Back Blast: 2022 Pull Up Challenge

12…1,281…40,953

Nope. They’re not coordinates that will take you to a buried treasure. It’s not any kind of new mathematical equation that will earn you the Nobel prize. These numbers are far better than that. 12 is the number of dudes that reached at least 2022 pull-ups from January 1st – March 31st. 1,281 is the number of pull-ups completed in one day by our group thanks to a Squid challenge…yup, you read that correctly. Our boy Squid joined us from Evansville for his 3rd consecutive pull-up challenge! And 40,953? That’s right, you guessed it. That’s how many pull-ups your boys knocked out in the course of 3 short months!!! Woof fellas!!

For some context and to those that may not be aware, let me not so briefly share with you how the pull-up challenge came to be a thing in 2020. In November of 2019 I had torn my ACL during an F3 soccer match where a quick as lightning Latino fella juked me so hard I heard a “pop, pop, pop” come from my knee and buckled me to the ground. Athletes know that’s never a good thing but I was in denial. Maybe it was just a bad sprain…Well of course it was torn dummy! And one trip to the Ortho would confirm it. On December 23rd I would go under the knife. In the days leading up to surgery Kilo reached out to me and said, “no matter what you do, you have to stay engaged.” I put some good thought to it and 1) I had a door frame pull-up bar. 2) It would be a while before I could walk, let alone run, squat, burpee…whatever. And 3) it was about to be 2020. In the vein of Freed to Lead, while also needing to keep myself accountable to something, I threw out the idea of a challenge where interested PAX could join me in trying to complete 2,020 pull-ups in three months which would equate to about 23/day. Blast was sent out and so it would be. I had almost 20 embark on that journey with a about half seeing it through to the end. Through that challenge I got to meet guys like Jewel, Squid, Digiorno and Pope. I got to witness dudes like Stick Up, Porkchop and Frosted Tips push themselves like they haven’t before and found out what they were capable of. We were all going into a daily battle against ourselves and a pull up bar and we chose to say “yes” in an effort to become Mo Better. It was very special for me and what I got at the end of 3 months was much more than the accomplishment of a certain amount of pull-ups. It was going into the trenches with my brothers, building bonds, having fellowship and coming out the victor on the other side.

Purpose served to get me through what could have been an otherwise dark time and I figured it was a “one and done” type of challenge. But as the next December came quickly upon us, Digiorno, and Stick Up separately reached out and asked if I was going to roll it out again. Admittedly, I hadn’t planned on it or put much thought to it but seeing that there was interest there I became excited that this had the prospect of becoming an annual thing and that I could continue to play small part in helping fellas achieve something they never thought possible. Last year we welcomed to the party guys like Cousin Eddie (and Rusty) Glen Ross, Diane Dukes and Sump Pump. The challenge was Bada$$ and there was more participation, engagement and excitement than just one year prior.

For 2022 it was a no brainer. This thing is happening and yes, it will be an annual challenge for as long as your Bird is allowed to be a part of F3 Nation. Each year it keeps getting better and better and I have an immense amount of love for the 11 other men that crossed the finish line with me this year. There were so many fantastic moments for us, both individually and as a group. Too many to spout off in an already long blast. But I would like to take a moment to highlight an accomplishment of each one of you’s guys through a Bird’s eye view.

First and foremost my man Pope lives in a state of greatness! Right out of the gate he was throwing up some huge #’s. He inspired me to get this train rolling and I know he was an inspiration to the group. The first two weeks he pulled himself up 350 times each week and at some point began incorporating a weight vest. As the challenge went on it wasn’t unusual for him to have 600+weeks! You the man bro! Three years in a row for Pope!

Soups was my Mr. Consistent. He put in work nearly every day. No matter what he had going on, he made time for the bar. I got to meet and get closer to this HIM through this challenge (the fellowship of it all has become one of my favorite parts). At a Vets workout we got to chat it up about his progress and how he has surprised himself. You should be proud of yourself my dude! I know I am!!

AirRaid (R) was a late arrival to the party. He was my quiet beast, chiming in at week’s end to announce his weekly total helping your Bird to easily keep track on my handy Excel sheet. Whether it be pull-ups, running or putting in work at an AO, this dude with Respect status quietly gets the job done and is usually at the head of the pack.

DeVitto has come to be one of my closest friends through these challenges. He has made it through all three of em with me and this year not only was he throwing up big #’s (486 in one’s week!), but he was site Q’ing, doing other side challenges, swimming, weight training and no doubt being a HIM to his brothers and to his family at home.

As I mentioned earlier, this was Squid’s 3rd consecutive year as well. Even though he moved out of the area he still made the commitment to put in the work and get’r done. He was always there for motivation and support to the rest of us. Thanks again Squid for that challenge within a challenge. You helped dudes to knock out more pull-ups in one day than they ever have before, myself included. Our loss is certainly Evansville’s gain! I’ll see you again next year stud!

Dot (R [yeah fellas…he’s 50!]) is another one that I’ve gotten closer to through this challenge. He’s actually an OG from 2017, took a bit of a hiatus, and started coming back out with more regularity last August. Life gets in the way sometimes but he doesn’t quit. Whether it be coming back out to post or making a commitment to see the challenge through to the end…he don’t quit! I can only imagine that he carries that mantra through to other aspects of his life.

Stick Up is another 3 year veteran to this challenge. I remember the first time I got to meet this HIM outside of the gloom. We were at a Freed to Bleed event. Even though we had been going through the challenge, I never had the chance to speak to him. We cut it up for about 45 minutes on that day just talking about pull-ups, form, doing more than ever before…and that led into things like job, family, etc…again…the fellowship is one of my favorite parts. He was another Mr. Consistent this year proving that small efforts every day can lead to some pretty cool results.

Digiorno is an animal! He’s another repeat, repeat offender. We also formed a bond year one. It was then that I saw what he was capable of. For one, he constructed his own pull-up bar in his basement from his floor joists. For two, he always throws out huge numbers. This year he fell off about mid way through. And when I say “fell off” that just means that he was putting up numbers that us normal, unrobotic folks might do. Then in late February he ignited the fire within himself, hell bent on getting to 5000. He had three weeks where he put in 700 pull-ups in one week! For you mathematicians out there, that’s 100/day. And get to 5000 he did! Woof D!! See you next year!

Dauber is one of my favorites in all of the F3 land. For many reasons but for one in particular. As you know, Dem Bengals finally gave their fans something to cheer about and be excited for. After they made it to the division championship he would report his daily total with a “Who-Dey” at the end. And then when we found ourselves going to the Super Bowl he made sure to get in 34 every day leading up to it, representing one pull-up for every year since the Bengals have been in the Super Bowl and of course followed by a “Who-Dey!” Im sure he wanted to get in more but hey, you do what you gotta do for the team, right?

Ruby’s (R) is one of my favorite stories. When checking in daily to report his totals, it was fairly often that he would follow it up by letting us know that he did them but with a “sissy strap” (his words, not mine). One day, after we were about two months into this challenge I asked him, “how many do you think you can get without the assist strap?” His response, “I don’t know…not many.” The next day he would take it upon himself to give it a try and would report that he was able to get some in without the strap and a bunch of those were strict, all together. Man!! What we are capable of once we step outside of our comfort zone and give a thing a try! I will carry that story with me forever! So glad you went on this journey with me my man!

Last one, best one: Timeshare: Talk about determination! Now, it’s not fair for me to say what was going on in Timeshare’s life but much like a sales executive that only looks at the numbers, there was four solid weeks during the middle of this challenge where he was dark…inactive…a non participant. Then out of the dust at the beginning of March, he was back! And it was clear he had a newfound fire, grit and unwillingness to give in. 140 in one week, 190 the next and would hammer out 630 pull-ups in the last week and a half of the challenge to finish with 2042! Another awesome story and a testament to what one can achieve once you have your sights set. Awesome fortitude my brother! Look forward to seeing you back next year!

If you see any of these fellas out at a workout, give ‘em a knuckle bump and congratulate them on a job well done!!

In closing I just wanted to say how honored I have been, year over year, to play a small part in the journeys of those that said Aye to stay committed to a 90 day challenge. When I reflect back on May 4th 2018 (the day before my 1st Q), I never thought I would be any good at leading a group of men in a workout. And now, almost 4 years later I feel as though we are all called to be Freed. Freed from the sad clown. Freed from who we used to be and to discover who we are yet to become. Freed to Lead….whether it be a ruck, an F3 Dads initiative, a 3 on 3 basketball tourney, a pull up challenge. We all have personalities and talents that the Sky Q put us on this earth to share. If you have an idea…act on it, throw it out there, make it happen. You have brothers out there that will be here to support you every step of the way!

Love you guys and until next year…

-BigBird

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