers.”

    See y’all on Saturday!


    • Thanks for stepping up to share your heart Upchuck. And for all you other guys reiterating many of my own thoughts. I was particularly excited about bringing my brother (FLINT) to experience his first F3 beatdown by none other than the F3 Nantan, and ended up entirely disappointed and embarrassed. It wasn’t a workout, let alone a beatdown. Yes, a leader needs to stand out in order for those who don’t know him to recognize and follow him, but a hundred 4-count Flutter Kicks from Vinny beats the hell out of any number of words spoken. For any of you who haven’t read “Freed to Lead”, I would recommend it as an excellent resource for understanding the F3 backstory, principals, and leadership philosophy. In the meantime, just keep posting within F3RVA and you’ll see the real heart of F3 represented every day.
      SYITG, DTH

      • I don’t know Dr. T, I got plenty beatdown Saturday/Sunday. Don’t forget about half the guys there were at the beginning (not counting the 2ndF event Friday) of a 26 hour adventure. Sure they got 4-5 hours rest in the middle but a lot of those guys had a lot of work ahead of them. Not the best time for a smokefeat at Dogpile.

        Flint is a great name. Hope he comes back.

  15. First off thanks to all who posted so we had 90 pax strong. On the Q issue – the original question although inappropriate tied in directly to the Happy hour the night before, which only EF Hutton showed up for besides the guys who did the Ruck event. The entire sequence of events had a purpose to focus on leadership. Another failing by YHC to communicate this out to the RVA pax.
    As Gomer pointed out, all this is intentional. The Cadre on Saturday night went through the 43 men there and picked out the man who was most scared to be team lead and made him leader.
    So 2 bad questions and 2 unexpected answers made for a bad moment. That is clear. What else is clear is our RVA pax is a great brotherhood.
    However can we be better? What makes F3RVA successful over time? My home AO of Hoedown is consistently down in attendance and what have I done, or not done, to fix that?
    Not saying that anyone outside of RVA has those answers but maybe prompt us to ask those questions.
    I knew going into this weekend 2 things would happen: 1) things would get shaken up and 2) Dredd would call DTH a bearded millennial.

  16. I wanted to provide a brief update. I sent Dredd an email on Sunday expressing my concerns about his questions to HH. Dredd called me this evening. We chatted for about 10 minutes. He shared his intentions on Saturday, specifically with respect to his comments to Hitchhiker.

    Dredd mentioned he had communicated with Hitchhiker, and that he provided an explanation for his approach. Dredd asked me to share his explanation with the group – I declined, as it’s not my place. Rather, I offered to set up a conference call with Dredd for later this week if anyone has interest. Please DM me at 804 307 6765 if you are inclined. I’ll make sure to put you in touch with Dredd.

    I did not talk with him about his leadership style or any other topics, though he did share that most of his approach is very intentional and consistent across all the places he travels. He clearly has a different leadership style than what is prevalent within the Richmond PAX. (Candidly, I think the comments from GP and HoneyDo are consistent with how Dredd would describe his approach).

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