Sunday, July 18 | Highlander Accelerator | Pop-up | 66 degrees
PAX (15): U-Haul, Demogorgon, Lemon Law, Othello, Spreadsheet (Hate), Gorgeous George (FNG), Softail (FNG), Pantyhose, Frosty, Patton (Respect), Black Jack, Folsom, Bullseye (FNG), Tater Tot, Sparty
It was a beautiful morning and a very highly anticipated day at Highlander. There was a lot of work leading to this day. When crap hit the fan in the summer of 2020, I made it a priority to spend some time with my friends to simply listen as they were hurting. I committed to Mike Kuhn, Softail, that I would no longer choose the easy and comfortable life. It was time for me to stand up for what I believed in and get involved in being part of the solution. This sent me down a road that I knew would require a lot of my time and energy, but had no idea what it might lead to. As I spoke with Tater Tot about the idea of creating a scholarship for a young man in our community, he organized a meeting for us to sit down with Dr. Bird who runs Avenue Scholars. While sitting there in the meeting, a giant bearded man stopped in to say hello. Little did I know that Gorgeous George would end up being such an incredible friend. Over the next 9-12 months, I would spend several hours with Softail and Gorgeous George getting to know each other on a deeper level, and talking through how we can continue to partner up in an effort to impact our community. 2 weeks ago, GG and I sat down at Highlander for a cup of coffee and he looked out into the grass area and said to me, “that looks like a good spot for a workout.” I said, “You’re damn right! Let’s do it.”
When I pulled up at 6:40am, I was excited to see an F3 flag already in position as a few HIM showed up early to get in a quick Ruck. As I quickly set up the stations for the beatdown, PAX were coming showing up right and left. At 6:59am, Softail pulled up and it brought a large smile to my face and a calming to my emotions. At 7am, I jumped right into our welcome. I haven’t Q’d in what seemed like a long time, but the mission statement and 5 core principles came to me naturally. I shared a disclaimer that I am not a professional and that the men should modify as necessary. We started on a mosey around the building to the parking lot on the other side of the building for Warm-a-rama. As we took off, Lemon Law warned our FNG, Softail, that his shoe was untied. While that wasn’t a big deal, he bent over to fix it and got a solid “Good Game” right on his 6. I noticed a car pulling in as we took off, but didn’t pay much attention as I didn’t recognize him. As we arrived to the lot, an FNG joined us and we quickly learned that his name is Jeff.
- Sun Gods: 10F/10R IC
- Tappy Taps: 15 IC
- Big Ones: 10 IC
- Small Ones: Still a crowd pleaser
- ATMs: 10 AST, 10 Tempo-Merkins, 10 Merkins
This concluded Warm-a-rama and we moved over to the stairs for the Pre-Thang. I had everyone partner up as we had a quick 2-man Grinder. Partner 1 would run up the stairs and over to the other stairs and back down to replace his partner.
Pre-Thang (2-man grinder) – AMRAP exercises
- Air Squats
The PAX all seemed to love seeing Spreadsheet (Hate) partner with Softail as there was about a foot difference in their height. After we concluded the 3rd round, we all made our way back up the stairs to the open area for the Thang. I quickly realized my Bluetooth speaker died and this would alter the plan a little bit. There were 5 stations and the groups would rotate counterclockwise. We had a 1-minute timer set for 20 rotations in which the PAX would work out for the whole minute at their station, then have 15 seconds to move to the next station.
The Thang – Stations:
- Bobby Hurley’s
- American Hammers
- Burpee Box Jumps
After 3 full rounds at each station, I knew we needed to stop soon due to time. It was just then that I could hear Tater from a separate station making a wise-ass comment, “come on Sparty! We have 3 FNGs to name.” While he wasn’t wrong, I know that “Correction” is an important for us as leaders and “Omaha” needed to be called. The men then all made their way to the center of the grass area for NOR.
Name-O-Rama: Energy was high and the group embraced the opportunity
FNGs: Jamar Dorsey (Gorgeous George, loves all areas of wrestling), Gerald “Mike” Kuhn (Softail, loves riding his motorcycle which is a Softail), and Jeff Kemp (Bullseye, into Martial Arts and now sure how we landed on this one).
Announcements/Prayers: Tater Tot & Softail shared some inspiring words about getting to this point of a pop-up at Highlander, and then some nice words about me. Very appreciative for your kindness men!
COT: I first want to start by sharing a little history for where we are today. I asked the PAX if anyone knew what the area we were standing on used to be. Softail quickly spoke up and shared that it was originally Native American Tribal land, and then eventually became the North Omaha Projects. A few years back, a group called “Seventy Five North” had the vision of revitalizing the neighborhood to make it an area that the community is proud of and to attract people to gather to. This is really cool for me because a man that was one of the leaders of this group was my favorite basketball player as a kid, Othello Meadows. He is someone I’ve always looked up to and always thought was the best basketball player.
As for my message today, something that I’ve been very passionate about and has become a priority in my life is DEI (Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion). I was on the DEI council at my last job and I’m currently on it at my work today. This is important to me because it is important that we get uncomfortable and expand ourselves so that we can grow and understand each other better as people. However, the one thing I’ve struggled with on this front is the fact that I am a white, Christian man. I’m as plain as they come. The inner turmoil I’ve faced with this is that I don’t look in the mirror and see diversity, so how is it that I can have Impact in this area. Well a couple weeks ago when I was sitting with Gorgeous George here at Highlander with some beautiful ladies talking about this, one of them brought something up that I somehow had never heard or considered, Diversity of Experience. This, above all, is the most important thing that we can do and make a priority in our life. It’s not about what you look like that makes you diverse, its about how you live your life and what you expose yourself to. That being said, this goes for everyone and is not for any one particular race or gender. We all need to take the time to get to know one another and have different experiences. The other great idea or test with this is that if you could be dropped anywhere in the world and that you would be able to fit right in and get along with everyone. This is the point that we need to get to.
For me and my life, I don’t want to go into the things that I’m doing as this is not about me. However, this is a priority for me and one of the things that I am so incredible proud of and I get to see the way things should be, is playing out right in front of my face. If you look at the picture up above, you will see my 2 daughters playing with their neighbor friends. They are creating their own firsthand experience. They don’t need to read about it in a book, or have mom and dad try to explain things from their point of view. It is all very natural, and nothing is forced. Our girls hang out regularly and go over to each other’s houses. Watching this all happen in front of my eyes is the most beautiful thing I’ve experienced in my life. When I look at Claire and Caitlin play with Diamond & McKinley, I just think to myself, I wish the whole world was like this.
Thank you everyone for always standing by my side and supporting me on my journey. I encourage you all to get out of your comfort zone and start making it a priority to have Diversity in your experiences. And if you are fortunate enough to have children, provide them with those same or similar experiences. That’s where we can have a more permanent effect on the world!
I took us out in Prayer.