Sergeant Tony's Blog

Funk & Wagnalls — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s blog post for 1/23/2013

Wednesday, Jan. 23rd 2013 2:24 PM

It’s been just over a month since I lost my mom. Most of you know that she passed away early on the morning of December 13. And yesterday, January 22, was the 13th anniversary of my father’s death. Both of my parents are gone now.

Many of you also lost a parent this past year. And I’m so sorry for us all; however, it’s not my intention to wax morbid or maudlin here.

Losing a parent is sad, and miserable, and grievous. But when both parents are gone, an unhappy chapter of life begins; an unhappy chapter that is unwelcomed and unwanted. The two people who knew you and your personal history with such intimacy, with details that you yourself didn’t know, are gone forever and you are, genuinely and truly, on your own.

Lest you think me some sort of trust fund baby or one of those adult sons dependent on his parents, I was quite the opposite. I’ve been independent and on my own since I was a teenager. The last time either of my parents gave me any money, I was 14; and that was just considered normal in my family for my siblings and me. In high school, I had to quit playing sports so that I could work more hours at my after school job to help make ends meet at home. On Fridays, I gave my mom 30% of what I was paid, euphemistically known as “room and board.” I’m not begrudging any of it. I’m proud of my hardscrabble upbringing. It’s part of who I am. I know that some of you had it like that too. It tends to make people independent, stubborn, proud, and resourceful.

Despite years of independence and self-reliance, the loss of one’s parents makes certain realities in life permanent and disquieting.

I’ve had time to think about what my parents gave me and didn’t give me. As a father of grown children, I’m aware of the fact that we are all failures to some degree in the eyes of our children. Our children — like each of us — can look back on their childhood and wish that x, y, and z had been different. We wish our parents had given us more, done more, done less, said less, said more, been more patient, been less serious, been more demanding, been more fun, been invisible, been more visible, shown up more, shown up less, spent more time with us, spent less time hovering over us, given us more money, made us work for our money, allowed us to do more, kept us on a shorter leash, been more tolerant, been less permissive, etc., etc.

There are no perfect parents.

There are no perfect children.

As parents, we do the best that we can and hope for the best. But it’s a crap-shoot. Children don’t show up with an owner’s manual. What worked well with child #1, fails miserably with child #2, and works only part of the time with child #3.

But back to the question that inspired this piece: what did my parents give me?

The one thing that my mom gave me, beyond insisting on good manners and polite behavior, beyond insisting on “yes, sir,” and “no, sir,” and “yes, ma’am,” and “no, ma’am,” beyond “please” and “thank you,” my mother gave me a sense of the possible.

If I ever said, “I can’t … ,” my mother would say, “’Can’t’ never did do anything.” Its meaning was unclear to me in the same way that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” was unclear. I didn’t know what those things meant at the time I first heard them as a 6 or 7 year old boy. But I knew they were intended to inspire me to buck up and do it.

My mom never told me that anything was impossible for me to accomplish. There was no saying, “can’t.” She never told me that I wasn’t good enough or smart enough or able enough. In fact, she told me that I could do anything or be anything I wanted, if I wanted it badly enough, and if I worked hard enough.

Mom dropped out of high school in the 1940s to marry dad and start a family. And though she didn’t have a high school diploma, she instilled in her children a love for learning. She saved S&H Green Stamps to buy a set of encyclopedias for us to read! She insisted that I make good grades and work hard in school. She encouraged me to get a good education because “no one can take that from you,” she said.

The temptation for parents today to have their kids in every conceivable club, class, and lesson seems overwhelming. Keeping up with the Joneses today includes the kid’s activities. I hear moms bragging about the different teams, lessons, and activities that their children are involved in, as if it’s a competition. There seems to be a needless and potentially detrimental “one-up-manship” thing going on with these moms. To be a good parent is to have little Johnny and Janie so over scheduled that little Johnny and Janie never have a chance to be a kid. I fear little Johnny and Janie are going to be so wired and stressed out as kids they’ll miss out entirely on the joys of being a child.

I’ve talked to my kids about activities and events that cost me a lot of time and money to accomplish for them when they were little, and have been disappointed to learn that they have almost no recollection of some of those things today. And some of those high cost activities have been completely forgotten. Conversely, activities that I gave little thought to, were not costly, and seemed like minor events to me at the time, turned out to be many of the memories my kids deemed significant and special. They remember those! What??

I think parents need to give their children the gift of boredom. For boredom is the seedbed from which creativity and imagination grow. Turn it off. Shut it down. Unplug it. Regularly set them loose into a world of boredom and see what sprouts.

Kids need is to be reminded that they aren’t entitled to anything. The world doesn’t revolve around them. Mom and dad aren’t there for their entertainment. The mantra of the day when I was a kid was, “children should be seen, and not heard” and my parents enforced that rule. A trip to any casual eating establishment at lunch-time during the summer will demonstrate just how archaic that mantra is. Kids run wild, yell and scream, while frazzled looking parents, clearly over their heads and out of their depth, deliver false ultimatums they won’t enforce.

My parents loved me, but they didn’t have any concept or concern for my precious little self-esteem or my need for self-expression. There were no participation trophies in those days. Life has winners and losers. Life is unfair and that was a lesson that needed to be learned and embraced. “Be glad that life is unfair,” I was told, “that means a boy growing up poor from a little hick town in Arkansas to divorced parents could become President of the United States.”

That didn’t apply to Tony, but it applied to Bill. (Tony didn’t want to be president.)

Children aren’t entitled to greatness, but they have great opportunities in this great country of ours. Through hard work, self-discipline, determination, persistence, and dedication, impossible things can become possible.

Every once in a while, I meet adults who allowed someone in their past to crawl inside their head and convince them that they aren’t worthy, that they aren’t good enough, that they can’t. If you’ve allowed the negative voices of an unwise parent, a misguided teacher, an idiot coach, an unfit lover, or false friend to live rent free in your head telling you that you can’t, that you aren’t worthy, that you’re not good enough, then it’s time to evict that vagrant voice! Clean house! Toss that worthless crap out of your head! They’re wrong! They’re dead wrong! YOU CAN!

My mother never told me how to accomplish anything; she just told me that I could.

— 30 —

Successful People vs. Unsuccessful People

• Keep a “to do” project list
• Embrace change
• Exude joy
• Share information and data
• Talk about ideas
• Read everyday
• Give other people credit for their victories
• Have a sense of gratitude
• Compliment others
• Forgive others
• Accept responsibilities for their failures
• Keep a journal
• Want others to succeed
• Keep a “to be” list
• Set goals and develop life plans
• Continuously learn
• Operate from a transformational perspective

• Exude anger
• Horde information and data
• Talk about people
• Fly by the seat of their pants
• Fear change
• Watch TV everyday
• Take all of the credit for their victories
• Have a sense of entitlement
• Criticize others
• Hold a grudge
• Blame others for their own failures
• Say they keep a journal but really don’t
• Think they know it all
• Operate from a transactional perspective
• Secretly hope that others fail
• Don’t know what they want to be
• Never set goals




Interested? There is a half marathon here in Memphis in April, one in Nashville, and one in Louisville. (Let me know if you hear of others in late April.)

Are you new to half marathoning? You can come and try it out at no charge and no obligation.

If you can cover 3 miles in under 36 minutes, you can train with me and be a Buffalo Runner, even if you’ve never run a 5K! (Don’t believe me? Talk to Michelle Moss!)

Contact me if you have any questions! Cost is only $75 for active duty Boot Campers and $125 for non-boot campers for the three-month training.

We’ll meet at 7:30am on Sunday the 27th in front of the Visitor’s Center at Shelby Farms. This first training run will be 1hr 10min.

Sunday will be our intended running day, weather permitting. That is, if the forecast calls for clear skies on Saturday, but rain on Sunday, we’ll run on Saturday.


Physical Fitness Test at CUMC on Tuesday, January 29th! All classes!



The evening class is now 5 days a week, mirroring the two morning classes and beginning at 5:30pm, Monday – Friday.



Anytime the “Feels like” temperature on The Weather Channel – I’ll be using the TWC app for iPhone — drops to 30 or below, we’ll go inside. The 0530 and 0645 classes use the “blue gym” on those days. During basketball season, the evening class will use the exercise room off the main gym.

If the Memphis City Schools close for ice or snow, we will also stand down. If they start, but then dismiss classes early, the evening class will stand down.



What you get out of the workouts is determined by you.

How much do you work? How much effort you put into trying to do all of the repetitions with proper form and how much weight you’re using will determine what you get out of each workout.

It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!






When you check-in on Facebook, be sure to check-in on our OFFICIAL PAGE. That would be “USMC Fitness Boot Camp” and it has my picture on the page and boot camp is two words. The other pages are those that other people created without looking for the OFFICIAL PAGE and are duplicates. Those pages refer to us, but aren’t the authorized page.

Thanks, all!



Members of the Sub-7 Club are Boot Campers who’ve run the mile in under 7 minutes under my observation and timing.

Congratulations to the following members of the Sub Seven Club:

Lance Corporal Lee Chase,
Staff Sergeant Patrick Moore,
Staff Sergeant Rob Johnston,
Sergeant Andrew Stolnicki,
Lance Corporal Chris McLelland,
Gunnery Sergeant Bart Thomas,
First Sergeant Matt Green,
Staff Sergeant Dory Sellers,
Master Sergeant John Winford,
Sergeant Major Andrew Forsdick
and Gunnery Sergeant Henry Kenworthy.

Next challenge is Tuesday morning, January 29 at 0515 at the U of M track next to the Field House.



Your rank insignia t-shirts look AWESOME on you! (Don’t forget to wear yours EVERY WEDNESDAY AND/OR THURSDAY, T-SHIRT DAY!

And please go to

And enter your boot camp anniversary date. If that information is already there and correct, you’re good to go.

Every Wednesday is our Official BOOT CAMP T-SHIRT DAY! You can wear your rank insignia shirt anytime you‘d like, of course, but always every Wednesday!

The Rank Structure of the Quarterdeck:

Under 6 months is a Private
Six months to 1 year is a Private First Class.

Over 1 year is a Lance Corporal
– Amber Jackson 4/2011
– Sherri Thompson 4/2011
– Carrie Schule 5/2011
– Mary Bauer 6/2011
– Robin Scott 3/2011
– Chris McLelland 3/2011
– Courtney Phillips 2/2011
– Randal Rhea 4/2011
– Cindy King 4/2011
– Bevan Lee 5/2011
– Melissa Thompson 5/2011
– Wayne Henderson 1/2011
– Michelle Moss 5/2011
– Lee Chase 7/2011
– JD Dombroski 8/2011
– Lindsey Stanfill 9/2011
– ShaWanda Upshaw 10/2011
– Tara Ingram 11/2011
– Pam Torres – meritoriously promoted 12/2012
– Tait Keller 12/2012
– Kitty Keller 12/2012

Over 2 years is a Corporal
– Emily Melonas 6/2010
– Cecelia DeLacy 2/2010
– Beth Mills 5/2010
– Ashley Hofeditz 4/2010
– Anne Marie Wyatt 4/2010
– Jenni Harris 8/2010
– Tim Romanow 8/2010
– Ashley McClure 8/2010
– Wendy Shea 4/2008*
– Jeremy Harris 1/2009*
– Falana Scott 7/2010
– Paul Bauer 11/2010

Over 3 years is a Sergeant
– Teresa Faulk 6/2009
– Meg Cannon 3/2009
– Cameron Mosley 11/2009
– Karen Massey 11/2009
– Paul Tronsor 3/2009
– Jessie Flanders 1/2009
– Andrew Stolnicki 1/2009
– Jonathan Phillips 10/2008
– Ben Killerlain 1/2009
– Sarah Vickers 8/2009
– Shena Clemons 10/2008
– Robert Hunt 8/2009
– Albo Carruthers 8/2008
– Kim Wamble 8/2008*
– Scott Plunkett 10/2008

Over 4 years is a Staff Sergeant
– Buddy Daves 5/2008
– Anne Mead 2/2005*
– Dory Sellers 6/2006*
– Patrick Moore 9/2008
– Oscar Adams 3/2008
– Anne Kenworthy 8/2008
– Alan Schaeffer 4/2008
– Rob Johnston 4/2008
– Patty Dougherty 3/2008

Over 5 years is a Gunnery Sergeant
– Mike Ryan 5/2006*
– Leslie Garey 6/2007
– Henry Kenworthy 5/2007
– Michelle Dunn 3/2007
– Frank Jemison /2007
– Bart Thomas /2007
– Matt Prince /2007
– Beth Rehrig 7/2007
– George Rose /2007

Over 6 years is a Master Sergeant
– John Winford 2/2006
– Kay Ryan 10/2006
– Megan Warr 8/2006
– Kay Shelton 1/2006
– Leesa Jensen 5/2006
– Rob Norcross 8/2006
– Mike Barta 6/2005*
– Anne Emmerth 6/2005*
– Jeff Lee 1/2006
– Ralph Braden 9/2006

Over 7 years is a First Sergeant
– Melissa Moore 2/2005
– Louis Glazer 3/2005
– Scot Bearup 10/2005
– Matt Green 5/2005
– Gary Thompson 10/2005

Over 8 years is a Sergeant Major
– Hank Brown 3/2004
– Andrew Forsdick 9/2004
– Teri Trotter 4/2004

Over 9 years is a Warrant Officer 1
– David Townsend 1/2004
– Amy Singer 9/2003
– Peter Pettit 5/2003
– John Whittemore 1/2003
– Buddy Flinn 7/2003

Over 10 years is a Chief Warrant Officer 2
– Pat McGhee 1/2003

* broken time



We should be!


You should totally do that!



If you set up an automatic payment at your bank (Boot Camp mailing address is 4888 Southern, Memphis 38117) you can subtract $10 off your fee! That’s right, instead of $75, you can pay $65!

(This is not an automatic bank draft that I set up with a voided check. This an automatic payment that you yourself set up.)



0530 Monday through Friday
(First and second Tuesday of the month are M-16 Workouts at CUMC. Third and fourth Tuesdays are Mt. Fuji Workouts at the U of M)

0645 M-F

5:30 PM: Monday through Friday.



First of all, find me on Facebook and make me your friend. (Also, be sure to “like” USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP on Facebook.)

Here’s how the discount works!

It’s simple: 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, (there are fake boot camps out there) you can take $2.50 off your next 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.


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!



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



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.

You can also go to



A calendar has been added to the official USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP website.

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.


Q. How can I get up in the morning on a consistent basis?
A. Contrary to what many think, I am NOT a morning person. I have to be “dynamited” out of the bed! Here are some tips to help you get going in the morning:
1. Use two alarm clocks. I have a snooze alarm that starts going off several minutes before I intend to get up. Then I have a “Last Call” alarm clock that is located across the room. This alarm clock is set to go off when I MUST get up.
2. Once the last call alarm goes off, the bed become OFF LIMITS! Get moving!
3. Get out of bed, turn off the alarm clock, and start turning on lights all through the house. Turn on the TV.
4. Lay out your clothes the night before. Don’t go wandering around the house in the morning trying to find your left shoe and your favorite shorts. So, have things ready the night before.

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

To your optimum health and fitness!



Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

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

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