Smiles, Pushups, and being better Americans; that’s what the whole event was about. The participants spent 6 hours accomplishing various missions and movements, all the while learning important facts about our country. They traveled 7.5 miles and saw some of the best parts of our wonderful town. They learned important team building skills that will hopefully transfer over to their everyday life and hopefully they had a lot of fun.
We started off at the Depot, under the American Flag, for gear inspection, to make sure everyone had the appropriate weight in their rucks. We then moved to the grassy area for some calisthenics. Beginning in this fashion is important to evaluate each participant’s ability to perform throughout the duration of the event. As a team, they performed: pushups, squats, flutter kicks, presses, and various other movements over a 45 minute period of time.
After everyone was warmed up, the first Team Leader was chosen and given the instructions for their first mission. Before they could step off we had a present for all of them. Each member of the team received a 20’ish lb sandbag that he or she would be responsible for until further notice. They were also instructed at no point should the sandbags touch the ground. Dennis, the Team Leader, notified the team that they would be moving to the boat ramp at Cane Creek Park. A time cap was negotiated and they determined they would have 45 minutes to make it to their first location. The team leader chose a Navigator, Tori, to help define the route. Then all 16 participants, with their rucks and sandbags, stepped off. After a bit of confusion about which path they should take, the team found themselves on the wrong side of one of the only bridges in town. The cadre informed them that they did not have bridge privileges and a toll must be paid to cross. The entire team had to lunge with their sandbags over their heads across the bridge before they could resume normal movement. While moving down one of the streets chosen by the team the Cadre found a cache of logs. Though logs were not part of the initial movement tasking, the Cadre deemed this as an opportunity for the team to excel. A log was chosen to be taken with the team to the first destination. The team continued on to their first target without further interruption, apart from a couple incidents where sandbags were dropped. The team arrived at the boat ramp in Cane Creep Park. Once there, they were instructed to neatly stack their sandbags on the ground, then eat/hydrate and address any gear issues they may have. Total movement time: 90 minutes. For failure to meet the time requirements of the movement, the team was instructed to pair up and enter the lake via the boat ramp. Once everyone had been in the water, the issue of dropped sandbags was addressed with further calisthenics in the form of bear crawls. Dennis was the relieved of duty as Team Leader.
Mission Two was about to begin, so Justin was appointed as the new Team Leader. Justin was briefed that his team would be responsible for secretly infiltrating the Ensor Sink Natural Area via the drainage ditch that connects it to Willow Ave. The team was informed that, due to threats in the area, all red pickup trucks were considered “hostile” and whenever one was spotted “incoming” must be yelled and everyone must hit the deck as quickly as possible. Three red pickups drove by while we were discussing the new time cap for Mission Two, but we finally settled on 120 minutes to complete this mission. The team reacquired all their gear, including the sandbags, and moved out. They quickly determined that the area was covered with enemies, aka red pickups trucks, which was severely hampering the missions progress. The cadre determined it was an appropriate time to allow the team to lose some of the sandbags. After being quizzed on some American history, for their correct answers they were allowed to dispose of four sandbags. The overall pace improved and the team quickly made it to the entrance of the drainage ditch. After negotiating the fence and the entrance into the ditch, the team was instructed to camouflage themselves to help reduce the chances of being discovered. The team quickly navigated the drainage ditch and arrived in the Ensor Sink Natural Area, well under their time cap. The cadre, always concerned for the team’s well-being, instructed them to have a seat in the cool running water to help reduce any short-term swelling issues from the physical exertion. After their short cool down, the team was rewarded for their mission completion with a fun game. During the game, they were introduced the “It pays to be a winner!” concept. The team was divided into two, and went head to head to determine a winning team. I’ll spare you the details of the game but the losing team got to do overhead squats with their ruck while the winning team watched. Afterwards, Justin was relieved of duty as Team Leader.
Mission Three was next, so Margie was appointed as the new Team Leader. She briefed her team that they would be continuing on to the courthouse with their sandbags. A 40 minute time cap was set and they moved out. Shortly after stepping off, the Cadre determined that it was again an appropriate time to give the team a chance to shed some sandbags. Given the new chance to redeem themselves, the team earned the privilege of losing all of their sandbags. The newly unburdened team was given a new, more appropriate, time cap to make it to the Mission Three objective. The pace at which the team moved was greatly increased and they arrive at the objective well under the time cap. While at the courthouse, the team paid their respects to the 163 men and women from the area that have perished in the line of duty by performing 163 pushups. After the mission was complete, Margie was relieved of duty as Team Leader.
Mission Four took the team to Dogwood Park. Tessa was assigned as the new team leader and she briefed her team that they would be securing an advantageous position in the park to observe the fountain area for enemy combatants. The team entered the park from the east side under the cover of some small trees, and slipped into the creek. There they proceeded to low crawl through the creek until they were able to discretely observe the fountain area. Turns out the area was all clear, so the low crawling in the water wasn’t entirely necessary, but once again cold water is good for swelling. After Tessa gave the “all clear” she assembled the team in the parking area for a gear refit and water refill. Tessa was retained as Team Leader and briefed her team that the next phase of Mission Four was to navigate their way to the quad at Tennessee Tech. A new time cap was negotiated for 30 minutes and the newly refreshed team moved out. Despite being tired and beaten up, the team moved at an aggressive pace and arrived at the quad in short time. Once at the quad, the team was paired up into 8 two-person teams, where they once again familiarized themselves with the concept of “It pays to be a winner!” The teams competed in a WOD that consisted of pushups, buddy carries, and bears crawls. The winning team earned the privilege, but declined, of getting to watch as the rest of the participants held the top plank position while answering more questions about American history. Once the WOD was over, Tessa was relieved as Team Leader.
The final movement, Mission Five, was to get back to where it all started. Chris was assigned as the new Team Leader and given at 12 minute time cap to return to the start point at the base of the American flag at the Depot. Speed was a necessity if they were going to make it on time. A route was chosen and they moved out. The team moved with a purpose; the end was near and they did not want to miss the final time cap. With one minute remaining the team assembled in two ranks at the base of the American flag. They had completed their mission.
The cadre congratulated the participants and presented them with their patch. Sixteen individuals started that day, but they finished as one team. The participants all had performed admirably and deserved the patch they were presented. Smiles, pushups, and being better Americans is what it’s all about.
– Coach Cory