Since today is Francis’s feast day and YHC has the nickname “Assisi,” it was only fitting that the 21 PAX present at the Vortex remember Francesco Bernadone (1181/2-1226). We did the usual warm ups and then hit some of the highlights of his life, especially those that lent themselves well to interpretation through burpees.
Francis’s story began with humiliation as a soldier. Mimicking a medieval knight, we therefore did partner carries around the field, switching at the corners. Evoking the captivity that followed Francis’s failed bid for glory, we did shoulder carries to and from midfield, culminating in an awkward, long period of silence in “bows and toes” position. This loosely correlated with Francis’s long period of soul-searching after his military disappointment.
A key moment in Francis’s rebirth and recovery came when he heard a cross in San Damiano saying: “Go and repair my house which, as you see, is falling into ruin.” He initially interpreted the command to mean that he needed to fix broken churches, a task into which he threw his heart and soul. PAX therefore divided into two teams, each with a pile of “building materials,” and took turns running four cinder blocks one-at-a-time from the goal box to midfield (or vice-versa) and crowning them with a ruck sack. The remaining PAX awaited their turns in continuous motion (one min. merkins, one min. burpees, one min. prisoner squats, etc.), in a cycle lasting 20 minutes.
We only had time for a few Franciscan vignettes after the church-building extravaganza. Remembering Pope Innocent III’s dream of Francis holding up the church, one PAX held a cinder block overhead while his partner did low-plank hold for one minute (and then for another minute with roles reversed). Finally, even though Francis’s main ministry was to human beings, we nodded to contemporary images of the saint with some animal exercises. Commemorating his intervention with the wolf of Gubbio, for instance, we wolf- (bear-)crawled 100 yards and then sprinted back. To mark his sermon to the birds, we sprinted 100 yards with arms straight out and then sprinted back. A quick 30 flutter kicks brought us to 6;15.
YHC gave thanks for heroes in the COT, including those who have been in his life a long time (Francis) and those whom he’s met more recently in the gloom. It’s an amazing privilege to work out with such an inspiring group of men.