FUGAZI Friday: Overcoming Injury, Becoming Family

By Scott Richman

FUGAZI… many wonder exactly what it is. I know some who the not knowing has scared them away. For example, when you sign up for a 5K you know it’s a run. When you sign up for a Spartan Race you know there will be obstacles, mud and burpees. But what is a FUGAZI? Where do I start? To say it’s a mud run would completely do it injustice. To say it’s an obstacle run would be selling it short. I have done multiple mud runs at a variety of venues, worked for a ropes course and attended more leadership and team building training through work than I care to remember. FUGAZI is a unique combination of all these things. For me right now the biggest challenge is to write about FUGAZI and the experience it offers without giving away any details or detract from the surprise it holds.

I was hesitant to sign up for the most recent FUGAZI. This was not because I feared the challenge, it’s because I came to the event with a couple injuries, a shoulder and a long history of knee problems. I made the “DOG’s” aware of this prior to registration. At the event, I also spoke with medical staff, allowing me to modify when and where needed. The modification fell primarily on my assigned team.

When the event begins the participants are assigned to teams… this is your family for the rest of the night. No, I am not being poetic with my use of the term family. As the night progresses you look out for one another, encourage, support, carry burdens and motivate your team, like a healthy and loving family would.

After the initial Physical Training (PT) my shoulder injury became an issue for me as we began one of the challenges. Noting the injury, we quickly we adjusted the line up so my partner could compensate for my injury. Forcing him to double up on the most difficult aspect of the challenge allowing me to be involved but not aggravate my injury. He did this gladly without batting an eye. This is just one example of many where the team pulled together to utilize our strengths to help someone overcome a weakness.

I do have to say that the most humbling experience for me was when doing a challenge involving carrying an amount of weight and once again my shoulder was causing me a great amount of pain. When a small lady on my team who had already completed the challenge came back to help me by taking my weight and carrying it for me to the end. Now I am not a small man, I am one who would normally go out of my way to help girl (I was raised to be a gentleman) and it was hard for me to let her take my weight. But she could see my pain and knew I needed help. So once again like a family she took my burden to help me be successful, and I learned something I struggle with… to allow someone to help me.

The grand finally of the night required the teams to come together to overcome a major challenge. This challenge involved great distance and heavy objects that could not be moved by just one team. All three teams pulled together in a way that you would not expect considering 3 hours earlier we were essentially 60 strangers. With each step of this (and all the earlier challenges) we encouraged, and latterly gave each other a hand up. The objects that we pulled together to move was done in this same way, everyone at one point had a hand on them and moved them to the ultimate goal… the finish line. As we did this some emerged as leaders (not necessarily the three team leaders). These leaders rallied the group when some wanted to quit when the challenge seemed impossible by organizing everyone in a way that the load became light, and we literally carried one another’s burdens. Seeing this was amazing and the highlight of the night. I know I will carry the memory of this for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, the DOG’s being who they are, decided to end the night with more PT. This included the promise of one thousand burpees. Don’t worry our attitude and willingness to do them inspired the lead DOG to let recognize some of the accomplishments of the night and reward us by removing some of the thousand. Our leadership, teaming, hard work, and stepping up to help where needed, including helping a man look for his little boy that wandered away. By the end of the night, everyone was dirty, muddy, wet, sore, tired and a very close group. Close in a way that you can only become after helping each other cocker our limits. We knew that as a team…family we could overcome anything. We learned to rely on another’s strength during our time of weakness. We learned to push past our limits both physical and mental. We FUGAZI’ed!!!

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