There are very few moments in your life that will change the very fiber of your soul. Getting married, finding religion, having children… completing GORUCK Selection. To say that my training to endure the toughest endurance event in the world came down to the past 3 years of training would be a lie because truthfully, I’ve been training for this event my whole life.
Growing up my family didn’t have much. By no means were we poor, but we were no strangers to having to make due. Holidays were not the same as many of my friends, and vacations were unheard of. My brothers and I were fine with this for the most part; well, except on Christmas Day - but one thing you never heard was a complaint.
Both my parents worked literally day and night to ensure that we had what we needed... and if we needed a new pair of shoes or something that was out of the budget, my mother would often pick up extra hours just to make us happy. There were no complaints or fussing about it. You just did what needed to be done, and everyone had a job.
Eventually in high school I hit puberty and I had some awesome coaches. So I was able to turn things around and finally start to push myself to achieve more; but in the back of my head, the highest levels of achievement was not something I was destined for. Those people were just cut from a different cloth.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m on my way to becoming an everyday 9-5er after completing grad school... and I meet my beautiful wife. She is the first person to teach me to go on vacations and enjoy life. She signed me up at an MMA school after a conversation where I mentioned it was something I might want to do. And now, I have been able to quit my job and run my own gym full time. None of this would not have been possible if it wasn’t for her. Many people imagine where their life would be if they had taken a different turn or married a different person. Well, I can tell you for sure that if it wasn’t for Jasmin Malone, I would not have learned to take chances and enjoy life; I would not have the drive to succeed for more than myself; and I for damn sure would not have the same level of support in all of the time consuming obsessions I have stumbled upon since we’ve been together.
And then as they say... here come the babies. My children have taught me more about life than any one person has ever done. The patience, the undying love, the forgiveness, the affection, these are all things that I honestly did not know about until they came along. I made a secret promise to my son (and the same to my girls) when he was born that he would never have to doubt my love for him because I would always show it, and I would be a living example for him of all the things he can achieve if he dedicates himself to it one hundred percent.
The hard part has been that by demonstrating what drive and dedication looks like, I inherently have to be absent frequently.
And then tragedy strikes. In the past few years, I lost both of my grandfathers and a grandmother. It’s not that I haven’t lost anybody up until this point, but never someone who was so very foundational in my life. The most frustrating part of the loss has been that my grandparents were truly great people, and most of it no one knew about until reading their obituaries. One grandfather was one of the first black lawyers to work for Mobile Oil and then to open up a law practice in Detroit Michigan. My other grandfather was a legendary three sport athlete that could have went anywhere to college and then to the pros in baseball or football; but instead, he answered the call and served in the Korean War only to come back home, earn a degree, and become a literal pillar in the community of Inkster Michigan.
My grandmother, besides being a knock out beauty, was brilliant and active with the civil rights movements in Alabama and in Detroit Michigan. To find out these are the roots to your tree only after they were gone was extremely frustrating but also empowering because it connected the dots for me. I realized that there is no separate cloth great people are born from. It’s just about the decisions you happen to make and your dedication to stick to it.
These are the moments that grounded me, and I made the decision that if my wife and kids were going to not just tolerate me training during the few hours that I am home from work for three f---ing years, there is absolutely nothing that can be done to me in the next 48 hours to make me quit. I was determined to leave something behind for my children that they could see me achieve so they could know that there is nothing keeping them from being as great as they want to be. And simply to show my wife that her patience and support did not go unnoticed, I put it all away in a jar and opened that shit up in the dark hours of the event.
So now that it. It’s all said and done. I am extremely grateful for all that the cadre put into the event. I am honored to become part of the fraternity of the BAMFs that came before me and set that bar up high. Finally, some people were asking me what was going through my head during the event. The answer is there were a lot of things, but the one that I kept coming back to was “I am already a f---ing GORUCK Selection finisher; there is nothing that can stop me. It’s just a matter of time…”
Thank you for all of the texts and messages of support. I am going to get back to everyone just give me some time, right now my priorities are giving out hugs and kisses.