2021 Widowmaker Olympic Games

AO: The Widowmaker

When: 07/24/2021

QIC: Cox

PAX (10): Overdrive, Youtube, Funyun, Catfish, Zohan, Stu, Skippy, Pepsi (FNG), Write Off, Cox


VQ for the Cox today.  Spent the week getting ready for an entertaining Q with help from Zohan.  Olympic theme for this morning’s BD.  Brought some fun props and some tunes to keep the team focused on staying in sync and keep the Q from running out of breath.   

As a former high school and collegiate rower, and proud owner of an oar from the 1996 USA Men’s Olympic Rowing Team, I wanted to bring a little extra flair to my VQ. 



Mosey to the top of the parking lot for some musical and inspirational warm-up:

To the music from the opening of Chariots of Fire (yes, that one with the slow motion running)…

  • SSH
  • Windmill
  • Wheat Picker
  • Imperial Walker
  • Arm Circles (forward & back)

Next a slow motion run to, what else, a repeat of the opening of Chariots of fire, was not planned but it sure was fun. We stepped up the pace to get to the lower lot where we had some surprises waiting.

The Thang:

Waiting at the lot was my Olympic oar and some very tall tripods.  Funyun and Cox set up the tripods and raised the oar 15 feet into the air to create a finish line structure.  Rest of the PAX grabbed curlable coupons and met back to plank while the Olympic Theme Music played.  PAX walked into the Olympic Stadium for Opening Ceremonies under the oar.  

Songs and Exercises had some relation to various sports.  Q proceeded to butcher a famous Bonnie Blair quote to inspire the PAX. Here is what I meant to say…

“ Winning doesn’t always mean being first. Winning means you’re doing better than you’ve ever done before.” – Bonnie Blair

Hey – I said in the disclaimer that I am not a professional – nor am I Bonnie Blair. Maybe I should add that to the disclaimer next time…

We worked with partners where one would do the exercise and the other would run a loop halfway across the parking lot, up the stairs and back around. On the return trip passing under the oar before returning to the partner.  Running under the oar with hands in the air like Rocky optional but often performed.

The Olympic Playlist

  • BOXING – Rocky Balboas on the curb – Eye of the Tiger by Survivor 
  • WEIGHT LIFTING – Curls with the Coupon – Down Under by Men at Work
  • AMERICA! – Merkins – Born to be Wild by Steppenwolfe
  • BASKETBALL – Bobby Hurleys – I Wish (I was a little bit taller) by Skee-Lo
  • ROWING – Bent Over Row – Come Sail Away by Styx
  • OLYMPIC CHAMPION – Bonnie Blairs – Jump Around by House of Pain 
  • REPRESENTING THE NATIONS – Skull Crushers with Coupon – Immigrant Song by Led Zepplin
  • BASEBALL – American Hammer – Centerfield by John Fogerty
  • SWIMMING – Swimmers – The Distance by Cake
  • NO BEAT DOWN IS COMPLETE WITHOUT – Burpees – Black Betty by Ram Jam
  • I GOT A FEVER AND THE ONLY CURE – IS MORE COWBELL – LBC – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult

After the perfectly timed playlist (not sure how that happened but let’s go with it) we returned the coupons and took down the oar. To finish strong and finish together, each person held the oar in the center between two lines of runners – everyone got to be part of Olympic history – and headed back to the shovel flag

An Olympic rowing race course is 2,000 meters and it is broken up into four 500 meter check points with the final 500 meters completing the race.  Here is the final race play-by-play:

We started with a slow mosey with Catfish in the bow and Cox in the stern as, what else, the coxswain. The rest of the PAX provided power for the race in the “engine room”. As we ascended the hill, our first 500 meters included the slow mosey and increased to include incredibly technical and difficult maneuver of some high knees up the hill.  

Second 500 meters included a splendid show of Olympic-level, certainly Gold Medal worthy, slow mosey followed by some very impressive high knees. Again all of this in close proximity with many spectators on the race course.  Not a typical course for a not typical crew for sure.  

As we passed the halfway mark and entered the parking lot, we hoisted the oar skyward and then began the chants of USA, USA, USA all the way through the next 500 meters as we neared the final 500 meters.  

As we closed in on the finish line it was hard to hear over the crowd cheering louder and louder…wait…nope…sorry that was my breathing.  The finish line was the narrow passage between the Shovel Flags.  Very similar to the Montlake Cut that the 1936 Men’s Olympic Gold Medal team trained in at the University of Washington

As we crossed the finish line we hit the 8:00 time limit and put down the oar to close out with the CoT.

Great job team!


Great COT with a new FNG – Welcome Pepsi!

I had the chance to share some words about how a crew boat, with all its power, will fail to reach its destination without direction.  The job of the coxswain (“cox”) is to steer the boat as they are the only part of the crew that looks forward to where the boat is going, all the rowers look back to see where they have been.  The cox cannot steer the boat without the rudder and the boat will have no clear direction. For me, the weekly cadence of F3 is that rudder.   

Upcoming events:

  • F3/FiA/2.0 Convergence on 7/31
  • Darth Visor CSAUP

Naked-Man Moleskin:

VQ for me is in the books. Lots of interesting feelings that were not expected as I prepared for my first time as Q. It was actually a lot more fun than I had anticipated.  I joined F3 a year ago when NRA invited me. After a tumultuous end to 2019 professionally, a partial restart in the beginning of 2020 followed by a lockdown and another attempt at restarting, I was slowly making my recovery.  F3 accelerated my personal recovery and allowed me to regain my footing again.  

I consider myself blessed to have been led by other Qs and attempted to take parts of other workouts and blend them into something that would be fun and keep people focused on anything but the pain of beating the crap out of yourself.  F3 workouts are unique in that you are not competing against anyone but yourself.  You can never win and you can never lose – yet every time you show up you are going to be successful.  I think it is this blend of not knowing what the workout will be and at the same time knowing that you will give it everything you have that keeps people coming back.  

Rotating the Q keeps it fresh for everyone, even for the Q.  That was the real surprise for me.  I had this vision of what I thought the workout would be and I got pretty close. I made some adjustments on the fly and “modified as necessary”. Carrying the oar and chanting USA just happened as part of the inertia from the group. I was amazed at the focus and determination I saw on everyone’s faces as each new song played and the exercise changed.  Leaving your partner and seeing half of the group just crushing it as you crossed under the oar to swap out provided a perspective that I had not considered before.  As Q you get to create that environment that frees these men to relinquish control of the plan and just connect with themselves and their brothers for a brief moment in time.  

I had the help of approving head nodding from previous Qs that were participating and that really helped me move past the brief feelings of inadequacy that attempted to derail my plan.  So thank you for the unspoken support during the workout.  Thank you also to the other members who helped me prepare and set up for this VQ.

I’m not used to praying out loud and most COT I am thinking about family and friends that are in need of healing.  Sometimes I am able to let go and be present and I think this time I was able to quiet my mind enough to allow the words in my heart to make it to my mouth and pray on behalf of our assembled F3 brothers.

Each day we get to wake up and take another shot at life is a gift. F3 is a gift as well. In order to really appreciate what it is – we have to share it. On behalf of someone who has been made better by being part of F3 – Thank you.

See you next time in the gloom!


Here is a link to the 1996 Mens 8 Rowing Final – https://youtu.be/xEUqPy6iszQ

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