Sergeant Tony's Blog

Archive for December, 2010

Pour Some Gasoline On It — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s Newsletter for Dec. 29, 2010

Dec. 30th 2010

Irrelevant.

Passionless.

Uninformed.

Boring.

Lifeless.

Resigned.

Negative.

Unimaginative.

(This is how I described myself on Match.com. hahaha)

Those things have been used to describe “old” people. It’s why no one wants to get “old.” It’s a curse.

Thing is, the curse can occur at 21 or 71. It doesn’t matter what your chronological age is. Age ain’t nuthin’ but a number, and being lifeless, boring, uninformed, negative, resigned, and all the rest isn’t a matter of age. It’s a matter of attitude. It’s a life orientation. It’s the prism or the lens that life is viewed through.

That bent on life is usually a life long leaning … just a little bending at a time, like the wire that trains the limbs of a bonsai tree.

I turned 53 in July, and I’m pretty damn proud of that. And why shouldn’t I be? I’m smarter now than at any other time in my life – and you should be smarter today than at any other time in YOUR life too — and more educated than I was at 26. I’ve got two times the life experiences and twice the wisdom and knowledge. I also know myself better now than I did when I was 26. I’m comfortable in my own skin. I’ve done a good bit of traveling and have seen a big chunk of the world. I like east Tokyo as much as I like east Memphis. I’m as physically active as I ever have been and I’m fitter than the vast majority of guys half my age. And with the exception of a few more wrinkles, mostly due to laugh lines – those that give my face extra character — and the gray hair that literally popped up overnight one morning and makes me look distinguished (so I’m told!), I feel like I did when I was 26. Actually, I feel better! This past April I beat a squad of 20 year old Marines in a pull-up contest. (Did you hear that Uncle Sam? Let me know when I can go back on active duty!) So why shouldn’t I be proud? Why should I make excuses for my age or apologize for it as if it’s something to be ashamed of?

In a youth oriented culture that presumes that all things young are good and all things old are past their expiration date, it’s easy to get things upside down. And too, not all 50 year old people are the same. One man’s 50 ain’t the same as another man’s 50. I get that. And so does Norma Heape. She would actually take that up a notch ‘cuz Norma is 74 and a Flight Attendant with Continental Airlines. She’s been flying with them since 1957! And she’s never called in sick! She hasn’t missed a day of work in 53 years! (“I’m not worthy Norma!”)

Of course the problem is that LOTS of people over 40 aren’t anything like Norma. They’re livin’ out those irrelevant attributes with all of the excitement of an IRS audit.

It makes me cringe when I run into people near my age who live down to the stereotype of blah. They’ve spent a lifetime taking lousy care of themselves and exploring new ways to be less and less as they get older and older. And then they want to blame their age as the reason that they feel like crap. No, Old-timer, the problem is that you’ve got the accumulated result of years of living like hell. I’m not talking about people who’ve been sidelined by catastrophic illness or injury. Those folk’s impaired condition is understandable. I’m talking about the average person who’s spent too many years drinking too much, partying too much, smoking, doing drugs, and eating crap and who haven’t exercised since the Clinton Administration. Start that life-style in your 20’s and keep it going … then see how awesome it is at 40.

Sadly, the flame in so many people’s lives start to flicker at some point. And too often circumstances, setbacks, and loss start to loom so large that the flame goes out all together. People start stumbling through one meaningless day after another and medicate their pain or depression with poor life management decisions. I’ve seen how bankruptcy, divorce, the death of a loved one, being fired or laid off, failing health, being stuck in a loveless passionless marriage or dysfunctional relationship — and the whole host of unrealized expectations — can have a depressing and debilitating effect on people, extinguishing that light for years. Sometimes forever being defined in their own minds by the mistakes, missteps, and mishaps of their lives.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Seriously. It does not!

Our lives don’t have to be defined by the setbacks or the mess that we’ve made of things by poor management or irresponsible behavior. Our mistakes can be overcome! How many people do you know, or know of, who are over-comers, having put life’s setbacks in their proper place in the past and are thriving today, moving forward? Tons of people do it every single day.

We may never be what we were before those circumstances put us on a path not of our choosing, but we can be something great again … or something greater. We can feed the flame. We can light a bonfire!

As we think of the prospects of a new year there are things that we can do to relight that flame and to ensure that the light within us burns brightly. And if you’re over 40 and have become a parody of your younger self, you can reclaim the joy of living again. You can enjoy your Mondays just like your Saturdays.

Here’s what you should do.

If you’re depressed about your weight – lose the weight. Seriously. Quit bitchin’ about it and just do it! Eat less, move more. It’s just that simple. And if you need a successful plan to follow, I recommend “Take Shape for Life” www.combatchallenge.tsfl.com

If you wish that you’d finished your degree – go back to school. A friend of mine graduated from law school at 63! But don’t be fooled. You can get a good education for “a dollar fifty and late charges from the public library.” But if it’s the degree you seek, there are ways to get it.

If you’re upset because you’re out of shape – get on an exercise program (I happen to know of an AWESOME program! Not sure which one I mean? Email me!)

If you’re in debt – come up with a plan to get debt-free. Credit cards are choking the life out of most people. Spend less than you make. Do you really have to buy as much house as the mortgage company will let you borrow? Really need a new car or two? The boat? The lake house? I know people who’ve gone bankrupt TWICE in the past ten years yet they take a couple of expensive vacations every year and live way beyond their means. Bankruptcy number three is only a matter of time.

If you’re in a loveless marriage or dysfunctional relationship – fix it … or get out of it! Some broken marriages can be fixed. Others can’t. And throwing money at a bad or unhappy marriage won’t work. The trips and the stuff will only mask the misery for a while. Life is too short … and if you’re in an unhappy relationship, it can be a very very long “life.” Fix it if you can, or find a way out.

If you’re in a dead end job or meaningless career – get out of it. Formulate a plan to do something that makes you happy and brings meaning to your life. Lots of guys I know get in dead-end soulless jobs that pay well, only to find that they have to buy “stuff” to compensate for the life-force-drain of their job. But the spending gets them in debt too deep to get out of the job. The new house, the new cars, the new stuff, shackles and prison. Stuck. Slavery. But it doesn’t have to be. Emancipation is possible, but won’t be easy or painless. But it can be done. It CAN be done! I’ve started over more than once. I’ve even started over in a foreign country.

If you intend to publish that novel or book – get busy writing and finding an agent. (If that mental midget, Glenn Beck, can get published, you can too!!) Yes, I’m talking to myself here.

If you’re not happy with your life – figure out what you want to do with it and then DO THAT!

Relight the flame if it’s gone out. Pour gasoline on the flame you’ve got!

Stay relevant.
Ditch reality TV and read a couple of books a month, things that’ll stimulate your mind, challenge your assumptions, and expand your vocabulary.
Stay informed. Get your news from a variety of sources.
“Good enough” usually isn’t.
Laugh a lot everyday! Make a face when you do.
Make a face when you exercise too.
Buy some new music from some new musicians. Something recorded in the past three years.
Eat good stuff. You remember the four food groups, right?
Watch some great movies.
Drink less alcohol.
Save some money.
Do some research. Learn something new everyday that isn’t job related.
Find something to be passionate about, but not obsessive about.
Quit living in the past.
Learn to define “enough.”
Don’t settle.
Do something scary every now and again.
Learn to say “no.”
Quit smoking.
Drink more water.
Run a 5K … or a 10K … or a half marathon … or go the distance and run a full marathon!
Run, jog, swim, power walk, or ride a bike for 2 hours a week.
Do something physical that will require you to get out of your comfort zone.
Do a hundred pushups a week, a hundred crunches a day.
Help someone who can’t do one single thing for you in return. They can’t advance your career, fulfill your pleasures, or pay you back in any way. And do it as quietly as possible.
Learn to say “yes” to new adventures, new friends, and new possibilities.
Make an anonymous donation.
Make a new friend outside of your own race.
“Someday” is probably not going to be on the weekend.
Avoid extremes.
Think for yourself.

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
~ Dylan Thomas (1914 – 1953)

Bring it on 2011!

——————————–

EARTHQUAKE ROCKS TURDVILLE, RESIDENTS SENT SCRAMBLING FOR THE QUARTERDECK!

Attention residents of Turdville: GET OUT! GET OUT NOW!

You have overstayed your visit. It’s time to leave the land of fat and flab. Taking your ease in Turdville has come to an end!

Here’s the bad news: humans aren’t like expensive wine getting better with age. We degenerate and decay. Doing nothing is a sure formula for yuck.

We don’t get better unless we keep moving and working and sweating. We’re like sharks. We have to keep moving.

Refugees of Turdville: The Quarterdeck of USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP awaits your return! It’ll be OK! I promise! It’ll be a little tough at first, but in no time at all you’ll start to feel like your fit and fabulous self!

See you on Monday!

——————————-

BOOT CAMP DISCOUNTS AND FACEBOOK EXPERIMENT!

Here’s how it works!

Make a Facebook status update and get a discount!

For every status update that you make that references:
“USMC Fitness Boot Camp,”
“Sgt. Tony’s Boot Camp,”
“Tony’s Boot Camp,”
or something similar, you can take $2.50 off your reenlistment fee for each update!

You can take up to $20 off for any given month!

Your status update has to be a specific reference to USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP or to me specifically by name. And be sure to tag me.

You can do the same thing by “checking in” at USMC Fitness Boot Camp either by using Facebook “places,” Foursquare, or any of the other “check in” apps that show up on your Facebook News Feed.

So log on and start getting your discounts now!

———————————-

SPRING HALF MARATHON!

There are at least four half marathons in the spring! There is one in Nashville, Louisville, St. Louis, and Oklahoma City! (The Germantown Half Marathon is also in March.)

I’ll begin the training on January 29 for the spring half marathon! More details to follow!

————————————

WIND CHILL AND INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY

When the wind chill is 29 or lower, we’ll go inside at 0530, 0830, and 5:45 PM. The 0645 class is inside from now until March.

Check with weather.com or The Weather Channel. I’ll post it on my Facebook page and the Boot Camp website Blog page (http://usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/blog/) if there’s a question. And if you’re not sure, you can text me at 901-644-0145.

What about inclement weather days?

We’ll follow the Memphis City Schools decision. If they close, we’ll stand-down. If they close in the morning but the streets are clear and good to go by the afternoon, the evening class will meet. I’ll post that status on Facebook and the Boot Camp Blog page.

————————————-

PERSONAL TRAINING!

I’ve got a few prime hours open during the week if you know someone looking for a trainer. I use the facilities at Christ Methodist and the hourly rates are standard for Memphis. Over-all fitness training, boot camp style workouts, strength training, sports specific conditioning and agility (tennis, soccer, basketball, etc.)
TonyLudlow@aol.com or 901-644-0145

———————————-

FREE MONTH OF BOOT CAMP FOR YOU!

Remember that when one of your family or friends joins the program because of your recruiting them, YOU get a free month of Boot Camp!

———————————-

THE 0830 AND THE 0645 CLASSES!!

The 0830 Class meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Don’t forget that there is child care available at the church for this class!

The 0645 meets on MWF inside!

ATTENTION 0830 CLASS MEMBERS: please remember that no cell phone usage is allowed while you drive your car on the campus. So when you pull onto the campus, no cell phones please!

——————————————–

NEW PRICING FOR FAMILIES AND COUPLES

If you’re a part of a family (usually husband and wife) that does USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, a new pricing plan goes into effect in August! Ask me about it! You’ll like it!

———————————————-

WANT TO LOSE 20 POUNDS BY THE END OF NEXT MONTH?

Take Shape For Life is the BEST weight loss program I know of. If you’d like to lose weight talk to me. This is the program I used to lose the almost 30 pounds I gained after knee surgery. Let me help you!

You can also go to www.combatchallenge.tsfl.com/

——————————————-

TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASSES ARE ON HIATUS UNTIL FEB 2011

The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes are standing down until the last week in January.

However, I’ll be running at 4:30 PM at St. Mary’s track on Tues and Thursday and you’re welcome to join me for an informal jog fest!

———————————————-

CALENDAR

A calendar has been added to the official USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP website.
http://www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/calendar.html

For you visual learners, you’ll find this an easy way to glance at the week or month and see where the workouts will be, if there’s a venue change.

—————————————————

What would you do if money were not an issue, fear were not a factor, and failure were not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!

SEE YOU ON THE QUARTERDECK!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s Newsletter for Dec. 22, 2010

Dec. 22nd 2010

This is a story that many of you know, but I hope you’ll still read.

This is my annual “Get to know Jim Steiner” Christmas message.

Most of you only know Jim’s name from the exercise I call “Starting Up Jim Steiner’s Wood-chipper.” And I get asked all the time, “Tony, who is this Jim Steiner person?”

Let me tell you about Jim Steiner.

Jim was a real person, a real Boot Camper. And one of the best people I’ve ever known … and the person who saved Boot Camp.

Jim joined us because his wife, Carole, had given him a month of Boot Camp as a Christmas present in 1999. And when Jim showed up, he wasted no time making a difference! He quickly became everyone’s best friend!

He was one of those kinds of people who just naturally attracted others to him. He was winsome and warm, intelligent and funny, kind and thoughtful, a prankster and practical joker. He loved everyone and everyone loved him. You just couldn’t help it! To me he became an older brother, some 12 years older. And he was a role model for personal relationship building. Jim Steiner could have taught seminars on how to make friends with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Jim was also an accomplished athlete. He was an avid runner, triathlete, skier, hiker, and adventure racer.

For over two years we enjoyed Jim’s daily dose of fun, fellowship, and enthusiasm for life. If he had a story to tell or an anecdote to share, I’d gladly yield the floor! Jim was the best storyteller I’ve ever listened to. Unless he was out of town on business, he never missed a day on the Quarterdeck! He was a faithful Boot Camper and a wonderful friend.

One morning he came to The Quarterdeck complaining of a pulled upper back muscle that he’d strained trying to start his pull-start wood-chipper. It was one of those older model wood-chippers that had a rope that you pulled to start it, like a lawnmower. So I incorporated the “bent-over-single-arm-row” into the routine to help develop and strengthen the muscles of the upper back and shoulders, renaming the exercise “Starting Up Jim Steiner’s Wood-chipper.”

Since he saved Boot Camp from extinction, naming an exercise after him seemed like a fitting thing to do.

And this is how he saved the program.

During the first winter of our first year, in the pouring rain, one dark cold morning at 5:25 AM, Jim and I sat in our cars parked next to each other in the parking lot, waiting to see which of us would get out first. The program was on the campus of the U of M for our first six years and a part of the Continuing Education Department. But Mt. Fuji (the parking garage on Zach Curlin) had yet to be completed and we had no rain-day option except to trudge outside and get soaked.

Jim rolled his window down and yelled to me over the pounding rain, “WHAT DO YOU THINK?”

“I DON’T KNOW!” I yelled back, a little defeated.

“LET’S GO TO PERKINS AND EAT PANCAKES!” he suggested with a laugh!

Since it was only the two of us that morning, and since I happen to love pancakes, and since I’m not particularly fond of getting cold-drenched, it was on! I thought flapjacks and a warm restaurant sounded like a great idea.

Over breakfast that morning I whined to Jim that maybe the program just wasn’t going to survive. There were no boot camp programs at all in this part of the country except us. This was on the cusp of the dot com explosion. There was no Boot Camp presence on the Internet. There was no MySpace or Facebook. I didn’t send out a weekly newsletter by email, I printed them and handed them out one by one.

I spent my marketing and advertising budget on our breakfast that morning!

“Maybe this should be our last month,” I said to Jim with a sigh.

I loved my career as a high school teacher and coach and seemed resigned to admit that my early morning exercise experiment had perhaps run its course. I was reluctantly ready to face the fact that Memphis just wasn’t ready for this kind of fitness program. Maybe it was just time to pull the plug.

“Tony, don’t do that! This is the best program I’ve ever been a part of. Hang in there, my friend, just wait! They’ll come out of the woodwork! You’ll see!!” Jim insisted. (It was his version of the “If you build it, they will come,” speech.)

In those days, five people at boot camp at 0530 was considered a pretty good crowd. That morning I was discouraged and ready to quit. But Jim’s words of encouragement gave me a new commitment to make Boot Camp work. “If Steiner says it’ll work, then it’ll work,” I thought.

He had that kind of effect on people. If it weren’t for Jim, I might have thrown in the towel that morning. I might have quit.

Two and a half years later, while Jim, Carole, their son Rob, daughter Meredith, and I were making plans to run the Marine Corps Marathon together in November of that year, Jim suffered what we all thought was a mild stroke. But in the weeks that followed we discovered that it wasn’t a stroke that Jim had experienced. Jim had a brain tumor.

Because of medical treatment, Jim had to quit coming to boot camp a few months later in the summer of 2002. After that, I started making regular visits to his home to check on him and hear another of his stories. I continued to receive invitations to Steiner family gatherings, including their world famous Christmas party.

Jim was back on the Quarterdeck on October 24, 2003, over a year and a half since his last workout. With the aid of his brother and sister-in-law, Jim came back to Boot Camp at 0530.

In a wheel chair.

He had dumbbells in hand and worked as hard as anyone there that morning! You should have seen him! It was one of the most inspirational things I’ve ever seen.

Always upbeat, always an encourager, Jim had a huge capacity for joy and fun! I never heard him say a single bad thing about anyone. Not even about me! He laughed that morning in October and clowned as if nothing was wrong with him. New boot campers who’d joined since Jim had become sick got the wonderful opportunity to meet the famous Jim Steiner! He was like a celebrity that morning!

It was also the last time Jim would be on the Quarterdeck.

I have often said, “In the Kingdom of the Kind and in the company of true gentlemen, Jim Steiner was royalty.”

I was privileged to have known him and deeply honored to have been numbered among his friends. And I was profoundly heartbroken when he was taken from us.

For months I wore one of those WWJD bracelets. The “J” stood for Jim. I had no idea how Jesus would run a Boot Camp program. But I had some idea how Jim Steiner would do it. He’d remember people’s names. He’d try to make everyone feel important and welcome. He’d have a good time! He’d joke and clown, while giving everyone a hard time in a playful and winsome way. He’d call people names and they’d love it. And he’d make people proud of themselves by giving them something significant to accomplish everyday.

Jim passed away seven years ago this past Sunday on December 19, 2003.

The power of simple encouragement can’t be overstated. The spoken word can change the world.

One morning over pancakes, Jim’s word of encouragement changed my life. And if you’ve ever been a part of USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, his words changed yours too. Thank you Jim Steiner!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

———————————

BOOT CAMP GIFT CERTIFICATES

You can give the gift of fitness for Christmas! For only $75 you can give a gift certificate good for a month of Boot Camp to any of your family or friends! I’ve got ‘em printed up and ready!

———————————

CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR BREAK

This coming Friday morning at 0530 we’ll celebrate the end of BOOT CAMP 2010! It’s our last workout of the year. (There will be no 0645, 0830 or 5:30 PM workouts on Friday, Christmas Eve.)

We will stand down until Monday, January 3, 2011 with all classes (0530, 0645, 0830, and 5:45 PM) meeting as scheduled. This is our annual one week break.

Weigh in for the Holiday Challenge will also be on Monday 3 Jan.

Have a very Merry Christmas! I’ll see you on The Quarterdeck in 2011!

——————————–

HOLIDAY HELP?

Even Santa had a team! If you have need for an extra pair of hands during the holidays for anything from party prep help to gift wrapping to running errands, a boot camper’s hands are ready to save the day!

Just contact me and I’ll forward your email on to her!

——————————-

BOOT CAMP DISCOUNTS AND FACEBOOK EXPERIMENT!

Here’s how it works!

Make a Facebook status update and get a discount!

For every status update that you make that references:
“USMC Fitness Boot Camp,”
“Sgt. Tony’s Boot Camp,”
“Tony’s Boot Camp,”
or something similar, you can take $2.50 off your reenlistment fee for each update!

You can take up to $20 off for any given month!

Your status update has to be a specific reference to USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP or to me specifically by name. And be sure to tag me.

You can do the same thing by “checking in” at USMC Fitness Boot Camp either by using Facebook “places,” Foursquare, or any of the other “check in” apps that show up on your Facebook News Feed.

So log on and start getting your discounts now!

———————————-

SPRING HALF MARATHON!

There are at least four half marathons in the spring! There is one in Nashville, Louisville, St. Louis, and Oklahoma City! (The Germantown Half Marathon is also in March.)

I’ll begin the training on January 29 for the spring half marathon! More details to follow!

————————————

WIND CHILL AND INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY

When the wind chill is 29 or lower, we’ll go inside at 0530, 0830, and 5:45 PM. The 0645 class is inside from now until March.

Check with weather.com or The Weather Channel. I’ll post it on my Facebook page and the Boot Camp website Blog page (http://usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/blog/) if there’s a question. And if you’re not sure, you can text me at 901-644-0145.

What about inclement weather days?

We’ll follow the Memphis City Schools decision. If they close, we’ll stand-down. If they close in the morning but the streets are clear and good to go by the afternoon, the evening class will meet. I’ll post that status on Facebook and the Boot Camp Blog page.

————————————-

PERSONAL TRAINING!

I’ve got a few prime hours open during the week if you know someone looking for a trainer. I use the facilities at Christ Methodist and the hourly rates are standard for Memphis. Over-all fitness training, boot camp style workouts, strength training, sports specific conditioning and agility (tennis, soccer, basketball, etc.)
TonyLudlow@aol.com or 901-644-0145

———————————-

FREE MONTH OF BOOT CAMP FOR YOU!

Remember that when one of your family or friends joins the program because of your recruiting them, YOU get a free month of Boot Camp!

———————————-

THE 0830 AND THE 0645 CLASSES!!

The 0830 Class meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Don’t forget that there is child care available at the church for this class!

The 0645 meets on MWF inside!

ATTENTION 0830 CLASS MEMBERS: please remember that no cell phone usage is allowed while you drive your car on the campus. So when you pull onto the campus, no cell phones please!

——————————————–

NEW PRICING FOR FAMILIES AND COUPLES

If you’re a part of a family (usually husband and wife) that does USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, a new pricing plan goes into effect in August! Ask me about it! You’ll like it!

———————————————-

WANT TO LOSE 20 POUNDS BY THE END OF NEXT MONTH?

Take Shape For Life is the BEST weight loss program I know of. If you’d like to lose weight talk to me. This is the program I used to lose the almost 30 pounds I gained after knee surgery. Let me help you!

You can also go to www.combatchallenge.tsfl.com/

——————————————-

TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASSES ARE ON HIATUS UNTIL FEB 2011

The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes are standing down until the last week in January.

However, I’ll be running at 4:30 PM at St. Mary’s track on Tues and Thursday and you’re welcome to join me for an informal jog fest!

———————————————-

CALENDAR

A calendar has been added to the official USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP website.
http://www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/calendar.html

For you visual learners, you’ll find this an easy way to glance at the week or month and see where the workouts will be, if there’s a venue change.

—————————————————

What would you do if money were not an issue, fear were not a factor, and failure were not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!

SEE YOU ON THE QUARTERDECK!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


Weather Update: 0500 hrs, 17 Dec. 2010

Dec. 17th 2010

Windchill: 23. We’re in!

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


Weather Update — 1700 hrs, 15 Dec 2010

Dec. 15th 2010

We’re outside, Evening Crew!

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


POLARIS — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s Newsletter for Dec. 15, 2010

Dec. 15th 2010

Across the open field I ran … scared straight!

Alone, running as fast as I could under a cloudless night sky, the farmhouse behind me engulfed in spotlight from the three or four cop cars that had just moments before descended on it.

I was sure I could hear the barking of police dogs in hot pursuit and knew that they’d be on me in no time if I didn’t run faster. I’d covered about 200 yards and had to get to the tree line, now about 100 yards ahead of me.

The night had started normal enough.

My buddies and I were spending another summer Saturday night with nothing much to do. Teenagers in small towns don’t have many options. One of my friends and I had been driving around town and we’d parked in front of a grocery store where some other friends from school had parked. We were just hanging out. Mostly bored.

An acquired level of acceptable boredom keeps a lot of small town young people mired in mediocrity for the whole of their lives. This particular night several of us didn’t want to be bored. We wanted some fun and excitement. But there weren’t many things to spark much fun or excitement that night. So when Joey (not his real name), a guy I barely knew, pulled up and said he was going to a party that was gonna be epic, I was more than willing to check it out.

Joey was sketchy. He was one of those guys who came across as some sort of a “thug-wanna-be.” He was arrogant, mouthy, and bragged about his wild ways and the girls who wanted him. He and I played little league football together when we were 9 years old. Outside of that, he and I had never been close friends. But that night he was better than the lame options I’d been weighing. And besides, he had two girls in his car and I had none.

By this time my buddy had already abandoned me when the girl he was “kind of dating” had driven up and ordered him around like a trained monkey. He hopped when she said jump and left with her. I called him a number of fitting names as they drove off together. No wonder she didn’t like me. (Years later he actually married this girl.)

Joey told me to get in his car. He’d drive. So I got in the back seat of Joey’s car. Susan was in the backseat too. I didn’t know Susan so we started talking and I paid no attention to where we were actually going. She was cute and seemed pretty cool. Said she’d just broken up with her boyfriend and she was afraid that he “might” be at the party too. Great. The last thing I wanted was to be caught up in some drama with a jealous ex-boyfriend and a girl I just met.

We finally got to the long “driveway” that led from the road to the farmhouse. It was then that I realized that I had no idea where we were. Out in the middle of nowhere is all I could determine. South of town, I thought. I also had no idea whose farmhouse it was. No matter. There were probably 20 cars parked all around the front yard, music blaring, lots of energy, and there seemed to be a lot of people having a good time. Fun was afoot!

I got out of the car and followed along with Joey, his girl, and Susan as we headed toward the farmhouse. I walked just close enough to be a part of the group, but not close enough to Susan to give some paranoid jealous ex-boyfriend reason to think that I was “with” her.

Sure enough, Susan’s ex came marching up, gave me a dirty look, and started pleading with her. I just kept walking past him. I could hear Susan trying to explain to him that it was over. He seemed to think it wasn’t. He started begging. Dude was clueless. I didn’t turn around but just kept walking with Joey and his girl toward the music and fun. I’m allergic to drama.

On the porch outside of the farmhouse were two giant speakers blasting out songs from The Eagles, The Doobie Brothers, and Pink Floyd. The place, inside and out, looked like a page out of Woodstock, with people wrapped up in blankets, and others standing around drinking and smoking pot. I’d never seen so many kegs and assorted bottles of booze in my life. Everyone seemed drunk, stoned, wasted or in some other alternate state of inebriation or incapacitation. Everyone seemed quite happy. There was a pot-smoke-fog that hung in the air. I think I got high from second hand smoke as I walked through the house, looking for someone I might know other than Joey, who had disappeared.

I grabbed a beer and started nursing it as I walked through the house. In the dim light I could see couples who were … well … coupling. It was easy to trip over the couples coupling. There was coupling going on everywhere it seemed. Apparently the party had been in full swing for a while and teams had already been paired up, so to speak.

I’d been there for about 30 minutes when I was in the hallway of the house looking for the bathroom when I became aware of an abrupt change in the energy of the place. Something didn’t seem right. And then I heard someone yell, “COPS!!”

Uh oh.

People smokin’ weed don’t move fast, but they all started to stir and scurry about like squirrels caught in a cage. They sort of reminded me of those old-school football game toys. You know the ones with the little plastic players who move around by the vibration of the metal “field.” Some of those players always spun around in circles. Same thing was going on in the farmhouse.

I started running toward the back of the house looking for a door. I found myself in a bedroom where the “COPS!” alarm had not been heard and the couples coupling in that room were still coupling and oblivious to the buzz kill about to overtake the house and its occupants. Coupleus interruptus.

I looked back toward the front part of the house, about to retrace my steps and look for another way out when I saw the flash of lights from flashlights and car mounted spotlights. It looked like a Star Wars light saber fight was going on. I knew that a return trip through the house was out of the question.

I started to panic.

The bedroom where I was had an open window. With no other option, I ran toward the first floor window and dove out of it Superman-like. I hit the ground and started running across the open field behind the farmhouse. I saw others running around like the proverbial chickens with their heads cut off. The stoners didn’t seem to have the benefit of logic or deduction. Some were running in slow-motion to their cars. Where the cops were. Where the cops had blocked all of their cars. Including Joey’s car.

I finally hit the tree line and started running through the woods as fast as I could. With limited visibility, I crashed into trees. I tripped over roots and fell, several times. Tree branches scratched my arms. Thorn bushes and vines ripped my jeans and cut my face.

Good times.

And I had no idea where I was or where I was going. Fear of the unknown, in the dark, in the woods, on the run got my heart rate spiking.

I reached another open space and stopped to look at the night sky. I paused just long enough to find stars and orient myself to run north toward town, away from the farmhouse. (Thank you Boy Scouts!)

I kept running and stumbling and tripping through the woods. By this time I was a sweaty, dirty, bloody mess when I finally got to a paved road. I couldn’t see anything on that road in either direction. No houses. No cars. No signs. Nothing.

But I knew which way north was.

After about 20 minutes on that road, in the half-moonlight, I thought I recognized some landmarks. And then I saw a house off to the right in the far distance. The road started to look familiar. I’d been there before!

This was a section of lonesome road known to my older brother’s crew as “Zigthaller’s.” Named after old man Zigthaller, who allegedly had a farm out there somewhere, my brother, Jack, and his buddies had used this stretch of desolate road to drag race. And he’d taken me with him a few times. (Thanks Jack!)

It was great knowing where I was. And it was terrible too. I was way way out in the middle of nowhere. But at least I knew where I was and where I needed to go. So I started jogging down the road in the direction of town, hiding behind a tree or in a ditch or behind a bush every time a car came down the road. I was sure that the cops were still patrolling the area looking to round us all up and I could NOT get arrested. I’d already joined the Marines by this time and an arrest would derail my Marine Corps career forever.

I eventually made it to a quickie mart convenience store. They had a pay phone. I called my brother and about 30 long minutes later, he picked me up. When he saw the mess I’d become he started laughing uncontrollably. He laughed at me all the way to where my car was parked. He was still laughing at me when he dropped me off.

It was now after 2 in the morning and my mother was waiting for me when I got home. She was both relieved and angry. Mostly angry. She collected my car keys (MY car, mind you. Bought and paid for by yours truly) and she grounded me for eternity … in fact I think I’m still grounded!

Lessons learned?

My gut feelings about Joey were accurate. While I was in grad school, he was doing a 10 year stretch in prison.

Gut feelings ought to be minded.

I also learned that small seemingly inconsequential decisions can have enormous consequences.

I also learned a valuable lesson about decision making in general. In order to know which way to go, you first have to know where you are. And then you have to know where you want to go and then plot a course to get there. Sometimes a direction is all you can determine and that can be good enough to start the journey.

When Alice came to the fork in the road and asked the Cheshire Cat which road to take, he said, “Well, that depends on where you want to get to.”

“Oh, it really doesn’t matter …” answered Alice.

“Then it really doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

———————————

HOLIDAY HELP?

Even Santa had a team! If you have need for an extra pair of hands during the holidays for anything from party prep help to gift wrapping to running errands, a boot camper’s hands are ready to save the day!

Just contact me and I’ll forward your email on to her!

——————————-

BOOT CAMP DISCOUNTS AND FACEBOOK EXPERIMENT!

Here’s how it works!

Make a Facebook status update and get a discount!

For every status update that you make that references:
“USMC Fitness Boot Camp,”
“Sgt. Tony’s Boot Camp,”
“Tony’s Boot Camp,”
or something similar, you can take $2.50 off your reenlistment fee for each update!

You can take up to $20 off for any given month!

Your status update has to be a specific reference to USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP or to me specifically by name. And be sure to tag me.

You can do the same thing by “checking in” at USMC Fitness Boot Camp either by using Facebook “places,” Foursquare, or any of the other “check in” apps that show up on your Facebook News Feed.

So log on and start getting your discounts now!

———————————-

SPRING HALF MARATHON!

There are at least four half marathons in the spring! There is one in Nashville, Louisville, St. Louis, and Oklahoma City! (The Germantown Half Marathon is also in March.)

I’ll begin the training on January 29 for the spring half marathon! More details to follow!

————————————

WIND CHILL AND INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY

When the wind chill is 29 or lower, we’ll go inside at 0530, 0830, and 5:45 PM. The 0645 class is inside from now until March.

Check with weather.com or The Weather Channel. I’ll post it on my Facebook page and the Boot Camp website Blog page (http://usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/blog/) if there’s a question. And if you’re not sure, you can text me at 901-644-0145.

What about inclement weather days?

We’ll follow the Memphis City Schools decision. If they close, we’ll stand-down. If they close in the morning but the streets are clear and good to go by the afternoon, the evening class will meet. I’ll post that status on Facebook and the Boot Camp Blog page.

————————————-

PERSONAL TRAINING!

I’ve got a few prime hours open during the week if you know someone looking for a trainer. I use the facilities at Christ Methodist and the hourly rates are standard for Memphis. Over-all fitness training, boot camp style workouts, strength training, sports specific conditioning and agility (tennis, soccer, basketball, etc.)
TonyLudlow@aol.com or 901-644-0145

———————————-

BOOT CAMP GIFT CERTIFICATES

You can give the gift of fitness for Christmas! For only $75 you can give a gift certificate good for a month of Boot Camp to any of your family or friends! I’ve got ‘em printed up and ready for you!

———————————–

FREE MONTH OF BOOT CAMP FOR YOU!

Remember that when one of your family or friends joins the program because of your recruiting them, YOU get a free month of Boot Camp!

———————————-

THE 0830 AND THE 0645 CLASSES!!

The 0830 Class meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Don’t forget that there is child care available at the church for this class!

The 0645 meets on MWF inside!

ATTENTION 0830 CLASS MEMBERS: please remember that no cell phone usage is allowed while you drive your car on the campus. So when you pull onto the campus, no cell phones please!

——————————————–

NEW PRICING FOR FAMILIES AND COUPLES

If you’re a part of a family (usually husband and wife) that does USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, a new pricing plan goes into effect in August! Ask me about it! You’ll like it!

———————————————-

WANT TO LOSE 10 POUNDS BY THE END OF 2010?

Take Shape For Life is the BEST weight loss program I know of. If you’d like to lose weight talk to me. This is the program I used to lose the almost 30 pounds I gained after knee surgery. Let me help you!

You can also go to www.combatchallenge.tsfl.com/

——————————————-

NO MT. FUJI WORKOUT THIS MONTH.

Next Tuesday will be the M-16 Workout at 0530.

——————————————-

TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASSES ARE ON HIATUS UNTIL FEB 2011

The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes are standing down until the last week in January.

However, I’ll be running at 4:30 PM at St. Mary’s track on Tues and Thursday and you’re welcome to join me for an informal jog fest!

———————————————-

CALENDAR

A calendar has been added to the official USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP website.
http://www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/calendar.html

For you visual learners, you’ll find this an easy way to glance at the week or month and see where the workouts will be, if there’s a venue change.

—————————————————

What would you do if money were not an issue, fear were not a factor, and failure were not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!

SEE YOU ON THE QUARTERDECK!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


Status Update — December 15, 2010

Dec. 15th 2010

Windchill this morning is 28, so we’re in.

A reminder regarding inclement weather and school closings. If the Memphis City Schools close due to weather, we will stand-down.

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


Candy Anyone? — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s Newsletter for 12/8/10

Dec. 7th 2010

She said she was a dancer and if I wanted to believe it that was my business. She said this with all of the warmth and winsomeness of a velociraptor.

Charming.

I was doing personal training during my summer breaks when I was a high school teacher and coach. That summer I had about 20 clients, three of whom were exotic dancers. Two of them had been entertaining the fellas around the chrome pole for quite a while. The other was a young college student working her way through school. Least that’s what she said.

Anyway, the “charming” one, the veteran of the three, was also the most stunning. And by stunning, I mean gorgeous. And by gorgeous, I mean perfectly proportioned and beautiful.

The gym where I trained these clients became a second home for me that summer. I was there all the time working out myself or, more often than not, training one of those 20 clients. Over time I made friends with several of the guys who came to the gym at the same time of day that I was there working.

I’ll never forget the day that I was hanging out with three of these guys when the door opened and in walked the charming one. And even though the guys and I were on the other side of the gym, these poor knuckleheads stopped talking and started staring at her. As did every guy in the place.

I noticed that it was “Candy” (not her real stage name) and I said to the gawkers, “Well fellas, there’s my 10 o’clock.” The look on their faces was priceless. They were full of envy … called me “LUCKY!!!” … gave me fist bumps and high fives.

My hours spent with Candy were, by far and without exaggeration, the most miserable hours of my week. Maybe of my life.

Candy was physically flawless. She was the kind of woman whose beauty commanded the attention of any room she entered. The men stared at her. The women glared at her.

My gym rat buddies thought I was the luckiest guy in the world. But I wasn’t. I even told them so. They didn’t believe me.

Spending time with Candy was horrible. Seriously. I dreaded it. Candy’s beauty could not make up for her foul and bitter personality. She was poisoned on the inside. She was terribly angry, tragically jaded, and temperamental. At first I thought that she just didn’t like me. But I discovered that it wasn’t just me. The other dancer, “Dakota,” told me how sad Candy’s situation was. She had few friends and no successful long term relationships. Maybe it was her line of work, always surrounded by the worst of men, I don’t know, but she seemingly had little regard for anyone or anything … except her appearance.

During the workouts, in between sets, there’s a short rest where my clients and I have brief conversation as they recover from one set to the next. This is a sample of my first attempts at conversation with Candy.

Me: “So, are you originally from Memphis?”
Candy: “No.”
Cricket sounds.
Me: “I see. So where are you from?”
Candy: “Tampa.”
Me: “Oh, Tampa?! Cool!” I said, trying in vain to engage her. “How long have you been in Memphis?”
Candy: …………
Cricket sounds.
Me: “OK, let’s increase the weight for this next set … “

At one point during our second or third session she said, “If I have something to say to you, I’ll say it … otherwise you can just forget the small talk.”

Lovely.

Maybe she thought that I’d start asking embarrassing questions or try to pry into her personal life. I don’t know. So I started chatting with other people or making notes in my journal in between Candy’s sets. Also I demonically kicked her butt and gave her no mercy. “Fine, you don’t wanna be my friend, then I’ll REALLY get you to hate me!!”

After a while I started antagonizing her with taunts like “Seriously? That’s all you’ve got, Candy? I’ve got middle-aged housewives with four kids who work harder.” I’d say her name as if I were scrapping something nasty off the bottom of my shoe. “Caaandee.” Plus I loved referencing middle-aged housewives to her because Candy had a disdain for them. I’m not sure why. She’d shoot me an icy glare that apparently stopped other men in their tracks. But since we weren’t friends and weren’t gonna be friends, I just kept it up.

I also kept increasing the hourly fee I charged her. If it was going to be painful, it might as well be profitable.

And this is how I endured my time with the “perfect” woman.

On the other hand there was Mike and Kelly (not their real names) who were also clients of mine.

They were an engaged couple that I trained separately. Mike was a history teacher like me and Kelly worked for a local charity. Neither of them were in very good shape and they wanted to look nice for their wedding. But more importantly they were going to be hiking the Grand Canyon for part of their honeymoon and needed to get fit for their hike. Both of them were … well, not fit … you might say that they were a “sturdy couple.” When Kelly arrived at the gym for her first session, my gym rat pals hardly noticed.

But I loved training Mike and Kelly! She had a great sense of humor, was kind, caring, and thoughtful. She also seemed to think most of what I said was hysterical. And Mike was a fire hydrant type of guy who loved life, loved people, and had a quick wit and an even quicker laugh! Time with them flew by!

I charged Mike and Kelly a fraction of what I charged Candy.

What did I learn from those clients? I learned that you must look for yourself within.

Candy hadn’t learned what Mike and Kelly knew. That happiness is an inside job. That external changes made to affect an internal metamorphosis don’t work. Happiness is microwave technology, not convection.

I learned that you find your sense of self-worth and self-esteem in the energy you exude and the difference you make in the lives of others.

I want you guys, the members of USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, to be healthy, happy, fit, and active, living a full life! A balanced life. I don’t want any of you to be like Candy. Out of balance.

You can change your geography or your appearance or your job or your whatever, but the momentary happiness those changes bring will evaporate like the fog as soon as the newness wears off. And then you’ll need something else. Always something else. Always.

New places and new stuff have no long-term effect on your long-term peace and contentment.

You can chase some imaginary goal, or thing, or person, or relationship hoping that you’ll get meaning and joy from them. But if you’re not happy in the journey, if you’re not happy on the inside, the achievement will be empty and meaningless.

How does someone become happy in and of themselves without the need for the externals and the changes in location and the acquisition of things?

I think it all starts with self-reflection. Most people are strangers to themselves, not knowing, and not wanting to know, what’s going on in their heads and hearts. Time spent with a counselor, a therapist, or a journal and a pen might be good places to start.

I think becoming happy involves untangling. Untangle yourself from the trauma of a childhood that left you damaged or hurting or wanting. Untangle yourself from the failures of the past that allow you to forgive yourself and others. Untangle yourself from the delusions of your present. Untangle yourself from as many relationships that are toxic, unhealthy, or unhappy.

Happiness also includes self-love. It’s often said that you can’t expect someone else to love you if you don’t love yourself. And that’s true! But there is so much self-loathing going on. (Somehow, I rather suspected that Candy didn’t really like herself very much.) So I’m giving you permission to like yourself. It’s ok. Really. I know you and I think you’re pretty cool! Love yourself. Be lovable.

These are a few things to get you started.

All of us are pilgrims on this planet finding our way as best as we can.

None of us have it all figured out. Just know that as soon as you start trying to achieve happiness by doing something, going somewhere, buying something, getting something … if your happiness is “out there” … you’re looking in the wrong place.

So give yourself a break. Don’t be so hard on yourself … and others. Relax. Quit worrying so much. (90% of the stuff we worry about never happens … leaving 10% … and of the left over 10%, half of that is out of our control … leaving only 5%. Worrying about stuff that you can’t change or fix is a waste of your time and energy, and is, quite frankly, ignert. And if you CAN fix it … well, what are you waiting on?

Be a Kelly!

Be a Mike!

Don’t be no Candy.

———————————

HOLIDAY HELP?

Even Santa had a team! If you have need for an extra pair of hands during the holidays for anything from party prep to gift wrapping to running errands, a boot camper’s hands are ready to save the day!

Just contact me and I’ll forward your email on to her!

———————————-

THE HALF MARATHON!

Congratulations to all of the members of Sgt. Tony’s Half Marathon Platoon!!

You guys (almost 30 of you!) were absolutely AWESOME!!

I’m so proud of you all! It was so much fun cheering for you and watching you run by, all smiles and high fives and fist bumps!

What’s next?

There are at least four half marathons in the spring! There is one in Nashville, Louisville, St. Louis, and Oklahoma City!

I’ll begin the training on January 29 for the spring half marathon! More details to follow!

————————————

COLD WEATHER POLICY

This year I’ve enacted a “cold weather policy. No, I’m not getting soft, but I am aware of the fact that I lose some of you every winter when the temps plunge. So I’d like to keep you this year! You’ve spoken and I’ve heard you.

When the wind chill goes below 30, we’ll go inside at 0530, 0830, and 5:45 PM. The 0645 class is inside from now until March.

Check with weather.com or with one of the local TV stations for the weather. I’ll post it on my Facebook page too. If you’re not sure, text me at 901-644-0145.

Looking forward to seeing you ALL WINTER LONG!!!

————————————-

PERSONAL TRAINING!

I’ve got a few prime hours open during the week if you know someone looking for a trainer. I use the facilities at Christ Methodist and the hourly rates are standard for Memphis. Over-all fitness training, boot camp style workouts, strength training, sports specific conditioning and agility (tennis, soccer, basketball, etc.)

TonyLudlow@aol.com or 901-644-0145

———————————-

THE 0830 AND THE 0645 CLASSES!!

The 0830 Class meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!

Don’t forget that there is child care available at the church for this class!

The 0645 meets on MWF inside!

ATTENTION 0830 CLASS MEMBERS: please remember that no cell phone usage is allowed while you drive your car on the campus. So when you pull onto the campus, no cell phones please!

——————————————–

NEW PRICING FOR FAMILIES AND COUPLES

If you’re a part of a family (usually husband and wife) that does USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, a new pricing plan goes into effect in August! Ask me about it! You’ll like it!

———————————————-

WANT TO LOSE 15 POUNDS BY THE END OF 2010?

Take Shape For Life is the BEST weight loss program I know of. If you’d like to lose weight talk to me. This is the program I used to lose the almost 30 pounds I gained after knee surgery. Let me help you!

You can also go to www.combatchallenge.tsfl.com/

——————————————-

M-16 WORKOUT NEXT TUESDAY IN THE GYM AT 0530!

——————————————-

TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASSES ARE ON HIATUS UNTIL FEB 2011

The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes are standing down until the last week in January.

However, I’ll be running at 4:30 PM at St. Mary’s track on Tues and Thursday and you’re welcome to join me for an informal jog fest!

———————————————-

CALENDAR

A calendar has been added to the official USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP website.
http://www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/calendar.html

For you visual learners, you’ll find this an easy way to glance at the week or month and see where the workouts will be, if there’s a venue change.

—————————————————

What would you do if money were not an issue, fear were not a factor, and failure were not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!

SEE YOU ON THE QUARTERDECK!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


CHASING FRENCH GIRLS! — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s Newsletter for December 1, 2010

Dec. 1st 2010

I rode past them every afternoon.

They were all men and strangers to me.

But every afternoon there they were without fail. And there I was, riding my bike past them, loaded down with a backpack full of schoolbooks.

I looked at them. They looked at me. I rode past.

This went on for months.

Then one day I decided to wave at them.

The old men sitting in front of the “old folks home” waved back.

We started waving at each other everyday after that.

The kids climbed all over it, never giving it much thought. And neither did I, as I sat and wrote in my journal. And why would anyone pay it much attention. It was a playground piece surrounded by swings, and slides, and jungle gyms. An odd piece to be sure, but nothing to get too enamored with.

Mostly the kids climbed on its wings and a few would venture up on top of the fuselage, pretending to be pilots. But the beat up old jet on static display in the park, paint faded and peeling, didn’t really amount to much. After a few minutes of climbing on it, kids would get bored and run off to find other adventures.

One day that spring, after months of riding my bike past the old folks home and waving, I decided to ride up the short driveway that led to the long porch where the dozen or so men sat watching the world go by and from where they’d seen me ride past. That day I stopped and said hello.

And after going to that park for months and looking at the old jet, I got curious. What was the story with that plane, I wondered. So I took out my journal and wrote down the faded bureau serial number, barely visible on the tail section of the old plane.

When you’re 15 you tend to think that old men have been old men forever. I couldn’t imagine that these old guys had ever been anything but old guys. After that first day of stopping and saying hello, I learned that those old men had once been young men like me.

It might have been pity that motivated me to stop that first day – I felt sorry for the old men, seldom visited by any family — but it was genuine intrigue that kept me coming back. The “Old Breed,” as I nicknamed them, became friends to me. I laughed as they made fun of one another and “goofed” on each other in pretty much the same way that my friends and I did. After several weeks they started messin’ with me too. That was when I knew I’d been accepted as a part of the group.

“Bicycle Boy, (what they called me when “Tony” escaped them) do you shave yet?” one would ask.

“Yes sir,” I’d said.

“With a blade and all?” another would say with a laugh.

“NO! He don’t use no blade!” another would insist! “Bet he just smears some milk on his chin and gets the cat to lick it off!”

And this kind of thing would send them all into a laughing and coughing frenzy!

Armed with the bureau serial number, library research unlocked the secrets of that North American F-100 standing vigil as a playground relic. The bureau serial number was like a social security number for that airplane. In the library I was able to research the history of that one specific airplane. And what I found was more than I could have imagined.

As the Old Breed let me in more and more, and I started paying attention to the things they said to dig at each other, I discovered that these old dudes were real men, through and through. Harold would call Carl a pansy because during World War II Carl was “living it up in Paris chasing French girls while I was getting my ass shot off on Guadalcanal.”

Carl would counter with, “Yeah, Harold you and your little jarhead buddies (a derogatory reference to Marines) were enjoying a south sea vacation while I was freezing to death in a Belgian forest with no food and no ammunition and the Jerries shelling us all night.” And on and on it would go like that with these guys.

Bureau serial number 53712 belonged to a F-100 Super Sabre that had flown in the Korean war. According to the information I found, the jet had been shot up so many times and patched up that it’s hard to imagine that it could even fly at all. It had managed to limp its way back to safety with a grateful pilot in the cockpit every time! It had been responsible for 12 downed enemy aircraft. It had been involved in the air support of thousands of grateful Marines on the ground. The history of 53712 was full of glory!

The Old Breed included a survivor of the Bataan Death March in the Philippines during WWII. (I had to look that up.) One had stormed the beaches of Normandy. One had parachuted into occupied France. One had been on an aircraft carrier that had been sunk by a kamikaze in the Pacific, spending hours in the ocean hoping to be rescued. One had been a prisoner of war in a concentration camp in Germany. One had been on the beaches of Iwo Jima and had gotten wounded winning a Silver Star on the first day of the battle and had to be taken off the island to a hospital ship. The Old Breed called him a “feather merchant quitter!” (what ever that was) … No one was spared the harassment! Everyone got “the business!” So you can only imagine the crap they gave me, a 15 year old kid waiting for his voice to change!

Theirs was a fraternity of men’s men and I was accepted into that fraternity on a probationary provisional basis. I had to solemnly swear to “lose my virginity, buy a car, join the service, do something spectacular, and not be a wussy.” Not necessarily in that order. (They used another word that rhymes with wussy.) “Don’t you dare be a punk! You hear?! You be a man!”

There are untold stories behind the most unexpected people. Old men sitting in chairs waving at a kid on a bike turned out to be heroes and great men beyond my imagination. And I grieved as the years took members of the Old Breed away. Today over 1000 of those World War II veterans die every single day. A generation of gallantry lost to a generation that doesn’t know and doesn’t care.

Not everyone is as they appear.

An old airplane sunk in cement, sitting idle in a playground, had been the instrument of untold and unsung valor and victory … unknown to everyone but the pilots who flew her … and to me.

Not everything is as it seems.

After I’d discovered the history of that Super Sabre I went back to the park, reverently walked up to it, and looked at it like I’d never looked at it before. I was in awe. As kids scuffled and climbed on the old jet, I slowly reached out my hand and touched her wing and tried as best as I could to appreciate what that plane had done for me and my country and the pilots who flew her into combat.

There are plenty of shallow and vacuous people in the world without a thing of depth, or compassion, or achievement, or contribution, or accomplishment, or self-sacrifice to commend them. Selfish. Narcissistic. Self centered. Petty. Materialistic. Dramatic. Arrogant. Entitled. Self-righteous. Most will live and die, unheralded, uncelebrated, unsung, and forgotten. Others will, unfortunately, be famous. (Hear me Lindsey? Kardashians? Housewives of (fill in the blank) … )

But on the other hand, there are untold numbers of people you casually encounter everyday who carry within them a history of incredible courage, achievement, depth, dignity, survival, and meaning. But you’d never know it. This is especially true of old folks. And so many have outlived their spouses, their families and their friends, yet they are still here alone and often forgotten. Here in a culture that elevates youth without merit and scoffs at anything old. A culture that has quit treating them as human beings.

I like what John Prine said.

“So if you’re walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes,
Please don’t just pass ‘em by and stare
As if you didn’t care, say, ‘Hello in there, hello.’”

———————————

HOLIDAY WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE

This challenge is completely optional. But if you’re willing, here it is.

Every year the average American gains between 8 and 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years. In an effort to stop that from happening to you, I present …

SERGEANT TONY’S 2010 HOLIDAY WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE

Here’s how it works.

Beginning on Wednesday, December 1, I’ll weigh you and write down your weight. On January 3 when we come back after the holiday break, I’ll weigh you again.

If you’ve maintained your weight, you get a FREE MONTH of BOOT CAMP!
If you’ve lost weight, you get an ADDITIONAL FREE MONTH of BOOT CAMP!

YOU COULD WIN TWO FREE MONTHS OF BOOT CAMP!!!

Small print:
The cost of participation is $50, due at weigh-in and non-refundable.
Free months won are redeemable beginning with March 2011.

Every year Boot Campers succeed in keeping those holiday pounds from accumulating! That could be you this year!!

The sad thing about those pounds gained is that IF they are lost, they aren’t lost until after June or so … IF they are lost at all.

Weigh-in begins on Wednesday and will continue on Thursday and Friday of next week!

———————————-

THE HALF MARATHON IS SATURDAY!

Congratulations members of Sgt. Tony’s Half Marathon Platoon!! You’re ready!!

I’m on the mend from my most recent training setback, but unfortunately I’ve had to withdraw and will not be running this year. Sadly. (I’ll be ready for our spring half marathon training which will begin at the end of January!)

I’ll be out there cheering you on! So look for me in the median on North Parkway, on your left, at around mile 6 or so. I’ll try to be loud!

Don’t forget to check the website, click on the Archieve for August 2010 and click on the Half Marathon Training entry.

You’ll find Tips and Strategies for the race that will help you make this a great day in your life!

Don’t forget to go to the expo tomorrow if you can. Friday will be a madhouse at packet pick up.

GOOD LUCK ON SATURDAY EVERYONE!!!

————————————

COLD WEATHER POLICY

This year I’ve enacted a “cold weather policy.” (No, I’m not getting soft, but I am aware of the fact that I lose some of you every winter when the temps plunge. So I’d like to keep you this year! You’ve spoken and I’ve heard you.

When the wind chill goes below 30, we’ll go inside at 0530, 0830, and 5:45 PM. The 0645 class is inside from now until March.

Check with weather.com or with one of the local TV stations for the weather. I’ll post it on my Facebook page too. If you’re not sure, text me at 901-644-0145.

Looking forward to seeing you ALL WINTER LONG!!!

————————————-

PERSONAL TRAINING!

I’ve got a few prime hours open during the week if you know someone looking for a trainer. I use the facilities at Christ Methodist and the hourly rates are standard for Memphis. Over-all fitness training, boot camp style workouts, strength training, sports specific conditioning and agility (tennis, soccer, basketball, etc.)
TonyLudlow@aol.com or 901-644-0145

———————————-

THE 0830 CLASS AND THE CONTINUATION OF THE 0645 CLASS!!

The 0830 Class meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!

Don’t forget that there is child care available at the church for this class!

The 0645 meets on MWF inside!

ATTENTION 0830 CLASS MEMBERS: please remember that no cell phone usage is allowed while you drive your car on the campus. So when you pull onto the campus, no cell phones please!

——————————————–

NEW PRICING FOR FAMILIES AND COUPLES

If you’re a part of a family (usually husband and wife) that does USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, a new pricing plan goes into effect in August! Ask me about it! You’ll like it!

———————————————-

WANT TO LOSE 20 POUNDS BY THE END OF 2010?

Take Shape For Life is the BEST weight loss program I know of. If you’d like to lose weight talk to me. This is the program I used to lose the almost 30 pounds I gained after knee surgery. Let me help you!

You can also go to www.combatchallenge.tsfl.com/

——————————————-

M-16 WORKOUT NEXT TUESDAY IN THE GYM AT 0530!

——————————————-

TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASS ARE ON HIATUS UNTIL FEB 2011

The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes are standing down until the last week in January.

However, I’ll be running at 4:30 PM at St. Mary’s track on Tues and Thursday and you’re welcome to join me for an informal jog fest!

———————————————-

CALENDAR

A calendar has been added to the official USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP website.
http://www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/calendar.html

For you visual learners, you’ll find this an easy way to glance at the week or month and see where the workouts will be, if there’s a venue change.

—————————————————

What would you do if money were not an issue, fear were not a factor, and failure were not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!

SEE YOU ON THE QUARTERDECK!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


Like us on Facebook

Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust

Search

Categories

Archives