I’m a 62-year old retiree from both US Civil Service at Fort Hood and the US Army Reserve, although I served in all three components of the Army at various times and in various places. I’ve been married for 35 years, going on 36, to Amy Flinn (note the “L”) whom I met while we were sitting alphabetically in school. I have three children, only one of whom is a CrossFitter (my son is Level 1 certified) who is an Army officer at Fort Bliss. My oldest daughter works for McLane’s in Temple as a buyer, and my youngest daughter (my son’s twin) is finishing her PhD in English Literature at UC Irvine in California as we speak, and working in the Provost’s Office at UC Riverside.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I have always been interested in firearms and militaria, though I am not a competitor. I only compete fiercely in war or when I hate my opponent, neither of which happens much nowadays. I read a lot, and do run some (my biggest race each year has been the Austin 3M Half Marathon in January) and my wife and I are completing the Texas Master Naturalist course in Georgetown, which is greatly interesting and informative and will probably lead to us testing stream water somewhere and doing more nature stuff. Our new dog, Zelda, is our first indoor dog, which is an interesting venture. And, of course, I’m a CrossFitter.What is something we don’t know about you?
On 9/11, I was in New York participating in the closing of Fort Hood’s housing privatization deal, – the first of its kind using a new system. We were in our developer’s lawyer’s office at Park Avenue and 40th Street, and saw the first plane hit the WTC as we got off the elevator. After the Towers collapsed, we went back to our hotels for the day. I improvised a military uniform from surplus stores and acted as a military volunteer at Ground Zero from the afternoon of 9/11 to the evening of 9/12, when we gathered the military volunteers and “mustered them out” at Bloomberg’s mayoral campaign headquarters down on West Street, which had been given to us. I then went back to the housing deal closing that Thursday, which eventually lasted, off and on, until early November. Since I could not travel to Maryland for Army Reserve drill that month, my commander allowed me to count my 9/11 service as my monthly drill, now called “battle assembly.” Although I was only “downtown” for about 36 hours, one minor reason for CrossFit is to keep a check on my lungs.
When did you start crossfit? Why?
I started in the spring of 2012, so I’m now over four years at it. I first learned about it from my son, who got into it in college and has continued during his active duty service. Then Greg Glassman came to speak at Fort Hood, and that fascinated me. I like the idea of not wasting away as fast as most of my generation. Finally, at a Fort Hood JAG function “silent auction,” JJ, a young captain who did a lot at Centex until his transfer, auctioned off a “CrossFit Orientation” that I bid on and won. After that, I felt comfortable with the activity and the environment, On Ramp was the next logical step, and I’ve been at it ever since.
Do you remember your first wod?
Oh, yes. When I first began M-W-Th at 5:30 PM in 2012, Chad was coaching. He’s an excellent coach, of course, and treated me, as a beginner, like cut glass. “Maybe you should drop a little weight, there, Mike,” he would suggest somewhat anxiously, since I probably looked like I was about to die. We did thrusters (I had a heck of a time figuring out the motion) and did ring push ups, which made me incredibly sore.
What is your favorite/least favorite thing about crossift? (movement, wod, etc.)
Favorite? The heavy weight lifting in dead lifts and back squats. Lifting or squatting above my body weight is a rush, and progress seems to come in fits and starts, but it’s all good.
Least favorite? Burpees, hands down. Not only are they no fun, but I’m SLOW and BAD at doing them, thus prolonging the agony.
How has crossfit and/or Centex affected your life?
Where to start? I am convinced that CrossFit has retarded the progress of my diabetes to the point that I did not need to start on insulin until late 2014, and I’m on low doses. I was diagnosed in 1997, so I credit CrossFit for a lot of the delay. I used CrossFit as a steady reference point when retiring from Civil Service in January 2015, so I had some continuity, and it replaced the Army PT test I used to take as a fitness inspiration. Even though I placed practically “off the scale” on the introvert side on the Myers-Briggs Personality Test done by the Army, I greatly enjoy the social aspect of our workouts, since the athletes are united by effort and misery, but we all look forward to the next workout. Finally, I am convinced that I have actually improved in a variety of areas rather than gotten worse due to age, as I had hoped.
What advice would you give a newbie?
Jump in. Do it. It IS a big step, but the reward is definitely worth it. Yes, you’ll be sore afterward, but you make friends with soreness after a while and manage it.
Tell us your most memorable moment/wod/etc. at Centex?
At Civil War 2015, John Tipton and I placed just-above-the 50% mark of teams, when in the previous years we had been fighting to stay out of the cellar with mixed success. This did not, however, force us into the run-offs and thus more exercise. I can only attribute this to John’s rowing and a bad day for all the good teams, but it felt great.
Second, of course, would be winning at chicken bingo last year at the Barbells for Boobs dinner, even though I had to be physically grabbed and told, since a train was going by and I could hear nothing whatsoever. Seemed kind of unfair, cause who knows more about chicken stuff than somebody who spent forty years in an Army uniform? Amy and I took the Fredericksburg trip this fall and it was wonderful.
Have you met any goals since starting crossfit? What future goals do you have?
Basically, I have a lot more energy, I have more capacity for physical work when required, and I feel that I’m gaining, not losing, some flexibility and agility as well as strength. Those goals met.
Someday, good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I WILL do a strict pull up.
Give a favorite quote or encouraging word.
Whenever I’m put on a team of some sort in CrossFit for some activity, I lower their expectations by telling them, “I’m slow, but I make up for it by being weak.”