F3 Knoxville

The Amazing Race: Big Ball Edition (Soot Co-Q)

THE SCENE: Lower to Mid 60’s, partly cloudy. Couldn’t ask for better weather!

SSH, Arm Circles, Imperial Walkers, This and That, Tempo Squats
We divided everyone into two teams for an Amazing Race style workout. Each team was given a clue, then had to decide what landmark that clue was hinting at. If the team went to the right location, Soot or I would tell them the workout for that spot. The first team to hit each location and finish each workout won. A few bonus rules: bear crawl every bridge, 1 burpee at each landing or top of each staircase, and bernie up every hill. Each team went in opposite orders, I led one clockwise while Soot led the other counter-clockwise. Here are the clues, locations, and exercises:

  • “It rises in the morning, but never gets out of bed” – The Sunsphere – Here we did 7’s between the edge of the water and the base of the sunsphere with Smurf Jacks and Star Jacks
  • “Here you might enjoy a nice view of the river, but you won’t enjoy the dense new additions to your team” – The Rockpile – Here we did 30 reps of Thrusters, Tricep Extensions, Curls and Front Raises
  • “The crown jewel of UT’s campus. The hallowed high ground” – The Hill – Here we lined up at the flag pole and did flutterkicks while one at a time each of us bear crawled around the flag pole
  • “Floors of empty spaces” – 11th Street Garage – Here we did the following in all 4 corners of the garage: 15 reps of Merkins, Squats, LBCs, Mountain Climbers (2ct)
  • “It’s almost time for our show to end, so be sure to grab your seats” – The Amphitheater – Here we just did 50 inverted rows
  • “End our race with a world tour and a splash” – The AO – Here we did a kind of inverted Indian Run. While running in line around the fountain, the person in front would do burpees until the rest of the team caught up, then the next person would pick up where they left off and the first person would go to the end of the line. The first team to a total of 200 burpees won.

The race ended just before 8am with our team reaching 200 burpees while Soot’s team was only 3 burpees behind

Abort led us in an ATM cash out
Soot led the word talking about how he and I met his junior year of college when he went to visit a campus ministry that I work for called the Navigators. After meeting we got lunch a couple times and eventually started meeting on a weekly basis for discipleship. After graduating, Soot and I have maintained that relationship, although we no longer meet as often, and Soot has gone on to lead his own Bible study and invest in guys the same way I invested in him. Also, Soot was the guy who first got me to come out to F3. After a lot of tip toeing in the shallow end, I eventually became more involved with F3 here and have also brought a few other FNG’s in along the way.

We shared all this for a few reasons. One being the importance of relationships and community. Soot and I have maintained our relationship with one another even in busy seasons, when he was deployed in Kuwait, and now as he moves from CO to NC. The second being you never realize how far a simple invitation will go. I invited Soot to grab lunch, which led to a mentoring relationship, which led to Soot mentoring others as well. Soot invited me to a workout, which led to me being more involved here with Big Ball and the Quacken, which also led to me inviting others to workouts. These relationships we have and the invitations we extend to others are important, and we never know how far they’ll end up going.

Hardship Hill is coming up

Just, Kind, and Right

THE SCENE: Not too hot, cloudy, low 80s, but soooo dang humid.  Not a stirring of a breeze to be found…

Welcome to F3, Fitness, Fellowship and Faith. F3 is a free workout program designed to improve fitness, share some camaraderie, and foster male leadership in the community.  I’m Pele and I will be your Q today.  I am not a professional, and I do not know your fitness level or injury history.  Please push yourself, but modify the workout as necessary to avoid making any existing injuries worse.  The goal is to get better together!  Some additional COVID-19 considerations: keep your distance between you and other members of the PAX and any other folks that we pass during moseys, etc. to 6-10 feet.  We will be splitting up into groups smaller than 50 if necessary.  We need to set good examples and be good neighbors out here at this public park, especially with so many folks out and about.


-25 Side Straddle Hops (4-ct), in cadence

– 10 Abe Vigodas (4-ct), in cadence

– 25 Grady Corns (4-ct), in cadence

– 25 Tempo Squats (4-ct), in cadence


MOSEY to Area 51 parking lot.

  • 25s! 5x/20x, 10x/15x, 15x/10x, 20x/5x Reps of exercises
    • EXERCISES: Bobby Hurleys (far side) and Carolina Dry Docks (near side)
    • Do first exercise, run down to opposite side of the lot, do other exercise, BERNIE back.

MOSEY to top of sidewalk hill, going towards Everest.  20 American Hammers. 20 count.

Continue to Base of Everest. 10 American Hammers/10 Hello Dollies/10 Bicycle Kicks (4-ct), run to base of summit. Hold Plank until 6 catches up.

GRINDERS! Count off by 4s to do a staggered start.  1’s start immediately, 2’s = 5 Imperial Walkers, 3’s = 10 Imperial Walkers, 4’s = 15 Imperial Walkers then start.  When finished do Imperial Walkers until 6 catches up

  • BASE OF SUMMIT: 25 1/2 Burpees (no pushup), run up to top of summit
  • TOP OF SUMMIT: 25 LBCs, run to bat house
  • BAT HOUSE: 25 Smurf Jacks, run down stairs
  • BOTTOM OF STAIRS: 25 BBS, run back to summit

RINSE AND REPEAT (we really only did this once, but ran the summit hill twice)

.11s W/ PARTNER in grassy area with wall at top of Evereset: Exercises are DIPS and INCLINE MERKINS.  One partner does the 11, while the other partner does LBCs, then switch.  Progress through the 11s sequence until we run out of time. (most pairs got to 6/5 or 5/6).

Mosey to AO.

25 Hello Dollies, courtesy of Lillydipper, (who was complaining about getting on our 6 in the newly cut grass, so I “volunteered” him to lead so he’d quit his yappin’ 😉 ), 10 star jacks, courtesy of Brick, who after his VQ on Tuesday is almost a professional .  All 4-ct, IC.

17 HIMs, including one FNG!


THE STORY OF JOSEPH.  The story of Joseph has been on my mind lately.  Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob, and Jacob’s favorite.  He was a Daddy’s boy.  Jacob gave Joseph a beautiful coat (coat of many colors), and Joseph had dreams showing him as superior to his brothers, which he tells them about for some reason.  Maybe not the best idea.  To no one’s surprise, all of this causes the brothers to become jealous, throw him in a pit, and sell him into slavery in Egypt.  Although they left him essentially for dead, Joseph thrives in Egypt and becomes vizier to the Pharaoh.  The brothers return to him during a famine, starving, asking for help, but they don’t recognize him.  He is in the position of evening the score.  REVENGE!! (cue Braveheart music…) Does he let bitterness take over his heart?  No.  He ultimately brings his whole family over to Egypt, saving them from the famine.

Who else has thought to themselves when they’re in a difficult situation, struggling in life, or at their wit’s end, “NOTHING GOOD CAN COME OF THIS”? But looking back, how often do you see that something good HAS come of it?  God is always there, bending our history and lives to justice and love.  As Joseph tells his brothers when they are reunited, what they had meant for evil, God had meant for good.

Even in the greatest darkness there can be something beautiful and good.  A literal example of this can be seen in some of the great paintings of the world.  There are brushstrokes of darkness and light.  The most beautiful pieces of art contain both sadness and joy.  Without those dark areas, the art would not be as beautiful.  So it is with life.  There is always a source of comfort in difficult times for those who love God.  In the story of Joseph, God was there with him, in the pit, as a slave, in prison, and in Egypt.

Instead of revenge, Jacob focuses on what is JUST, KIND, and RIGHT. He helps his brothers and brings his family to Egypt to avoid the famine.  He does not take the dangerous position of standing in for God.

I saw another example of this in Abscess’s Facebook post from Dredd who was discussing a sign that said NO BIGOTS, RACISTS OR MISOGYNISTS. His point was essentially that this is the wrong approach.  While the sentiment may be admirable, you could argue that this type of judgmental exclusion is taking the position of standing in for God.  We should actually invite factionalists to our table and sit down with them, so we can have discussions.  Who are we to judge?  The Pharisees mocked Jesus for the low company he kept and brought an adulterer to him demanding justice.  The penalty was death by stoning.  That’s when Jesus said “Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone”.  They all dropped their stones and went home.  It does us little good to judge, especially when none of us are exempt from flaws and sin.

We don’t always have to even the score.  Let go of the anger, the frustration, the desire for vengeance, like Jinxy talked about in his Word at the workout on Saturday.  Get rid of it. There is another path.  Today’s world has complex problems, and one of the difficulties I have is that I often see some value in everyone’s perspective (LIBRAs, amiright??…).  Therefore, I have trouble coming to a definitive conclusion about what the best solution is, and become frustrated that there are so many problems, and so few solutions.  The world is very confusing, and the problems we face are numerous, nuanced, and intertwined.  It can be overwhelming to try to make sense of it, try to figure out exactly how to act and fix it.  I think that if we all focused on what is JUST, what is KIND, and what is RIGHT, we can make a bit of difference in the world for the better.

Praise for Jenner for positive developments in his pursuit of a medical degree.  Prayers for Guppy’s grandmother and for Jan, Lillydipper’s wife.

Welcome to FNG Spanky! (Raphael… sorry, I forgot his last name.  He is friends with Puddle)


Building Bridges

THE SCENE: Stormy, but stayed dry, cloudy, low 80s.

Welcome to F3, Fitness, Fellowship and Faith. F3 is a free workout program designed to improve fitness, share some camaraderie, and foster male leadership in the community.  I’m Pele and I will be your Q today.  I am not a professional, and I do not know your fitness level or injury history.  Please push yourself, but modify the workout as necessary to avoid making any existing injuries worse.  The goal is to get better together!  Some additional COVID-19 considerations: keep your distance between you and other members of the PAX and any other folks that we pass during moseys, etc. to 6-10 feet.  We will be splitting up into groups smaller than 50 if necessary.  We need to set good examples and be good neighbors out here at this public park, especially with so many folks out and about.


-43 +1 Side Straddle Hops (4-ct), in cadence

– 10 Hillbilly Squats (4-ct), in cadence

– 10 Abe Vigodas (4-ct), in cadence

– Orphan Annies (Hold elbow plank, lift one hand up and do circle motions like washing the floor.  Switch after 30 seconds)


MOSEY to end of Dragon’s Tail.

Special ROUTE 66. Combination of Route 66 and 11s. At each light do both exercises, with the total equaling 11.  Exercises: MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS and PETER PARKERS (both are 2-count).

MOSEY to parking lot by baseball fields.

    • Four STATIONS, each with two exercises. Must complete 100 total of the exercises (Must be at least a 75/25 split, but otherwise can be any combination.)  Must complete the 100 before moving to next Station.  After completing the 100, Move to the next station using the method indicated.
      1. STATION 1: CMU Pile
        • Curls/Overhead Press
        • BERNIE SANDERS to Station 2.
        • Table Pull ups and Dips
        • EL CAPITAN to Station 3.
        • Bench Step Ups and Incline Merkins
        • SPRINT to Station 4.
      4. STATION 4: Parking Lot across from ballfields
        • BEAR CRAWL and LONG JUMPS back and forth
        • Run to BONUS BOX
  • BONUS BOX in the Middle: Rotate doing 25 of the following in the four corners until the 6 catches up:
    1. SSH x 25
    2. Overhead Claps x 25
    3. Imperial Walkers x 25
    4. Standing calf raises x 25

BERNIE up Baby Cardiac 1/2 way, then sprint.  20 American Hammers (4-ct, IC)

Mosey to monument/lookout, 10 Tempo Squats

Mosey to AO.


  • Static leg raises. On 6, bend one knee, lift the other leg as high in the air as possible and hold. Switch after 30 seconds.
  • 43 +1 Side Straddle Hops (4-ct), in cadence

12 Strong

We did Four Score and Seven (i.e., 87) SSH to start and end the work out.  This refers to the opening words of the Gettysburg address, written and delivered by Abraham Lincoln, “FOUR SCORE AND SEVEN YEARS AGO TODAY”…  The Gettysburg battlefield has been in the news recently, and it prompted me to revisit the Gettysburg Address.  Gettysburg was one of the bloodiest battles of the war, and left over 40000 soldiers dead and wounded. Often seen as one of the turning points in the war, Gettysburg pointed the path to Union victory and full emancipation for enslaved Americans.  One of our favorite (insert eye roll…) exercises here, Pickett’s Charge, is named for a doomed attack on Union Forces at during the Battle of Gettysburg.

After the Battle of Gettysburg, the war turned fully in the Union’s favor, and the Civil War ended soon thereafter.  On November 19 of the same year of the battle, President Lincoln was persuaded to say a few words at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg.  It also essentially served as his re-nomination address for the election of 1864, which was not assured: The country was still in the midst of the Civil War, the Democrats were disgruntled and angry, and even Lincoln’s own party was questioning his re-nomination.  So he agreed to speak “a few appropriate remarks.”

The Gettysburg address is quite short.  It’s only 272 words long.  It wasn’t even the main speech of the day.  Lincoln was a reticent man who was not prone to long-winded speeches.  But it is widely regarded as one of the most sublime and patriotic speeches in our nation’s history, and one of the most influential statements of national purpose ever crafted. Its transcript follows, with some inserted notes:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we [Notice that he never used the first person singular in the speech. He used the first person plural] are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. [Notice that he extols the sacrifices of the soldiers who died, without calling out or casting blame on the Confederates.]

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Important Takeaways:

  • Short and Sweet! It was not a grandiose speech that was all about him.  It was also positive and inspirational. (To quote the musical Hamilton, “Talk Less, Smile More”)
  • This nation was conceived in liberty, and ALL men are created equal
  • Lincoln always uses the first person plural, not singular.  “Now WE are engaged in a great Civil War.”  “It is rather for US to be here, dedicated to the great task remaining before us”.  It was not about Lincoln, what he did, etc.  He also did not further divide the nation by calling out the Confederacy.  We’re all in this together.  The speech served to begin the process of mending bridges and put some salve on the wounds caused by the Civil War.  Lincoln took the high road, and refused to be divisive.

We still have unfinished business as a nation,or “a great task remaining before us”.  We are too quick to divide, to accuse, to attack, too slow to forgive, to compromise, to forget old grievances.  During these days of political divisiveness, it is refreshing and hopeful to look back at the words of a truly great man and President, and seek to return to those values described in the Gettysburg Address.

Prayers of gratitude that Lilydipper’s wife, Jan, had successful surgery.  Prayers for Curveball as his family deals with a positive COVID test for one of his daughters. Prayers for Hooker as he ramps up staffing at his office.  Prayers for all involved as schools across the country reopen.


Happy 11s Day

[ Welcome/Intro/Safety-Brief ]

  • Welcome to F3: Fitness/Fellowship/Faith
  • Name is Steam and I’m honored to be your Q this morning
  • FNGs?
  • Couple of things before we begin:
    • Not a professional
    • You’re here on your own volition – meaning that you made a conscious choice to be here – you’re here on purpose
    • I don’t know any injuries you may or may not have – you do. If there’s anything you need to modify this morning feel free to do it. We start and end with the same number. Push yourselves and the men around you.
  • Do something a little different today:
    • Posted in Johnson City a few weeks ago and they did this at the beginning and I thought it was really cool.
    • (1) Pray over the men and our time

[ Warm-Up Xs ]

  • SSH: 11 x 4 IC
  • Rockette: 11 x 4 IC
  • Cherry Picker: 11 x 4 IC
  • Imperial Walker: 11 x 4 IC
  • Little bit of this (arms/back stretch)
  • Little bit of that (arms/back stretch)
  • 5 burpees

Pre-step off: Ruck has med gear, water – feel free to throw anything in. I’ll have my phone throughout as well

[ PT ]

(Mosey to Big Ball stairs)

1 – 11s

(Split up the group in 2 if need be for #s)

  • At the base: 1 Squat
  • 1st plateau: 10 man-makers
  • R & R (9/2, 8/3, etc)
  • Group 1: go counter clockwise
  • Group 2: go clockwise

(11 SSHs)

(11 count)

(Mosey to bridge across water to Amp)

  • across the bridge: walking rockette = walkette
    • Kick leg up and touch with opposite hand

(Mosey to amphitheater)

2 – 11s (Ping Pong – Down)

  • Stage: Box jumps (or step-ups) – make sure to stand up it you can (good form)
  • Top: pull-up/chin-up
  • After you complete whatever # of pull-ups /chin-ups you’re on each time — run around your respective side back to the stage
  • start with 11 box jumps — 11 pull-ups/chin-ups
  • 10:10
  • 9:9
  • So on and so forth
  • PAX finished with 11 up/down incline merkins on the stage + running up to the top of the amp and knocking out 11 pull/chin ups

(11 SSHs)

(11 count)

(American Indian run back to AO)

[ COT ]

  • # off – 11
  • Name o Rama
    • Postman, PDA, Jenner, Clark, Bilko, Swanson, Walrus, Magic Mic, Half Calf, Abort, Steam
  • FNGs – none
  • BOM
  • Has 2020 been hard? Have you ever found it hard to lead in your marriage or relationship or job?
  • Quote from a young man who just graduated that G-6 and I both know that’s now serving dutifully in the Army full-time and he dropped this knowledge on us sometime last year and I’ve always kept it close because it’s relevant and makes sense:

“Leadership should be a burden, if should be hard.”

            – Tanner Swanner

  • Leadership is not always easy, it’s just not. But do you have enough in the tank and enough grit to lead yourself so that you can lead others?
  • Spoiler alert: you do.

This verse ties in well along this topic, and the 4 different versions below say it a little differently but there are a few words I want to draw out/point out:

    • “strength of soul”
    • “greatly emboldened me”
    • “encourage me by giving me strength”
    • “made me bold with strength in my soul”
  • Psalm 138:3 (ESV): “On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased”
  • (NIV): “When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.”
  • (NLT): “As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving my strength.”
  • (NKJV): “In the day when I cried out, you answered me; and made me bold with strength in my soul.”

Revenge of CMU Later

THE SCENE: Perfect low 70’s and just a bit of steam in the air


4ct SSH x 20 (IC); 4ct Starfish Crunches x 7 (IC); 4ct Tie Fighter x 10 (IC) F&R; 5ct Catalina Wine Mixers x 5 (OYO)

Mosey to the big CMU stack in the alley and load up for some fun – encouraged to grab 2 CMU’s but allowed to modified some took only 1; Farmer’s Carry toward the top of Detention Hill with a stop half way to wait for the 6 (and to regain some feeling in the shoulders); Work stations marked with chalk to help us keep separated where PAX broke into groups of 3

CMU Hill of Pain:  2 HIMs worked through several exercises at the top while the 3rd HIM runs to bottom of Hill to perform 10 single count SSH then Bear Crawls back up Hill to rotate;  3 HIMs combine reps in order to finish all of the exercises collectively; 50 Clock Pendulums (1 block), 100 CMU Merkins (2 blocks), 150 Block Squats (2 blocks), 200 Bent Over CMU Rows (2 blocks), and 250 Blocky Balboa’s (1 block) completed by most

PAX redistributed for some COVID Shuffle – groups of 3 sent 1 HIM to each corner of a triangle course along the parking lot but the 3rd leg going down into the Gloom Valley and back up Detention Hill; Each HIM performed 10 SSH, 10 Squats, and 10 LBC’s (single count) at each corner then ran to the next corner; Kept moving until at least 4 station rotations; Farmer’s Carry to move CMU’s back to pile

PAX mosied over to Saint Patty’s Circle for some speed round exhaustion; Spread around the circle wall and several benches, PAX did 5 Dips and 5 Jump Ups/Step Ups over and over for 3 minutes;  Mosey back to the AO

Returning to AO, had 1 minute to work in some Pickle Pounders to end the fun

3 FNG’s: @Slim Reaper, @Flower Pot, and @Macho Man

@Dragon Slayer not on system

Genesis 32 story of Jacob wrestling with the God-man and not willing to stop without being blessed; Jacob’s hip was injured and ailed him the rest of his life – a scar and a reminder of his close encounter with God; Jacob was alone and fearful and trying to control his world of chaos but came face-to-face with the only thing that could truly bless him and change his circumstances; Encouraged the PAX to wrestle with God in the weighty matters of life and trust Him for change.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”