I felt the URGENCY to share yet another incredible experience that I had the honor to take part in over this past weekend.
If there is anything that you learn from this article let it be this…The Obstacle IS The Path!
Over this past weekend I participated in my first Spartan Sprint, but I didn’t embark on this journey alone, I stood shoulder to shoulder with 24 of my fellow warriors and even picked up an additional lone warrior along the way.
Some teams entered to compete
Some entered for glory
Others entered to face their fears
We entered the home of the Philadelphia Phillies – Citizens Bank Park; we were armed to the teeth in Black and Gold like an Army ready to take the field and burn every single boat.
Everyone who saw us said 1 of 3 things “What the $@*&,” “You guys are serious,” and “Who are you guys?!” We may not have shown up to compete, we may not have shown up for glory, but we SHOWED UP.
The race was outside every single person’s comfort zone and as we took the starting line we all knew that we’d go farther TOGETHER than any of us would alone. Although only “15,” of us could start before the next wave let out, we waited, and we met every single obstacle together.
We had all waited for the moment for months and our opportunity was finally here, it was time, it was OUR TIME. We made our way through the Phillies locker room first to do a series of a push ups, then some stairs back to the main concourse, and then the first big obstacle, a cargo net triangle with NO SAFETY NET. As each of us made it over you could hear some people saying “This is scary, I don’t know what to do.” which brings us our first major law.
1st Law Of Teamwork – Communication
You can’t climb the corporate ladder by yourself, you can’t get a varsity letter if you’re not on a team, and you most certainly can’t be an effective coworker if you can’t TALK to one another. If someone tells you they’re scared, listen to them, and tell them that you are right there with them. Ask them what you can do for them to make things a little less scary, that may be the little thing they need to get through any obstacle.
After the cargo net we made our way up the stadium’s ramp, level by level we crawled our way to the top section of seats. We faced weighted jump ropes, weighted pull downs, and then the stairs began.
2nd Law Of Teamwork – Have Fun Together
When times are at its toughest and you seem like you’re up to your neck in mud start singing Britney Spears, someone is bound to start singing with you. There will be moments in your life when you feel like you’re drowning; moments when you feel like the weight of the world is crushing you. Life will always have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but when you have support from a family, team, or loved ones they will always try to make you smile and make it a little less bearable.
In what seemed like the most monotonous serpentine patterns we zigged and zagged, up and down the ENTIRE nosebleed section of the stadium. There were points where we had to carry a heavy sandbag and other times we had to carry what seemed like 30lbs of sloshing water through a giant canteen.
3rd Law of Teamwork – Share the Load
Teams are always composed of a number of individuals, each person may have a strength and each may have a different weakness. Someone on your team may be great with computers while someone else has no idea how to even take a screenshot. If you know you’re weak in an area ASK FOR HELP, you’ll not only learn something about yourself, but those around you.
Just like a set of bowling pins our team knocked each of these obstacles out one by one.
4th Law of Teamwork – Bend the Knee
When an obstacle stands in your path most times the obstacle IS the Path! Just because there is an 8 foot wall staring you down doesn’t mean you go around, you bend the knee. One of the promises I made to our team was I would be the first person to the obstacle and the LAST person to go over it; especially at the walls which I kept calling hurdles because it’s all they were.
I put my back against the wall, bent a knee, and let everyone step ON me so they could get over said obstacle.
After 24 different pairs of feet stepped on my thigh and in some cases my back I finally made my way over. When you commit to serve others you are doing a service for them as much as yourself. A good leader should always be willing to bend the knee in order to further the success of the team.
“If you want to go fast; go alone, if you want to go far; go together” – African Proverb
5th Law of Teamwork – COOPERATE
Don’t just be a group of individuals; be a group of unified individuals.
If you want to work together as a team you have to learn to cooperate with each other, not compete against each other. Yes, friendly competition is healthy once in a while, but it doesn’t have to be like the typical kid jumping up and down on a diving board saying “MOM LOOK AT ME! MOM LOOK! MOM LOOK!”
People will notice how you dress alike
People will notice how you act around each other
People will notice how you smile
People will notice how you are willing to help
Make cooperation a higher a higher moral value than a competition
As we approached home plate we huddled around one another, we told each other how proud we were of one another, and then I told everyone “when you cross that finish line, put your hands straight up over your head because you did it, you ARE victorious, you are WINNERS, and you DESERVE THIS.”
We had done it
We had come together even more in the weeks leading up to it and after 1 hour 45 minutes, it was over. There were hugs, high fives, and even some tears, but we did it TOGETHER.
Together we told each other it would be ok, we smiled and laughed as often as we could, when someone struggled someone else showed grit, when someone said they couldn’t another got down to help them get up, and together we worked FOR each other; not against.