When I realized that my work was taking me to New Orleans, I immediately looked to see if there was an F3 group there. I had never been down range and wanted to see what other regions did and how it compared to what I had experienced in Omaha. I had just celebrated my two-year anniversary with F3 Omaha and this group had made a huge difference in my life.

I found F3 New Orleans on Twitter and sent a direct message asking if there were any AOs near where I was staying. I was surprised to see a quick response. The message said someone would pick me up for the beatdown and gave me a number to text. Wow… I wasn’t expecting a ride. That is pretty f*cking cool…  

I sent a text to the number to introduce myself. But wait, do I use my real name or my F3 name? I debated in my head and then decided on my F3 name; Roadhouse. That is what they call me in the gloom. I got another quick response from the one they call Reluctant Yankee and he arranged for me to be outside my hotel at 5:05 AM Wednesday morning. I guess I had to post now…

That night I didn’t sleep very well. It almost felt like my first ever post or even my VQ… I was nervous and worried about how I might be received. I loved the PAX in Omaha but this was a new group. Would they accept me? Like me? Would I know what the hell was going on during the workout?

My alarm went off at 4:30 and I jumped out of bed. I had my clothes laid out for the beatdown including an F3 Omaha shirt. I wanted to represent my boys back home. Reluctant Yankee pulled up to my hotel right on time, 5:05 AM. I hopped into his car, and we took off. I introduced myself officially and thanked him for the lift. He was welcoming and kind and generous and put me at ease immediately. We shared stories of how and when we started in F3 and how it had impacted our lives.

On the drive over Reluctant Yankee pointed out landmarks and historical sites in New Orleans. It was a great lesson in an even greater city’s history. The car slowed and we turned into Audubon Park. I hopped out of the car and started stretching my arms like Clark Griswold preparing to jump in the pool in National Lampoon’s Vacation.

“This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy…”

Soon, other PAX members started showing up. They greeted me with a fist bumps and good mornings. I grew more and more comfortable with each greeting. Each nickname made me smile. Quincy, Pop-a-lock, King Kong, Tube Steak, Brown Bag. There is something about grown men introducing themselves with these goofy but meaningful nicknames. It put me at ease. The group seemed excited about a new guy from out of town. “Omaha??” many of them said when I told them where I was from. At 5:30 Bieber called the group to order. He was our Q for the morning. He welcomed the group and we started moseying to the park.

The moon was full and so big and bright in the East sky. It was almost 70 degrees. What a gorgeous morning. We circled up for warm-a-rama and I looked around with some anxiety. I hope I know the exercises. “Side straddle hops…” Beiber announced. Ahhhh…. There it is. I am home. We did some imperial walkers and a few more exercises and that concluded Warm-a-rama.

We moseyed over to the entrance of the Zoo and Bieber announced we would be doing a lot of running. Reluctant Yankee had warned me this might be the case as the boys in Nola have a mileage challenge in February. We would run through the parking lot, and around the park and return to where we started. There we would be doing BLIMPS. Burpees, Lunges, Imperial Walkers, Merkins, Plank Jacks and Squats.

And with that we ran. And we ran. And we ran. We would stop to do the exercises but then we ran again. Then we ran some more. Looping around the zoo parking lot and the park. Each lap, I engaged another PAX member in conversation. I learned about them and what they do. Chefs, brewers, plastic surgeons, servicemen. What an impressive group! And the banter throughout the beatdown was outstanding. Guys jabbing others guys, laughter, this was a great group.

Finally, we were done with the running. We circled up and did some Mary. And finally moseyed back to where we started. We did our Name-a-rama and closed it out in prayer.

What a great morning. What a great group. What started with nerves and anxiety ended in welcoming and brotherhood. The PAX approached me one by one, fist bumping me and thanking me for coming out. 45 minutes ago, I didn’t know any one of these guys and now we had something in common. We chose to get up early and do something hard.

After the beatdown, I joined some of the group for coffee at PJ’s and we shared some laughs and some Joe. Reluctant Yankee dropped me off a block away from the hotel and told me he would be there to pick me up again the next morning. On the walk home I couldn’t help but smile.

I reflected on the morning and how welcomed I was. It was the same way I felt at my first beatdown in Omaha. I was again reminded that F3 is something special. A group of men who were all looking for something. A feeling of brotherhood, of community, of common goals and challenges. We are men, fathers, husbands, professionals and we all make the decision to get up while its still dark and run around like idiots in the gloom or as my friend Wait Time would say, “dancing idiots.” For each one of us, we were missing something, we were sad clowns, we wanted to be better but weren’t sure how to get there. And in F3 we found what was missing. We found fitness. We found fellowship. And if you are like this PAX member that they call Roadhouse, you found Faith for the first time in a long time.

I love my brothers of F3 Omaha. I love my new brothers from F3 New Orleans. And I am grateful for them and all the F3 brothers around this nation who I know would welcome me that same exact way. With a fist bump and a nickname!

Aye! Respect! Love!

Roadhouse- F3 Omaha

Fomaha - 3045 posts

Our mission is to plant, grow and serve small (free) workout groups for men for the invigoration of male community leadership.

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