Story 17

Getting More and More
in Return

Illustration by Vince “Pixar” Palko at AdToons

I was very active in my youth. Participating in gymnastics, playing baseball, street hockey, basketball, and football with friends kept me very busy. High school wasn’t much different. I had stopped with gymnastics and picked up ice hockey. The conditioning for hockey as intense. I can say that I was in pretty good shape and active throughout high school. 

Moving into college was a little different. I was not getting exercise through sports but was “working out” with jobs. I was working at UPS loading trailers while attending school. Working two jobs and attending school, I was active but not working out or deepening my fellowship or faith. I was married and had a four-month-old son at graduation. 

Fast forward 10 years – I now have four sons and a “desk” job and was not getting much exercise. Sure, I was helping out coaching the boys in soccer and baseball getting “exercise” while out there but not enough. I heard about a men’s workout group that was coming to our area called F3 from one of my son’s soccer coaches who also attends the same church. 

At first, I blew it off thinking this doesn’t pique my interest. I justified it in my head as, “I’m too busy to add anything else in my life right now.” Well a month or so passed and F3 just had their first beatdown. My brother-in-law attended and was pleased with what F3 was all about and asked me to come out to a beatdown. After hearing the time of day of the workouts, I was even less interested! However, I set my alarm for my first one on a Saturday morning. 

It was at a local high school. I pulled in the lot and saw a lot of cars and guys standing in a circle. I don’t remember the exact number of guys there, but I’m pretty sure it was in the fifties. After that hour was up, I stood in the middle of the circle and proceeded to tell everyone a little about myself to get my F3 name. As I stated earlier, I was in gymnastics in my younger days and my brother-in-law proceeds to shout out, “he used to be a gymnast.” It was then that my nickname of “Mary Lou,” after the famous Mary Lou Retton, was given. At first, I was unsettled by the name, but I have since embraced it. For the first few months, I was only attending on Saturday mornings, and I wasn’t really getting anything out of it besides a really good workout once a week. 

I believe you get out what you put into something. I wasn’t putting in a lot of effort in F3 so wasn’t getting a lot out of it. As time went on, I started going a few times during the week and attending some rucks and participating in some 2nd and 3rd F’s. I was amazed what I was getting in return when I started to put more into this program. 

I now embrace the early morning alarm, even enough to ruck in the morning before the beat down. All three F’s are important to what this program stands for. It is enriching to embrace that we all come from different backgrounds and religions, but we can come together to better ourselves. I need the accountability to work out. It’s easy to tell yourself that you need to go to the gym and workout, but it’s easier to find reasons to end up not going. 

Once you make the decision to HC (hard commit) to a workout, you better go or you will get called out by your F3 brothers. Sure, I could go to the gym by myself, but now, after F3, I don’t want to. You come to realize that the guy next to you has gone through or is going through the exact same stuff as you. Everyone attended F3 or the first time for different reasons. We stay for the same – to become the best version of ourselves as we can. We push hard in the gloom, then push hard throughout the day to be the best fathers, husbands, brothers, and leaders we can be.

Kevin “Mary Lou” Kudro

Check out other #Miracle stories.

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