I have been very fortunate.
As a strength and conditioning professional I have been afforded the opportunity to work with many Special Forces/group guys and military personnel.
I am always, always, always, honored to work with any member of the military, but knowing what these guys actually do makes training them a little more intense.
I also always feel guilty. I also feel a little shame. I am not one of them. They do things that I have never done and will never do. I have never served a day in my life.
The only thing I can do is to prepare them to take care us, to take care of me. It is my duty to help them in any way that I can.
Yet often times I find that they are helping me. They are teaching me how to be a leader, how to maintain integrity, how to stay cool under pressure. And last but not least, how to be a better human.
The other day one of these “guys”, Nick was in the gym. I was telling him about some problems I was having with my oldest son. The problems are minor, but major at the same time. When I am not around my son doesn’t always treat his mom with the same respect that he does when I am present.
Because I work many hours this is a problem. I was confiding in Nick because he has sons and has deployed. Being deployed presents challenges that my wife and I have never had to face and I knew Nick would understand.
He just looked at me and said, “Ya, that is a problem.”
He also knew that my son really liked to be around Nick because he is an “Army guy”.
A week passed. Nick and I did not talk about the subject again.
My son came to the gym to hang out with me. Nick invited my son to come over and look at his “gear.”
Nick reached down and pulled a small patch out of his pack. One simple word on the patch, “Ranger.”
He squatted down and handed the patch to my son and said, “This patch is for awesome people. A lot of great men have earned this patch. I earned mine and I am going to give it to you. The only thing is, your dad tells me you are not always awesome to your mom when he is gone. If you are not awesome your mom and dad can take this patch away until you can be awesome gain. Do you understand?”
My son nodded his head. Being only four years old, I am not sure that he fully grasps the magnitude of what Nick did. It was awesome. It made me want to cry.
Working with military personnel will always be an honor. Sure they are fun to train because they love to be pushed. You can do anything with them and they will always execute to the best of their ability.
But the best thing about working with military is that they always give. It is in their nature. They are selfless.
Thank you Nick—and thanks to all who serve.