THE NEXT NANTAN
The most common question I am asked about F3 is whether we had any idea what it would become
As of this morning (I just checked), we have 2,343 Workouts. Ten years ago today we had zero and were three weeks away from the first workout at AG Middle School in Charlotte. Looking back, did I think that we would go from one Workout to 2,343 in ten years? No. No, I didn’t.
Neither OBT nor I had any idea how widespread a Problem SadClown Syndrome was or how (ultimately) Effective F3 would be at providing a Solution. We knew the effect that a peer-led outdoor workout group could have on men because we had both experienced it at the Campos. And, because it had such a positive IMPACT on us, we were intent on helping other men reap the same benefits.
But that was about the extent of our narrow Vision
We just wanted to start a Group that could handle the overflow from the Campos. If by the end of 2011 we had a solid core of 12 PAX, we would have called that success. Well, we blasted through that benchmark on the first day and have never had the time or need to look back. Having stumbled into something huge we did the best we could to keep building the road forty-three feet in front of the men driving on it.
Luckily (or by design) we have had a lot of help. Some of it was from guys like Zoot who EH’d me into the Campos and coined the name “F3” (but, ironically, hasn’t been to an F3 Workout since the 2011). Others are like CrotchRocket and AP, who have been in critical Leadership positions from the beginning and without whom our growth would have been impossible. Still others (way too many to name) are like GnarlyGoat, Rock or SixMike, who have been with us since the start but never felt the need the step into the spotlight. There are PAX like that all over F3Nation, Yeomen upon whose tireless backs this Organization has been constructed.
The Nantan role in F3 evolved by necessity and default
At first, I was just the Site-Q of AG (although we didn’t call it that at the time). Then when we began to expand, I morphed into the Nantan of F3/Metro (although we didn’t call it that at the time). Finally, without any trumpets blaring, I became the Nantan of F3Nation. Somebody had to do it, I happened to be the guy standing there at the time and nobody objected.
Since we don’t have a firm timeline on this evolution, I suppose the simplest way to put it is that I have been the Nantan for ten years—and that is long enough. I don’t think I’ve overstayed my welcome, primarily because nobody has told me so, but that should not be the standard. A Leader should pass the flag to the next Leader when his job is done and I firmly believe that I have reached that point.
The initial need for a Dancing Idiot
F3 is one of those unique Organizations that is also a Movement and all Movements start with a Dancing Idiot who is willing and able to Disrupt the Status Quo with a set of ideas that draws in other men as First Followers. To be Effective, the Dancing Idiot must have VAPE: a Vision that is compelling and unique; the willingness to Articulate it clearly; the skill to Persuade others to move with him; and the drive to Exhort the breach of Obstacles when they inevitably occur. The Dancing Idiot must be an apostle of sorts, a man who is the initial advocate for a particularized belief system.
Initially, the Dancing Idiot is indispensable to a Movement. Without him, the gravitational pull of the Status Quo will be too great for change to occur. But as the Movement matures and gains Momentum he is less necessary. If the Movement is Effective, its Members become apostolic Dancing Idiots in their own right who no longer need the original idiot to continue pointing the way. What they need is structure and support so that they can continue Accelerating toward the Movement’s Ultimate Purpose.
And that, ten years in, is where I believe we now are in F3
I have danced well, or at least well enough to initiate Movement to the point that we have Momentum. What we need now is structure and support and that is not my bailiwick. My work (what God set me out to do) as the Nantan of F3Nation is done. It is time for the next Nantan to take us to a higher plane, and that man is Slaughter.
Which is not to say that Slaughter does not have VAPE—he has it in spades. But he also possesses much that I do not have.
First, he has tremendous management skills that he learned by running a business that employs hundreds of people in North and South Carolina. He knows how to run things in a way that I do not. Over the last two years he has performed the thankless role of COO of F3Nation flawlessly. These are skills that are essential to F3’s next phase of growth and I don't have them.
Second, he is empathetic to a degree that I will never be. I care about people in pain and want to help them, but Slaughter feels it. Where I am primarily apostolic, he is truly pastoral. Again, that is essential to our Organization moving forward.
Finally, he is young and I (no, no, it’s true) am not. In Born To Run, Christopher McDougall described a prehistoric culture where every man ran, but the older men voluntarily gave way in leadership to younger men who were at the ideal confluence of their initial waning of youthful energy and the acquired wisdom of their age. At 47, I was that man. At 57, I am not. Slaughter is at the exact juncture and I will joyously run behind him and advise him if he asks, but only if he asks.
A heap of blessings
Second only to the blessing of being a husband and father, helping to build F3 has been the most enriching experience of my life. It has delivered to me those things that we promise to all men: consistent Fitness, deep male Fellowship and meaningful Faith in something outside of myself. But it has also provided me with the opportunity to help other men discover those wonderful gifts as well and no man could ask for more than that.
Now as I hand the flag off to The Next Nantan, I do so with full assurance that we have chosen the right man to Lead our Organization and Accelerate it to the next plane. He is a man in whom dwells the true spirit of Leadership. I place my hands upon him, stand him before the entire assembly and commission him in their presence.
By this last act, I believe that I have faithfully discharged the obligations the Lord entrusted to me as the first Nantan. And for this, and so many other reasons, I know that I am truly and fully blessed.