Category: Legacy Church Family (Page 3 of 36)

Bold and Stouthearted

“When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.” ~Psalm 138:3

The Word we preach and teach, the Gospel we proclaim and practice, the Kingdom of God we live in to and out of is mind-blowing, history-changing, earth-altering Truth. We declare the unmerited love and favor of the Almighty Creator of the Universe. We proclaim a righteous relationship with this Holy God through the selfless sacrifice of his perfect Son. We preach the unsurpassed power and authority extravagantly given to us by his Holy Spirit. It is the greatest news this world has ever heard. It impacts all who hear it. It transforms all who respond to it. And preaching and teaching it, practicing it and living it comes with a price.

Allow me to tell you: Hang in there. Don’t stop.

“I will praise your name for your love and faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your Word.” ~Psalm 138:2

The name and the Word of our Lord are highest above all other things. Exalted. In Truth, in power, in beauty, in holiness, in everlasting glory, the name and the Word of our God are above all else. Yes, we know it. Yes, we believe it. But it’s not easy. In fact, proclaiming it and living it are very difficult. Marva Dawn has much to say about this in A Royal Waste of Time:

“If we are truly passionate about the texts and the Lord of the texts when we preach, it will cost us. We are painting a vision of the Kingdom of God in opposition to the reign in this world of other powers, so it is a spiritual battle we are fighting, which will also physically exhaust us. We have to allow ourselves plenty of time to recover, a Sabbath of rest. We might also have to fight the darkness of doubts, the fiends of seeming failure in society’s terms, the monsters of personal hang-ups, the demons of misunderstanding on the part of those who hear or refuse to hear.”

Dawn is addressing preachers in that passage. But all of us — yeah, you, too! — need to pay attention to it. Most of the time, our words don’t come close to matching what’s in our hearts. Most of the time, our sermons and lessons don’t live up to the power of the Truth. Most of the time, our best efforts to live the Kingdom of God fall woefully short of the splendor of our King and the beauty of his love and majesty and reign.

Hang in there. Don’t stop.

God is doing something wonderful with you.

For all of you who teach and preach; all of you who cook and clean, plan and pray, sacrifice and serve; all of you who give of yourselves day in and day out for the glory of our God and his holy Kingdom:

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for you; your love, O Lord, endures forever — do not abandon the works of your hands.” ~Psalm 138:8

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The room was packed, the energy was electric, and the anticipation was high. The Sharks concert in our worship center Saturday night had been sold out for weeks (most free concerts are) and the thousand or so in attendance (preacher’s count) were not disappointed. Johnny Weems belted out the crowd favorites while Kelly Utsinger maintained the tone of the evening with the harmonica and the corny jokes and the rest of the Sharks — a little wider and a little grayer than when they were tearing it up back in the ’80s — performed each of their musical and entertainment roles beautifully. It was a great trip down memory lane for the Sharks and their die-hard fans. But it was a wonderfully powerful night for thousands of folks in Kenya who’ve never even heard of Elvis or Buddy Holley, or the Coasters.

The Sharks were attempting to raise $10,000 at Saturday’s show to benefit Christian Relief Fund’s efforts to dig a single water well in the drought-stricken and famine-plagued area of Turkana, Kenya. The numbers are in today and the total has been announced as $19,500! With money still trickling in!

Thanks to Kelly and the Sharks, thanks to the generous hearts and open wallets of the Christ-followers at Central and all over Amarillo, thanks to our gracious God in heaven and his faithfulness to the cries of his children, CRF is going to be drilling two wells now in Turkana, not just one! Doppler Dave made the plea on behalf of CRF Saturday night. But our God is the one who moved his people to respond to his call to bring his love and goodness to those in need.

Except for the awful fish jokes, praise God for everything that happened here Saturday night and for everything he will do for the starving people in Kenya tomorrow.

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My heart goes out to Beth Bobo. She and her husband, Elvin, were great encouragers of mine during our time at Legacy. Whether praying together in my office, sharing laughs over funny stories and pictures, kidding each other about sermon length and yet another story about yet another cruise, Elvin and Beth cared for me. They cared for the young people of our church, faithfully teaching and volunteering in our children’s programs. They cared about the older people in our church, tirelessly planning and coordinating more events and functions than you could imagine. They cared about the needy and the marginalized of our community, setting up and serving and tearing down and cleaning at every single Give Away Day. They cared about the lost of the world, giving and giving and giving to our local and foreign missions efforts. Elvin and Beth cared about God’s Church. And they cared about God’s Gospel preachers. And they went way out of their way to care for me.

Elvin died early this morning. And my heart goes out to his sweet wife, Beth.

There is in store today a crown of righteousness for my brother, Elvin, awarded to him by our Lord, the righteous Judge. Elvin has finished his race. And he ran it well. He ran it very well.

Grace & Peace,

Allan

About Third Day

Let me be perfectly clear: I absolutely did not push a little girl out of the way to catch a guitar pick tossed into the crowd by Third Day lead singer Mac Powell during Friday’s show at Amarillo High School. I don’t care what Powell said or what I heard at church here yesterday, it didn’t happen.

Through a bizarre set of circumstances and timing, yes, Carrie-Anne and I wound up on the second row, at dead-middle-center-stage, for the Third Day concert at the high school auditorium. I have no idea why Third Day was playing in Amarillo, much less in the 700-seat high school auditorium. But I decided to take Carrie-Anne. She loves Third Day. We’ve seen them once or twice when they’ve played  at the Ballpark before a Rangers game a few years ago. I’ve always been an Audio Adrenaline guy, myself. But she loves Third Day and, unbelievably, here they were playing a block and a half from our house. I don’t have the time or the space to explain how we wound up in those super-up-close seats. But, we were less than six feet from the edge of the stage.

About halfway through the show — they had already tossed a couple of picks into the crowd — Powell began telling a story about a concert in Missouri in which, after the show, some folks in the crowd actually returned the picks they had caught. He explained that if you catch a pick, it’s yours to keep, and then tossed one, I thought, right at me. I stood up to catch it but it fluttered. Picture the dotted-line flight of Snoopy’s pal, Woodstock, in the old Charlie Brown cartoons. It flipped and fluttered right through my hands and then I lost it. While I was fumbling for it just as awkwardly as you could possibly imagine, Carrie-Anne trapped it on the back of her seat. As she attempted to pick it up, Powell stepped forward and asked, “Did she get it?”

For a split-second I thought he was talking about Carrie-Anne. (Yeah, she got it!) But then Powell continued, “No, the little girl. Did the little girl get it?” There was a little eight-year-old girl sitting right behind us. A cute little blondie, one snaggle tooth in the front, pony tail. Powell leaned in to his microphone, “I meant for it to go to that girl.” By this time Carrie-Anne was holding the coveted pick. And then, almost in slow motion, she realized it was not intended for her. And everybody was looking. Carrie-Anne held the pick high over her head, closed her eyes, stuck her bottom lip way out in the most exaggerated pout in the history of women getting their way by pouting, and passed it backwards to the little girl. With her lip still out, my wife of 23 years looked right at Powell with now wide-open and pleading eyes. And he surrendered. He rushed forward to give Carrie-Anne his only remaining pick. But so did lead guitarist Mark Lee. They both stepped forward with picks for Carrie-Anne and actually jostled one another for position to get to her first. It was funny. And a little weird. Powell finally out-reached Lee and grabbed Carrie-Anne’s hand. He pulled her almost on to the stage as he handed her another pick.

It was sort of awkward the way they both tried to reach Carrie-Anne before the other. And so they discussed it. “Why were you trying to give her your pick?” “Well, I thought you only had one left and I didn’t want you to give away your last one.” “Well, no, I thought since she thought she had gotten a pick from me, then I should be the one to give her another pick, not you.” “Well, it’s okay if I give her a pick.” “Yeah, but it should have come from me.”

Then Powell looked at me and began talking to the crowd. “This guy here, I guess you’re her husband?” I nodded, beginning to be a little uncomfortable with where this might be heading. (On our second date ever, back in college, Carrie-Anne and I became the subjects of a stand-up comedian’s spontaneous song. He made fun of Carrie-Anne’s name and my summer tan. He sang, “Carrie-Anne, Carrie-Anne, lives in a garbage can, dates the garbage man with the garbage tan.” We heard about it from friends at school for the rest of the year. When Powell singled me out, I had flashbacks.) Powell continued, “This guy here, her husband, he’s pushing that little girl out of the way, holding her off, while his wife gets the pick. It’s brutal, man. Wow. You guys are tough in Texas.”

Great. I knew then I was in trouble. We had already seen Steve and Debra Cearley and Mike and Becky Robertson in the audience. Who knew how many other of our Central friends were in the auditorium? (I found out yesterday. A few more.)

After the concert, we got to meet Powell and the rest of the band for a couple of minutes. Mac agreed to take a picture with Carrie-Anne and the pick. And we shared a couple of jokes. It was a good night. They put on a good show. For the record, though, I did not push the little girl. I didn’t even know there was a little girl anywhere near us until Powell pointed it out. So, whatever you happen to hear in the coming days, I didn’t do it.

Now, if it had been Van Halen…

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We were so blessed two weeks ago to host the Lubbock Christian University Praise Choir and Chamber Singers here at Central. And my family and I were quadruply blessed to notice that Jalayna Ward was standing on the front row center of the stage for the performance. Jalayna is the middle child of the amazing Ward sisters, that talented trio of daughters belonging to my great friend and co-worker in the Lord, Kipi Ward. What a joy to listen to Jalayna sing again. She tore the house down during our Vacation Bible School musicals back at Legacy and she still inspires everyone who hears her beautiful voice. When Jalayna stepped forward to sing a solo during “All That Have Breath Praise Ye the Lord,” I was taken right back to the stage in that Legacy gym where Jalayna and Ashley Stein blew everybody away. It was so much fun to get caught up with Jalayna after the show, to see her engagement ring and hear about her upcoming wedding, and to get the latest info on Kipi and Hailey and Brooklyn. I remember telling Jalayna more than five years ago in that gym that our God is the one who gave her that beautiful voice and that she would always glorify him by using it for his purposes. She remembered it, too. Or, at least she claimed to. Thank you, God, for our friendship with the Wards and for the ways you provide for and bless that sweet family.

Peace,

Allan

Through Water to Salvation

“…this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you.” ~1 Peter 3:21

In recalling to his readers how Noah and his family were “saved through water,” the apostle Peter points us to Christian baptism that, in the same way, saves us. Peter’s clear, succint statement is astounding. For a lot of people, it’s scandalous. Peter tells us that baptism has a salvation function.

Paul draws the same conclusion as he looks back on the one foundational and identifying event for Israel: the exodus and the crossing of the Red Sea (1 Corinthians 10:1-4). He sees what happened in Exodus 14 as a baptism “into Moses” and compares it to our baptisms “into Christ” (Romans 6:3, Galatians 3:27). Paul wants us to understand our baptisms as a comparable moment of deliverance and redemption.

Baptism, just like the flood and the Red Sea crossing, is a saving event. Just as God saved Noah through cleansing the old world with water, so God saves us from our old lives through baptism. Just as God delivered Israel by using water to destroy their enemies, Pharaoh and his army, he delivers us by using water to eradicate our enemies of sin and death. Noah and Israel both pass through the waters into a new world, a new creation. Christians pass through the waters of baptism into a new world, eternal life with the Father through the death and resurrection of the Son.

It’s a divine gift. It’s a sacrament of God’s grace. It’s a salvation experience. In baptism our God redeems us, gives us a new identity, and frees us from slavery to sin and death. And it shapes who we are and how think and act as a people of God.

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” ~Romans 6:4

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What a marvelous joy to welcome into our home overnight Friday our great friends David and Olivia Nelson and their sons, Caleb and Seth. The Nelsons timed their furlough in the States from their missionary lives in Ukraine to coincide with the birth of Seth last month in Lubbock. David and Olivia figured one boy born in Kharkov in Hospital 17 was enough. So we were very blessed that they took a long, winding route from Lubbock to Fort Worth, through Amarillo, to spend almost 24 hours with us last weekend.

After answering several questions Friday night from servers and other customers at Blue Sky about David’s accent, we stayed up way too late passing Seth around, drinking egg nog and Dr Pepper (no kafir, David)  and playing our favorite, Phase 10. Caleb entertained us the next morning by splashing through his pancake breakfast. And then we spent a good long while with our Father in prayer, thanking him for the awesome privilege of serving him in his Kingdom together on opposite ends of his world.

The Nelsons are in Fort Worth now for another month, reconnecting with the church family at Legacy, stocking up on picante sauce and Jello-O and other stuff they can’t get in Ukraine, and being reminded of how much they are truly love and appreciated and admired by everyone who knows them.

I praise our God for the ways he works through and with David and Olivia. I thank him for our rich friendship and partnership in the Gospel. And I acknowledge gratefully that I’m a much better Christian, a more faithful follower of our King, because I know them.

Peace,

Allan

Dance With Who Brung Ya

 

Darrell Royal, co-inventor of the Wishbone offense and two-time national championship coach of the Texas Longhorns, has died at age 88. During his 20 years as UT’s head football coach, Royal racked up a record of 167-47-5, including eleven Southwest Conference titles, ten Cotton Bowl wins, and undefeated national championship seasons in 1963 and 1969. I was ten years old when Royal stepped away from the sidelines to leave college football to the Barry Switzers of the world. So most of what I know about him I’ve only heard second and third hand or read in books or seen on TV. I did enjoy the great privilege of meeting Royal at a hospital fundraiser in Burnet back in 1993. I had my picture made with the winningest coach in Longhorns history and he autographed my invitation. A good friend, Larry Pate, framed the 3″x4″ card for me and it hangs on my office wall today.

Royal is remembered for his hard-nosed running attack and his disciplined defense. But he also gained a lot of attention with his folksy quotes and quips. Some of my favorites:

“Three things can happen when you throw the football, and two of ’em are bad.” ~on his unwillingness to install a sophisticated passing game at UT

“You dance with who brung ya.” ~on his refusal to give up on the Wishbone after a couple of tough losses in 1965

“Only angry people win football games.” ~on recruiting

“No, he’s not very fast, but maybe Elizabeth Taylor can’t sing.” ~while defending a backup running back against a reporter’s criticism

Click here for a link to a whole bunch of other Darrell Royal quotes. Click here for the Sports Illustrated article on Royal’s life before, during, and after UT. In honor of the coach, order something off the menu today that sounds like “triple option.”

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You might also be interested to know that the Houston Astros are going with a new logo and uniform design to mark their move to the American League. The new designs borrow quite liberally from the old historic ones — maybe only a die-hard fan could pick out the differences. But I like it. The orange star and the capitol “H” has always been cool. Someday, maybe during Spring Training in March, I’ll rant and rave about Houston moving to the AL West. It’s a travesty. It’s very nearly the abomination that leads to desolation. In the meantime, click here to watch a pretty cool video that highlights the Astros’ uni look from the old Colt .45 days of Larry Dierker, through the rainbow era of Ryan and Cruz, and the blue pinstripes of Bagwell and Biggio, to this brand new look worn by a bunch of players you and I have never heard of.

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Carrie-Anne and the girls and I made the short drive to Tulia Friday to eat Mexican food with our favorite Ukranian missionaries, David and Olivia and Caleb Nelson. David and Liv are on furlough from their seven year commitment in Kharkov, spending several weeks with the Martins in Lubbock where Liv is about to give birth to their second child. The little boy (Luke? Lucas? Lucious?) is due in a week and Olivia needed some chili rellenos. We had such a great visit with this wonderful family. It was such a joy to get caught up on all the Christians and all the seekers C-A and I met during our two week trip to Kharkov in 2010. Re-living Victoria’s baptism into Christ, remembering Alexander, getting caught up with Valery and Andrei; it was such a blessing. We laughed together and we prayed. We marveled at their victories and sympathized with their struggles. We giggled at the mention of fish-flavored potato chips and gagged at the memory of a tall frosty glass of Kafir. I taught Caleb how to flip Froot Loops from the handle of a teaspoon. And we vowed to play a few marathon Phase 10 games together here in Amarillo before they head to Fort Worth after the baby is born.

God is using the Nelsons in a very difficult place. He’s working through them to spread the great news of salvation in Christ Jesus. He’s empowering their whole team by his Holy Spirit to advance the eternal Kingdom. We feel so very blessed to be their friends.

God bless his Kingdom outposts in Ukraine. God bless David and Olivia Nelson and their precious children. May our Father’s will be done in their lives and in Kharkov just as it is in heaven.

Peace,

Allan

God Bless the Duprees

Sunday, April 25, 2010. The date means a lot to me. I’ll never forget it. That was the day Don Dupree came up to me following our morning assembly at Legacy, shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, “Allan, you are my brother; and you are my preacher.”

Don was a crusty old dude. Very opinionated. Always friendly. But he could be loud and, sometimes, very blunt. He always smiled; he always asked me how I was doing; he was always very pleasant and warm. But I felt like he kept me at arm’s length. I don’t think Don trusted me. He had a lot of old school CofC in him. He was very “rules” oriented. He was very concerned about the “pattern.”

In 2008, Don’s son and daughter-in-law, Rick and Vicki, migrated to our small group. And we loved them. I think our mutual love for all things Van Halen is where Rick and I first connected. And, initially, that was about it. Rick has super long hair, he rides a Harley, he goes to heavy metal concerts, and he doesn’t care at all what anybody thinks. Vicki’s the same way. They don’t exactly fit in with the Legacy church scene. They always felt like outsiders. But I’ve never met a more generous pair. Vicki wouldn’t sing; but she showed up early to small groups and she stayed late washing dishes, cleaning up the kitchen, putting up chairs. Rick wouldn’t lead a discussion; but he read and prayed and sang with everything he had. They cooked for us all the time. They brought our girls gifts all the time. They hosted our small group at their home all the time. The best catfish I’ve ever eaten are at the hole-in-the-wall joints in Fort Worth that Rick and Vicki know best.

Rick and Vicki Dupree needed our small group. And our small group needed Rick and Vicki. They caused us to reconsider what a Christian looks like. They forced us to re-evaluate our judgments, to see the Kingdom of God in bigger ways than we ever had, to pay more attention to people than to patterns of predictability.

In the meantime, Don was still in the minority at Legacy who was holding out on small groups. He kept going faithfully to the little assemblies at the building on Sunday nights. Small groups in people’s homes was new to Don. It didn’t fit with his experience or with his idea of church. So, I think he eyed us with suspicion. He was grateful for what we were doing to help Rick and Vicki get back into church. He was glad Rick and Vicki were worshiping God and serving others with some Christian friends. But he still wasn’t completely sold on me or on our small groups.

In August of that same year, Don baptized Rick & Vicki’s son, Dustin. In November, their daughter Whitney had a baby without a husband. We were all there together at HEB hospital when Mariah was born. In December, our small group hosted a shower for Whitney and Mariah at our house. And then, two weeks later, another one at the Legacy church building.

It was during this time that Don became too sick and too stiff in his bones to get to the church building on Sunday nights. Rick and Vicki were not willing to miss our small group assemblies to get him to Legacy and back. In fact, Rick and Vicki were not willing to miss our small group for anything in the world. So they dragged Don to our house.

And he loved it.

It took some time. But he grew to love it. He’d sit there in our living room with that huge Bible propped up on his lap and in that really, really, really long drawn out drawl, he’d read and he’d talk and he’d pray. He held hands with us when we sang. He shared the bread and the cup when we communed. He laughed when the kids were being funny. And he cried when we all needed to cry.

He loved it.

He loved it when I baptized Whitney, his granddaughter on Sunday February 1, 2009.

We loved Don. We took care of Don. We fixed his plate and snuck him that second dessert. We helped Rick & Vicki get him in and out of the car. We made sure to always sing a song or two that he would enjoy. And he grew to love us. We had to explain to him why we shared communion every Sunday night; we argued occasionally about “patterns” and “decency and order;” we always disagreed about worship styles and women’s roles. But we loved Don. And he loved us.

On April 25, 2010 I preached a sermon from Mark 2:23 – 3:6 called “Which is Lawful?” It was based on Jesus’ question to the religious leaders in the synagogue who were criticizing him for healing on the Sabbath. I pointed out that Jesus didn’t do away with all the rules and regulations of religion, he didn’t throw everything out the window. Rules and regulations will always be a vital facet of life in God’s Kingdom. Our Lord boldly presented two ways of following God’s rules and regulations. “Which is lawful on the Sabbath, to good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” Jesus says there are two ways to follow the rules. One is good and one is evil. One way gives life to people and one way kills people. One way frees people from burdens and one way places more burdens. One way liberates people from their chains and one way locks people up in prisons.

God’s law is never about the pattern; it’s about people. God’s Church is never about the institution; it’s about people. The priority of human need always outweighs the need for human conformity to rituals. And if we’re partnering with God and his plan to redeem the world, we take care of people first!

It was a tough sermon. It addressed head-on some of the problems we were having at Legacy. It confronted some of the issues that were being debated and it criticized those who were doing the judging and debating. And afterward, as I greeted people in the foyer, here came Don Dupree. I wasn’t sure which way this was going to go. But he grabbed my hand and said, “Allan, you are my brother; and you are my preacher. Thank you!”

I like to think that it wasn’t the sermon that one Sunday morning in the worship center; it was the small group over a whole bunch of Sunday nights in our living rooms and around our dining room tables. It wasn’t the gospel preacher; it was the community of faith. Words didn’t mean nearly as much to Don, I like to think, as our actions with and for one another in our homes. Wasn’t it Francis of Assisi who said, “Preach the Gospel; use words if you must.” Don’s outlook was changed by the way our small group embraced him and his family. His whole attitude was changed forever.

I knew his words to me that day were significant. Those words meant something coming from Don. I wrote them down in my calendar and in my journal. I kept them on my desk where I could see them, rewriting them every month in a different place, a constant reminder that our lives and our actions mean so much more than our sermons and assemblies. And that the toughest hearts can be softened in a loving community of faith.

I got the call from Rick this past Monday night at 6:00. Don had died. Rick’s sister Lisa, the calmer of the Dupree kids who did Carrie-Anne’s and the girls’ hair and nails for four years, had found him on the floor of his house. A blood clot in his leg had gotten to him, possibly a result of a knee replacement surgery he had endured a couple of weeks before. Rick and Vicki were driving in from a vacation in Galveston, and he was a wreck. Carrie-Anne called Lisa.

I love Rick and Vicki Dupree. And I love Don. The Duprees are an eternal part of so many wonderful things that happened for my family while we were at Legacy. I can’t think about those four-plus years without thinking about the Duprees. Three years ago I cringed every time I saw Don approaching me. When we left Legacy to move to Amarillo, I wanted to take Don and his whole family with me. As I’m writing this post, the Legacy church is celebrating his life together and praising God. They are comforting Rick and Vicki, Dustin and Whitney and Mariah and Lisa. And I wish I were there with them.

God bless the Duprees.

Allan

Warrior Dash 2012

My thighs are still burning today with every step, I’ve pulled something in my right shoulder blade area that I’m still feeling with every breath, and I’m still wiping mud out of the corners of my eyes and coughing up dirt balls. But Warrior Dash was an absolute blast. And we can’t wait for next year’s.

It was mainly the same crew from Legacy that ran last year’s event down in Roanoke, a couple of blocks east of the Texas Motor Speedway. Twenty of our dearest friends, ranging in age from 15 to… well… let’s say around 50… and ranging in degrees of fitness from superstar athletes like Hudson and Jordan to out-of-shape desk jockeys and preachers like me. It’s a 5K (a little over three miles), through an obstacle course, in the mud. And, yes, even though this crazy event appeals much more to people half my age and who drink much more than just Diet Dr Pepper, we always have a great day at Warrior Dash. And this year was no different.

  

Valerie had a couple of buddies her own age show up to run with her this time, although I”m not sure Samantha and Shannon really understood what they were getting into. As race officials were herding us all into the line for our 10:30 am start, Samantha got a first look at the huge video monitor showing highlights from last year’s Warrior Dash and started flipping out. We tried to assure her that, while it may look lethal, she probably wouldn’t die.

 

We donned our complimentary warrior helmets and took all the obligatory pre-dash pictures and then decided, probably a little too late, we needed to stretch. Yeah, for most of us it was way too late for that. Before we knew what was happening, we were counting down from ten and then running under a couple of fire-belching cannons on top of the starting gate. We were off!

Last year I had tried to keep up with Hudson, which lasted about half a mile. This time I was going to be in a better situation. Steve, Keith, Mike, Tracy, Kevin, and I had planned beforehand to run/jog this thing together. My only concern was besting my time from a year ago (43:42) and finishing without injury. Early on, neither of those goals appeared to be realistic. The recent rains in DFW made the course wetter and slicker and grosser than the year before. Just a little over a hundred yards in, Tracy bit it. Big time. I think he might have been wearing his yard work shoes. You know, the old tennis shoes, grass stains on the toe and the sides, missing that first crucial layer of sole? Tracy went down hard on his right side, almost taking Mike and me down with him. But, thankfully, he popped back up, only to discover he was now carrying about 40-pounds of extra weight in mud caked to his right leg and arm. We were all a little more careful after that.

About halfway through the course our party of six broke up a bit. Kevin and Mike kept running/jogging while Tracy and I found ourselves increasingly jogging/walking. At one point along the course, a huge sign meant to encourage participants screamed at us, “Are You A Warrior?!?” To which Tracy replied out loud, “Do warriors walk?” We were definitely walking in spots. But at least we were ahead of Steve and Keith. (We’d better be; Keith’s still recovering from a hip replacement surgery.)

So we crawled through the pits, scaled the cargo net walls, climbed the rope which had a couple too few knots in it, manuevered under all the barbed wire, walked/swam through the chest-high water/sludge/sewage, slid down the poles, and climbed more hills than I remember from last year. In fact, they put up a huge hill and and that massive Warrior Wall thing to climb back-to-back right before the fire jump. Now, the flames are only about knee high. But as I approached the double fire jump I was thinking, man, my legs are too tired. I’m not sure I can do this.

The final obstacle is the famous mud pit. It’s right at the finish line, right where hundreds and hundreds of spectators gather to cheer and jeer and take pictures, and right where a participant is the most tired and most unwilling to put up with any nonsense. So, of course, that’s the best place to watch.

   

Nothing like crawling through the mud and the slime, concentrating on staying low so as not to snag the seat of my britches on the barbed wire, and hearing Whitney and Carrie-Anne laughing. And Carl Ball. Thank you. The most impossible part of the whole course was getting out of that mud pit. It was so slippery and gross and I was so tired (and gross) I almost didn’t make it. I think I lost ten seconds clinging with three fingernails to a tiny root of a little dandelion on the side of that hill, praying that I wouldn’t slide backwards back into the gunk.

   

Tracy finished about ten seconds ahead of me. As usual, Hudson and Jordan had already showered and were prefectly clean and groomed, hair gel and everything, by the time I got out. Jerks. Steve and Keith were a couple of minutes back. Valerie and her crew of girls were another ten minutes or so. And then the ladies entertained us all with their fantastic finish about an hour after we began.

 

We took all the “after” pictures together, froze half to death in the barely adequate Warrior Wash, rode the shuttles back to the cars, and then gathered at Mooyah Burgers for a late lunch where we could get all our stories straight. Sandy maybe really actually broke a rib on that very first obstacle, the balance beam thing that teeters up and down about ten feet off the ground. I should hear about that before the day’s over. Everybody else though, as far as I know, is suffering mainly from scratches on our knees, sore legs, and a few stretched muscles. I would say, too, we all feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment. And we’re all already making plans to do it again next year. Carley will be old enough to participate next year. And Carrie-Anne’s already said that if Carley does it, she will, too.

 

While checking my official time in the results tent, I ran into Bradley Bledsoe, one of our good brothers here at Central. We were both very surprised to see each other there; it’s so out of context for both of us. I asked him, “Man, what are you doing here?” He answered, “The same thing you’re doing; trying to act way younger than you really are.”

Allright, who’s going to take the lead and get a Central team up and ready for Warrior Dash 2013? Adam? Olen? Borger? Who’s going to put this thing together?

The time to beat is 43:11!

Peace,

Allan

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