24 December 2021 / Combine / 5:15 a.m. / Kiewit Middle School / 39 degrees (feels like 34) / Wind SSE9 mph / 90% humidity / A Foggy Christmas Eve
PRE-RUNNERS (4): Blades of Glory, Cheap Seats, Slick and Gator.
PAX (18): Ketchup, Doppler, Q-Tip (respect, respect), Tonight Show, Tube Socks, Merch, Beaver, Speed Square, Big One, Slick, Cheap Seats, Yodel, Mufasa, Obi-Wan, Blades of Glory, Al Borland, I.H., and Gator.
What a foggy Christmas Eve it was when I arrived at the hardest working AO in Omaha: The Combine. At 4:30 a.m., I started setting up lights, cones, clipboards, a box of prizes, and, of course, the gorgeous six-foot Festivus pole – hand-crafted by our man Hard Hat (Many thanks, HH!)
Blades of Glory must have been moved by the Spirit of Festivus, as he was unusually early. After Cheap Seats arrived, it looked like it would only be the three not-so-wise men. But Slick came in hot and was ready to run. Great mumblechatter on a great run! I peeled off after 2 miles to change into my Frank Costanza outfit: a button-down Oxford shirt and a maroon vest – sans gloves and a hat.
When it was 5:15 a.m., the Q placed the Festivus pole inside our circle and welcomed 16 PAX to F3, which stands for Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith. Today, we would add a fourth F:
The Q covered the mission statement of F3, our credo, and the following five core principles: We are:
1) Free of Charge
2) Open to All Men
3) Always Outside (nice echo from the PAX!)
4) Peer-Led in a Rotating Fashion and
5) Always End in a COT
Next, the disclaimer was given with a note to modify as necessary as it was guaranteed that there would be exercises suggested that would be disliked by some and despised by others. The PAX were also told to start thinking about some of their least favorite exercises as they would be called to volunteer later on regarding that subject.
The Q then recited the Story of Festivus: (also available here)
Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had – but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way! While the doll was destroyed, a new holiday was born. “A Festivus for the rest of us!”
Much like F3, Festivus has 5 core principles:
(1) There must be a six-foot metal Festivus pole. There is no tree. The pole requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting.
(2) The celebration always begins with The Airing of Grievances.
(3) There is always a Festivus Meal.
(4) Festivus is not over until someone wins the Feats of Strength.
(5) And there is always a Festivus Miracle.
We would also do some burpee trivia: correct answers result in Bobby Hurley’s and a prize, while incorrect answers would cause us to do Burpees. In honor of the 9 glorious seasons of Seinfeld, we would do 9 reps.
What is the title of the Seinfeld episode in which Festivus was featured?
Answer: Blades of Glory correctly answered:
This episode aired on December 18, 1997 (Season 9, Episode 10).
Bobby Hurley’s x 9
Prize: Later, Blades was awarded his prize: A card stating that a donation was made in his name to the Human Fund. They give Money to People.
Then we did a lap around the track and met at the Festivus pole on the east end of the track for
• 9 IC “Man Hand Claps” (aka Overhand Claps; Jerry broke up with a girl once because she had “man hands”)
• 9 IC “Puddy Pickers” (aka cherry pickers; homage to David Puddy’s double-thumbed point to his 8-ball jacket)
• 9 IC “Elaines” (aka goofballs; Elaine is known for her goofy dancing)
Lots of the PAX had fun with this one, but our man Doppler could give Elaine a run for her money on the dance floor!
• 9 “Georges” (aka Bobby Hurley’s; pretending to be a marine biologist, George pulled a golf ball from the blowhole of a beached whale)
• 9 IC “Chicken Humpers” (aka monkey humpers while flapping your arms; Frank Costanza’s fowl question about Roosters, Chickens, and Hens)
Then we moseyed to the middle of the field for
THE AIRING OF GRIEVANCES
There are 180 episodes of Seinfeld. We would do 180 reps of our least favorite exercises:
10 exercises x 18 reps each
The Q kicked things off by saying: “I got a lot of problems with BIG BOY SIT UPS! And now you’re going to hear about it!” Then a brief airing of grievances was made as to why the Q does not like this exercise. Then we did:
BIG BOYS x 18
Doppler has a lot of problems with:
MAKHTAR NDIAYE’S x 18 IC
Obi-Wan has a lot of problems with:
LBCs x 18 IC
Ketchup has a lot of problems with:
Turkish Getups x 18
Yodel has a lot of problems with:
Flutterkicks x 18 IC
Slick has a lot of problems with:
Then, all of the sudden…
When out on the foggy field there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my six to see what was the matter.
Away from the Festivus pole I bear crawled like Crab Cakes,
And saw a PAX moving so slowly I thought he was taking breaks.
That shadowy figure was one I know well,
I knew it wouldn’t be long until I heard him yell;
He forgot that 5:15 was the time to appear,
Of course, it was Mufasa, we said, “So glad you are here!”
We resumed the Airing of Grievances with
Speed Square telling us about his problems with
Burpees x 18
Beaver has a lot of problems with:
Bear Crawls (we went about 18 yards in a circle)
Big One has a lot of problems with:
Mufasa has a lot of problems with:
Once all the grievances were aired, we did our next trivia question:
At the Festivus meal, George’s boss Mr. Kruger recognizes Kramer and calls him Dr. Van Nostrand. What is the title of the Seinfeld episode in which Kramer tells Kruger his name is Dr. Martin Van Nostrand?
Answer: Cheap Seats knew immediately that this episode featured Kramer expressing a desire to use his meat slicer to remove a suspicious mole from Kruger’s upper body. The Q decided that full points should be awarded.
This episode (Season 9, episode 7) aired on November 13, 1997 and was formally dubbed: “The Slicer”
Prize: Cheap Seats was later awarded a box of Junior Mints (they are very refreshing)
Bobby Hurley’s x 9
Then we counted off by 3s for
THE FESTIVUS MEAL
Each group represented a different part of the meal: The Appetizer, Main Course, and Dessert. One member from each group would run from the goal line to the Festivus pole at the 50-yard line to do 2 burpees. The rest of the group would perform the following AMRAP exercises until the PAX returned to push the group to the next exercise on the list (each group had a slightly different order):
SIDE STRADDLE HOPS
Our group of Slick, Yodel, Q-Tip, Ketchup, Beaver, and the Q enjoyed our meal with a side of mumblechatter. As it turns out, Ketchup had only seen one Seinfeld episode his entire life. He recently watched the Festivus episode in advance of the workout! (the Q was grateful). We made it all the way through the list and at 5:46 a.m. the Q called:
“SERENITY NOW!” (Slick hit the refrain of: “Insanity Later”)
Festivus Pole in hand, we moseyed to the grassy area near the entrance of the school for
THE FEATS OF STRENGTH
For TFOS, we would do Duck Jousting; the arena was setup with four cones. The rules were given: Everyone duck walks with their hands behind their back and tries to knock other guys down or out of the arena. No using hands. It’s a battle until the last man is standing.
Standing dead center in the arena, a quick-moving Doppler (with a well-placed low center of gravity) almost immediately knocked the Q on his six. From the sidelines, I saw the Big One go down and out of the arena – although one his shoes remained in the field of battle. The brave PAX fought hard, but it was clear that two men were Masters of their Duck Jousting Domain: Beaver and Ketchup. As the two engineers prepared to do battle Thunderdome-style, Ketchup had a look in his eyes like a man determined to take Kramer’s antique armoire. Beaver traded a few body blows before he wisely recognized that Ketchup would refuse to concede. The Feats of Strength had concluded. Ketchup was our champion!
Prize: It was “No Soup For You” to the rest of PAX, as Ketchup claimed a bag of Vegetable Soup mix.
In the episode “The Strike,” what is the name of the bagel shop where the employee strike occurs?
Answer: Before the Q could finish the question, Slick chimed in with the correct answer:
H&H Bagel (Yes, Festivus! No, Bagel!)
Prize: The next time Slick goes to the office, check his briefcase for Ritz Crackers.
Bobby Hurley’s x 9
Mosey to shovel flags
Back at the Shovel Flags, it was a Festivus Miracle:
No 6 Minutes of Mary!
This was such a fun NOR. Not only did our champions proudly display their prizes, but our man Yodel brought down the house with a yodeling pickle!
– Ketchup is now an Uncle to a beautiful new niece! Congrats!
– No workouts on Christmas Day
– Santa Saunter at the Farm on Sunday
– CSAUP on January 29; Tonight Show said stay tuned for more details coming soon!
– All those working on the holidays
– And the family of the 14-year-old girl in South Omaha
I love Seinfeld. It’s usually a lesson on how not to treat people. So, yada yada yada, let’s get coffee.
But, seriously, Festivus does touch on something that I think is worth mentioning. The definition of “GRIEVANCE” is “a feeling or belief that one has been wronged.”
The point of airing them is obvious: to let them go and move on. Tell the person. Get it off your chest. And then it’s over. (Until next year).
But what about the grievances we have towards ourselves? Your mistakes, failures, or something bad that happened for which you blame yourself. How do we air those? Typically, we don’t. We keep those things inside and simply hold on to them.
But we all know if we don’t forgive someone, then it is extraordinarily difficult to have a relationship with that person. With others, we either tell them about it and move on or choose to let it go and forgive them quietly. But rarely do we do so when we feel responsible for something.
In celebration of Festivus, let’s agree to let those grievances go. Air them on your own or share them with someone with whom you are close. Once you let yourself know about all the problems you have with yourself, it’s time to let them go and move on.
Happy Festivus everybody!
Tonight Show took us out in prayer (thanks as always, brother!)