The recent events with Big Wheel at Herman Park during our 1st Annual Convergence last week have caused us all to self reflect.  Here are my thoughts:

First off, my deepest sympathies to Jessica, her boys, Cruiser, The Mick, and all the family who have suffered this incredible loss. I have given it so much thought this week, as I am sure we all have – I can’t imagine what this must feel like. I love my kids and my spouse so much, and the way this loss must feel is hard to comprehend.

I have asked myself “why” so many times this week. Why Eric? Why Saturday? Why when he was with F3 and his dad? Why on the last exercise? We may never know the answers to this, but it happened and we were all there to witness this and left here to make sense of this in our own individual way.

We don’t know why Eric was taken, but we do know we were all fortunate enough to be here and I thus feel a sense of responsibility for being spared Eric’s fate. Eric doesn’t have the chance to be the best father he can be any longer. This reality confronts me a certain way and challenges me to lay it all on the line and be the best dad I can be every minute of every day. Eric doesn’t have the chance to love his wife any more. This challenges me to cherish my wife daily, let her know she is appreciated and love her to the best of my ability. Eric doesn’t have the opportunity to honor his parents any longer. This summons me to treat my parents with respect, make them proud, and to let them know I love and appreciate them. Eric doesn’t have the opportunity to push himself professionally or in areas of health/fitness. This challenges me to pursue excellence and be the best I can be in every endeavor I undertake. We all have the gift of life remaining and it’s our privilege and duty to appreciate it daily, make the most of ourselves, and touch the people in our lives.

This week I have thought a lot about what F3 means in my life and what place it has in my life. The gravity of this situation has caused me to pause on sharing these thoughts because it seemed so insignificant to what Cruiser and his family are going through. After Eric’s services today it’s hard to hold back any longer…

I was first introduced to F3 about 9 months ago via Hostage via Inferno. It was initially just a workout that came at a time when my gym life wasn’t going anywhere. I loved the F3 intensity and variety of the workouts. It made me feel young again and challenged me to regain my health which has always been a core value of mine. I made a couple key friendships in this group but hadn’t bought into the full F3 culture. I could see some people in the group drinking the koolaid, preaching the 3 F’s, and fully investing their lives into the spirit of this organization. I didn’t judge any of these people, but casually thought to myself that I’m happy to work out with this group, but I don’t think it will be much meaningful in my life than just a good workout group.

Then Hurricane Harvey happened. Selfless service and brotherhood were displayed by so many people in our group it was amazing and eye opening. Many of you all were sacrificing your time and energy to go help people who needed it and weren’t in a position to help themselves. Due to circumstances, I was not in a position to help with F3, but I wanted to be there and was inspired by you guys.

Then our anniversary workout happened. Leading up to Big Wheel’s collapse, I was inspired by the effort that had obviously been put into making this a special day for everyone in attendance. The guys who care about F3 had sacrificed their time to commemorate F3 in a special way and I was appreciative. I could tell the entire day meant something to everyone and leadership had done an excellent job making this a special celebration. This effort and commitment was certainly lost with what happened to Big Wheel, but it’s significant and I am appreciative for the guys who tried to make this experience special for all of us.

And finally, the class with which F3 cared for and supported our brother Cruiser is something that has permanently rooted F3 in my life. The guys in our group have loved on Cruiser in his time of need and banded together in a special way. I have been proud to be a part of F3 at every step in this week’s journey from admiring the medical attention given Big Wheel at the top of the hill, to the liaison work done between the hospital, the Swendsen family, and our group – to the love felt between our brotherhood at the hospital last Monday, to the charity given with go fund me and blood drives, to the Shovel Flags at the funeral today, to the touching service today and the classy representation made by F3. We are comprised of a special group of men, of which I am proud to be affiliated. I am no longer simply considering this just a workout group. I now better appreciate the 2nd and 3rd F’s: ‘Faith’ and ‘Fellowship’. I think I, and our group, will be forever changed by what has happened – and I think we will be banded together in a way that not many of us have previously experienced. I expect us to be a part of each other’s lives in a meaningful way for years to come. I am excited and honored to be a part of this. My wife is pregnant and as a result I may not be able to participate as much as I would otherwise like to, but that will not be a reflection of F3’s significance to me.

I am thankful our iron will sharpen iron and together we can accept and rise to the challenges and responsibility we each have to be excellent father’s, husband’s, son’s, and achievers. May God bless you Cruiser as you have blessed us all and may God bless F3.

P.S. In the gloom I didn’t realize it, but we are also a pretty damn good looking group of guys. F3 is definitely helping us all fit into our suits a little better. Hopefully, F3 is also helping us to be better listeners, better leaders, and BETTER LOVERS!