So many things go through a man’s mind late at night while he struggles under the weight of a log at a GrowRuck. There’s pain, fatigue, and often there is frustration with some of the men around you because of the chaos and stress that is being placed upon you.
I felt none of those things this time around. I didn’t go under the log. First time I’ve been to a GrowRuck and NOT done so. I was injured and had to ask Slaughter to fill my Trainer role at the very last minute. I know, a number of people also thought it would make sense to go ahead and conduct the classroom training and then just not go UTL (Under The Log). But the way that we do things for GrowRuck is that since no man is elevated above another, the Trainers are required to go UTL. No UTL, no Training. “But you’re the President. Shouldn’t you just invoke “Executive Privilege” or something and do it anyway?” No because that’s how the Goo World works. We are not of that world. So I was out, and I thought I would be part of the Support Team as my way of serving.
In a last-minute shift, Dredd, Danny/Linus, and the other Cadre decided that maybe it would be good for me to see GrowRuck from the other side as a Cadre-in-Training (CIT). As good of friends as Dredd and I have become, he probably read my mind and knew that I was feeling a little bummed about not being out there, so I think he thought this might lift my spirits and give me a better reason to be out among the men. He was right. Huge boost. I was a little nervous, but mostly excited to give it a whirl. Here’s what I learned:
- It was a LOT of fun, at first, to ACT like a Cadre. I love giving guys crap about form back at my home Region, and this gave me teeth behind it. Are you kidding? It was fantastic… “That’s not a Merkin!” “Find the bottom of that squat!” “You know where your head is, right? Well hold your weight OVER it! NOW!”
- Not helping is very hard. As a Trainer, when we go UTL, we kind of know what’s next and how the whole thing works and so part of our job is to keep our mouths shut. We have to let guys figure it out and fail. It’s what teaches better than anything else that we know of. Which is fine, I usually have plenty of my own pain to worry about so I can just stay focused on that. As a CIT, all I could see was how the men kept making the same mistakes. Or how if they would just do this thing or that, they could turn the whole Charlie Foxtrot around. And often they eventually did, but keeping out of it, not rescuing, and allowing growth to take place through the pain was tough.
- What started as fun, didn’t necessarily end that way. A couple things on this one. When I was acting like a Cadre and just yelling a little about form during a PT test, it was amusing. It was about me. I got to do this fun thing and make guys suffer a little. I got to take my shots at how poorly their performance may have been and feed my ego. And even when performance was good, I got to tell them it was bad because I’m partly there to apply stress and chaos. Later in the evening, when it turned into being more like a Cadre and putting men through suffering to teach. Well…then it became about them and that was tougher. Watching guys go through some really terrible crap (low crawling on the beach for the millionth time pushing sandbags) and knowing that I was causing it, was an interesting experience. I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.
- Being responsible for leading can be heavy. We all know this one, right? Sure we do. But we know it in our cubicles. We know it at a workout. In a GrowRuck Training Exercise (GTE), the Cadre (not the CIT, mind you) are responsible that all the men make it out alive and as unharmed as is reasonable. That’s not a trite little platitude. If men walk in the road and aren’t paying attention, people could get hurt or killed. If men don’t do the right things with the log, 1000+ lbs of wood could crush someone. We dropped several men from the event because of one thing or another. Some bodies were cramping so badly they couldn’t stand up. Others turned an ankle or some other similar injury that made it so they couldn’t continue. It’s no joke. And while out there in the GTE, most of the real dangers are physical. In our homes it might be quite different. As a CIT, I got to see a lot more of what the Cadre had to do to make sure it was everything that the men needed and expected it to be, while balancing the tension of actual dangers that were faced.
So, am I Cadre material? I dunno. Maybe with a bit more training. Would I do it again? Hell yeah. Why? Because as an F3 man, we walk into fire. We run toward the sounds of trouble. We seek to have more responsibility and to find ways to lead with virtue and to make more impact. I couldn’t run the training because I can’t operate as a Goo “leader” would. And I can’t shy away from the chance to help change the lives of more men for the better for the same reason. I am not of that world. Neither are you.