Yesterday was our first workout of 2018.
I picked up Jeff at 9:30 am for our Saturday workout. It was two hours later than usual, but for the first workout of the year I decided to let the day warm a bit. I didn't know how cold it was but with the bright sun shining, it was warmer than the 38 degrees I saw on the weather report when I woke up at 7:00.
As we pulled into Chris' complex, the first thing I noticed was the repaved parking lot and the speed bump that ruined cars was gone. Nice work. As we parked in front of Chris' building I thought it odd all the spots were open except one. Chris' home was a two bedroom apartment for him, his four siblings and both parents. That's seven people in a two bedroom apartment. Chris is the oldest, and he consistently earns straight As as an eighth grader, despite the less-than-ideal studying conditions. I called Chris to let him know we were waiting in front. The call went straight to voice mail. I was about to ask Jeff to knock on Chris' front door when I noticed an orange piece of paper on the window. In large print it read, "Notice of Vacant Unit," with smaller print below. There wasn't any of the usual clutter in the front door window. Their place was empty.
I called Shanta to see if she knew anything. Shanta Barton-Stubbs is the founder and Executive Director of New Image Youth Center in Orlando, Florida, the best kept secret in Orlando where each of the boys on The Give Team grew up. She hadn't heard anything about Chris' family and gave me the phone number for Chris' father. When I called, it also went straight to voice mail.
My last text exchange with Chris was now colored with concern. Two nights before, Chris let me know he didn't know if he'd be able to join the team call at 7:00 pm on Sunday. I asked if I it'd be easier if I moved the call to 8:00 pm. He wasn't sure if he'd have access to his phone.
We pulled away to pick up Paul with thoughts rattling between my ears about Chris and his family with the temperature hovering in the lower 40s.
We started the Spring 2018 season with a small crew, and performed an abbreviated workout. It was a slow start on our path to develop strength in what will be a phenomenal season. Compared to a year ago, The Give Team OCR program is coming together well. As a team, we have four coaches - me (Coach Mason) and Akim (an alumnus of, and current staff member at, NIYC) in Orlando, Florida, Greg who recently moved to south Florida, and Rob (also an alumnus of NIYC). We have four team members in Orlando with Jean, Paul, Jeff and Chris. And as of January 7th, we have two remote team members - Steve in Gainesville, Florida (an alumnus of NIYC) and Ryan in Des Moines, Iowa (a 20 year Marine Corps veteran, recently retired). During January we'll seek to grow the team here in Orlando and extend it to other parts of the country.
On Sunday, each team member will set two goals to accomplish by May 31 - (1) a physical goal; and (2) an academic or professional goal. Each team member will also set a DAILY RITUAL they'll perform for the entire month of January. That ritual will be aligned with one of the two goals for the season. It must be something done daily that isn't already being done. A new ritual will be selected for each month of the season.
We'll hold our team call Sunday night to discuss expectations for the season - what they should expect and what the team expects of them. We'll discuss what we have lined up for the spring 2018 season. It's going to be a powerful season, and we're thankful to all those who are taking part in our Give Team effort.
In 2018, we're honored to have the support of NinjaFit Gym (the team will participate in their workout program the third Saturday of every month), Garage Mama Fitness (our workout facility when available), Coach Pain (named Most Influential OCR Personality of 2017 by Mud Run Guide, and meeting with him at a warm up OCR on April 9th two weeks before our participation at Green Beret Challenge), members of the Orlando Police Department, and the Travis Manion Foundation (participation of an ambassador as guest coach and others potentially joining as members to run The Green Beret Challenge with us in Atlanta). We continue to seek sponsors and donors to fund the 2018 season, and be a part of the journey. We also continue to seek guest coaches to join us on any Saturday to share their stories of overcoming challenges.
In the meantime, know there are others dealing with significant challenges on their path to greatness. Some seek those challenges while some deal with unexpected challenges. We're proud of the members on our team and work with them every day to ensure they make decisions from a position of strength and address any challenge as opportunities to become even stronger. Thanks so much for the support of The Give Team community in those efforts.
I'll update you - the "Extended Give Team" - as I learn about Chris' family.
Be strong. Give more.
8 January 2018 UPDATE: I spoke with Chris. His cell phone isn't working, so he called me from his father's phone. They temporarily moved to another unit in the same complex. Not really sure what that means, or if anyone really knows. I guess everything we do is temporary, isn't it?
Brad Mason is head coach of The Give Team, and a firm believer that no matter how little you think you have, you ALWAYS have something to give. So give more. Give more smiles, more compliments, more focus, and more effort.