Story 20

From Skeptic
to True Believer

Illustration by Vince “Pixar” Palko at AdToons

To be honest, I thought I was very happy with my life before F3. I’m married to an amazing woman and have 3 beautiful and healthy children. I’m blessed to have a large family with the majority of them in town. Things seemed to fall into place with nearly everything; the one exception was since kids came into the picture (10 years prior), I had not spent much time focusing on my health and fitness. This was further slowed by needing knee surgery to repair some injuries from years on the basketball court. After seeing some aging family members run into health troubles, I thought I needed to make the change now so I can be around for my kids down the road.

I was told about F3 from Matt “Stark” Yarder, and like many, I was skeptical and gave many reasons why I couldn’t join. His pitch and persistence had me eventually coming out in the “gloom” to join a group of guys I’ve never met before to perform “The Murph!” 

This was the first real exercising I had done since being injured and having surgery nearly 18 months prior. I will forever remember looking up at the sky during the pull ups with the rain hitting me in the face thinking, “What the &^%$ am I doing out here?” 

I remember I was sore for days and still not sure I was going to come back, but after a few posts, I started to understand that there was much more to F3 than just the fitness benefit. Hearing the stories of so many great guys in my community, with all of us working to improve ourselves for our families, community, and our impact during our time here was moving. 

The accountability and genuine support from the group was unlike anything I’ve seen before. I mentioned the other day at my first solo Q that two months ago I could barely think about doing a workout much less leading one! This group and this community have driven me to step outside my comfort zone and given me a gift and an opportunity to be a part of something great!

I find myself picking up various pieces of advice from the group that has helped me personally, professionally, and physically. The concept really has shown that whether you are a marathon runner or an aging out of shape former athlete, F3 allows you to be challenged and improve yourself. I am not one of the smaller guys in the group and was very hesitant to think I could fit in with the workout. I’ve been amazed at how quick the transformation and how the other PAX motivate everyone to do their best with positive reinforcement. I think the ideal of “never leave the 6 behind” is great because it keeps everyone together (and because that was me catching up to the group in the beginning). 

Stark told me he couldn’t wait to get up in the morning to meet the PAX, and I thought that sounded crazy. Now I get it, and I find myself in the same boat looking forward to starting my day with my F3 brothers. Having just gone through Christmas, I was able to participate and to see firsthand the impact as we helped numerous families with gifts, food, and having a brighter holiday than they would have otherwise had. 

After originally joining for the 1st F, I’ve come to embrace the 2nd and 3rd and see the importance of all 3. I feel that those principles have taken what I thought was a great and complete life and improved them with things I didn’t know were missing. To anyone reading this or interested, I would tell you, I was very skeptical and didn’t want to take the leap, but my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. To paraphrase a quote from Lou Holtz’ explanation of Notre Dame to explain F3…

“For those who are a part of F3, no explanation is necessary.
Those that aren’t a part of F3, no explanation will suffice.”

Michael “Poodle” Lagger

Check out other #Miracle stories.

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