Thursday, January 17, 2013

From Recycling to Boot Camp

ATTENTION CADETS! Sargent Bethany and Mariel here representing team Columbia Blue. Today started out in a frigid recycling warehouse that is owned by BestWay disposal. Upon arrival they gave us each a neon yellow t-shirt, a pair of goggles and work gloves.

 We knew at this point that we were in for a unique challenge. Two company leaders started off by giving us a tour of the warehouse, explaining the recycling business, and how the business operates. During the tour we saw BestWay workers sorting through fibers, plastics, glass, and cardboard. Little did we know we would be switching places with each of the workers on the line for some sorting of our own. 

As we each took our turn sorting through the recycled material, we soon figured out that this task wasn’t as easy as it looked. There were three legs to this race so that we could each get a chance to sort each material. The workers there were very helpful and offered up some good advice for us. One important thing we learned was to keep our eyes focused ahead so that we wouldn’t get dizzy or nauseous. The workers got a good chuckle out of our frantic and spastic movements in rookie attempt at their job. Occasionally we forced them to dodge glass bottles as we unsuccessfully attempted to hurl them into their respective bins. The competitive side broke out when two people were fighting over the same scrap. Bethany and Kelly ripped glass bottles out of each other’s hands across the conveyer belt in hopes of increasing their pick count. This experience opened our eyes to the strenuous jobs many people have to endure every day.

For our second race of the day we all knew we were in for something intense, since national security clearance was in order for this challenge. Caty Rozema, a Calvin College graduate who works for the Air Force hooked us up with an army challenge at Fort Carson. As we rolled up in our 5 intimidating mini-vans, security closely checked us over and let us enter the camp. Not a minute later, we pulled up to a rocky field and 10 stern uniformed soldiers. We quickly experienced a glimpse of what we would be doing as our “warm-up” included rank formation, cadenced push-ups and lunges.
The actual race consisted of running a two-mile course up and down a mountain with checkpoints every half-mile to complete a minute of push-ups, sit- ups, etc. The high altitude of Colorado Springs increased the difficulty of this challenge and had even the most fit teams gasping for air. The checkpoints were made even more difficult as army soldiers yelled insults in our faces. Some of the funnier ones included:
(To Ethan) “Did you just SPIT on my obstacle course?”
(To Jon) “Are those CARGO shorts? What do you think this is, Daddy day care?”
            (To Ali) “Come on yellow do you call that a push-up?”
            The race ended but apparently they didn’t work us hard enough because we still need to “cool-down.” We went back in to rank formation and performed a number of cadenced, vigorous exercises. 

Thanks to our lovely friends, Ethan and Mark, we were held in the squatting position for quite some time as the soldiers insulted our form and demeanor. At this point the soldiers seemed to feel plenty comfortable critiquing our every move. We finished this challenge by taking a picture with these soldiers. 

We all generously thanked the soldiers not only for their help on the race but also for their service, as we gained an even greater respect for all that they do. It’s hard to put into words all the emotions we were feeling throughout this race. A fellow racer, Jenny, said it best, “Today I had 4 army drill sergeants yelling in my face as I attempted to do sit ups, push ups, diamond push ups, etc. I may have yelled back and shot up a few cries out to Jesus, but at the same time it made me all the more thankful that there are stronger and braver people than me protecting this country.”

1 comment:

  1. BestWay workers sorting wine bottle cheese plate through fibers, plastics, glass, and cardboard.