YHC knew going into this Q that the nature of the BD could be a point of frustration for some veteran PAX. I also knew that we likely had two FNGs coming, so I went out of my way when the FNGs arrived to warmly greet and welcome them to F3, get to know them a little bit, then pull them aside privately to let them know that today’s BD won’t be the usual way BDs are facilitated (with exercises being called and instructions given verbally, etc.) – but unbeknowst to the veteran PAX this BD would be led with a different approach – and I encouraged them to simply keep their eyes on me, see what (and eventually what the other PAX around them) are doing, and join in the fun, modifying as necessary. Despite (and because of) the potential pitfalls of the Q design, a risk I was willing to take, at 0700 I provided an extended Disclaimer to all PAX:
Standard Disclaimer ending with “please do not sue me, the park or any alien species in the galaxy known or unknown
F3 in part is about discipline & this BD requires a discipline we don’t usually practice at F3… so please listen carefully:
Someone here recently said, “You haven’t done a Star Trek BD in a while, why don’t you do that? Well, today’s BD is based on Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5, Episode 2… and a NEW RULE from the card game Star Trek: TNG Fluxx.
The card with the NEW RULE was shown: Darmok! Name, Numbers or Noises ONLY. During the BD, we (self included) must refrain from speaking except for Names of people and Numbers; Noises are acceptable as long as they are unintelligible (e.g., grunts, groan, moan of misery, etc.). You are welcome to modify as necessary with the exception of the NEW RULE: if anyone breaks the rule, anyone can call your Name and you must immediately pay the toll of 1 Smurf Jack [demonstrated]. The NEW RULE applies during Mary and ends whenever you hear the Q say “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.” .
So keep your eyes and ears peeled to the Q to discern the exercise, including if there is a cadence (implied by how Q was leading) or count (by Numbers being verbally issued by the Q). We’ve done tons of Warm-up before, so the rule during the Warm-up is actually NO NOISE, NO NAMES, NO NUMBERS… PERIOD. And according to this Fluxx card, the NEW RULE TAKES EFFECT IMMEDIATELY. Most of the PAX followed the NEW RULE quite well, with the exception of one PAX (to remain unnamed) who added quite a few Smurf Jacks to his BD; some PAX made it through the BD without adding any Smurf Jacks at all; and a couple issued self-imposed Smurf Jack tolls when they knew they either willingly or unwittingly violated the NEW RULE.
We moseyed to The Spot for a Warm-Up. Disturb’s haunting version of Simon & Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence played while we warmed up, the lyrics of which are:
Hello darkness, my old friend; I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain still remains
Within the sound of silence.
In restless dreams, I walked alone narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp I turned my collar to the cold and
damp when my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light that split
the night and touched the sound of silence.
And in the naked light, I saw ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking, people hearing without
listening; people writing songs that voices never shared
And no one dared disturb the sound of silence.
“Fools” said I, “You do not know silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you, take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell and echoed in the wells of silence.
And the people bowed and prayed to the Neon God they made
And the sign flashed out its warning in the words that it was forming
Then the sign said, “The words on the prophets are written
on the subway walls, in tenement halls” and whispered in the sound of silence.
– Deep Breathing
– Arm, Neck & Leg Stretches
– Good Mornings
– Abe Vigodas
– Sun Gods transitioning into Nancy Kerrigans (torso FWD, leg back)
– Deep Breathing
The Thang was 3 intervals of hard BD separated by 2 intervals of recovery BD, followed by a finishing AYG then Mary. Music was timed to have hard core music playing during the harder portions of the BD, softer music during the recovery periods, and almost all music, tho common songs, had no lyrics. The Thang consisted of (those exercises which were called verbally by Name are in bold; the other exercises (not in bold), YHC tried to communicate the name/nature of the exercise using various hand gestures, etc., since I could only say Names, Numbers & Noises (and after my attempt of non-verbal explaination, I would simply begin the exercise and trust the PAX would see what’s at hand and enter in):
HARD INTERVAL 1:
– Jack Webbs [on knees, merkin, overhead clap, continue until Q wiped
– Bonnie Blairs
– Jennifer Lopez
– Box Cutters
REPEAT for 2nd time through
– Moroccan Night Clubs
– Al Gore (one of the FNGs figured out the implication of the position and laughed) with Marching Alternating Toe Taps
– Suzanne Summers (legs wide, feet 45 degrees, straight back, squat
REPEAT for 2nd time through
We then ran a Black Snake along an S-shape pathway to The Mound.
HARD INTERVAL 2 (at The Mound):
– Bernie Sanders up the hill, turn 180, run down the hill (6x)
– Captain Thor (5 BBSU + 5 American Hammers) at bottom of hill…
– 5 Bobby Hurleys at top of hill…
– Clock Merkin at bottom of other side of hill…
– 5 Bobby Hurleys at top of hill…
– Captain Thor at bottom of hill… (sequence of 3 done 3x)
– Mosey to a wider area of the path…
– Side Straddle Hop variants in rapid succession: normal SSH (many), arms to side hops (many), arms extended in front hops (many), and repeat until current frenetic song (Malaguena) was nearing its end
– Mosey back to The Spot
– Moon Gods (pointed to moon in sky, then bowed before it to try to communicate the name of the exercise)
– James Bonds
– Nolan Ryans
– James Bonds
– Moon Gods
HARD INTERVAL 3: [as the menacing Mars from The Planets began to play]
30 Flutter Kicks
AYG: [to Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight]
High Plank until you crash and burn. Take knee break then return to High Plank… AYG until song ends/ Q is smoked.
MARY: [I knew this would be interesting because when YHC called MARY with just under 10 minutes remaining, and the NEW RULE still in effect, I knew it would test the bounds of creativity. How would the PAX communicate their “called exercises” if they could not speak? After about 1 minute of everyone looking at each other like lost puppies, and me smiling, one PAX was particularly creative by calling “Private Ryan” then leading us in WW2 sit-ups; a couple of other PAX found creative ways to get us started on an exercise as well; while a couple of other PAX just blarted out the name of the (non-Name) exercise and took their Smurf Jack penalty. MARY ended up including:
Something our chief rule offender called out that I can’t remember
At 0800 I graciously called “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra!” and immediately went into the Acceleration Point.
The entirety of the BD/Q was, by design, meant to be an illustration of the Acceleration Point: Communication is Key.
The BD was based on a Star Trek Episode where the Captain and an alien were unable to communicate and understand each other, but they had a common threat / enemy they had to overcome / defeat.
Garfunkel stated, “The Sound of Silence is about our inability to communicate with others, not particularly intentionally, but emotionally, and so we are unable to love one another.”
If we don’t understand how to communicate with our most significant others / team, how can we overcome shared obstacles which must be overcome? We must embrace and demonstrate the importance of letting others know they matter. Some practical tips:
Parents: don’t keep scolding & nagging your 2.0s, making them angry & resentful. Rather, bring them up with loving discipline, wise suggestions, and godly advice.
Husbands: treat your M with understanding as you live together (even if you don’t understand her); she is your equal partner in God’s gift of life; treat her well so your communication w/ Sky Q will not be hindered.
If we don’t understand how to communicate with Sky-Q, how can we overcome obstacles which must be overcome? Some practical tips:
First: Listen. In today’s earthquakes & fires, listen for the sound of a calm breeze; the quiet voice of Sky-Q may be coming through the air to you tonight, O Lord.
Second: Speak. Your prayers need not be labored, lengthy or grandiose – Sky-Q knows your needs before you ask. Our prayers, rather, should be simple, like this [at this point, I asked all PAX to form a Ball of Man and we all, essentially without prompting, prayed together, quietly but aloud]:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
We then followed with Count and Name-o-Rama, welcoming after some deliberation Skipper (double respect!) and The Closer into the bonds of F3.
We followed by receiving a number of personal prayer requests, including for families who are facing the prognosis of a very untimely loss, as well as a family who is just now facing a very sudden and unexpected loss. After a couple of announcements, we gathered together again for deeper prayer over these personal matters. Afterward, a lively, enjoyable and meaningful coffeeteria was held for quite some time as we got to know better our new F3 brothers and shared about a number of meaningful things going on in our lives. [Script Kiddie also spotted a couple of long lost F3 brothers playing disc golf at this time and reconnected with them on hole #7, inviting them back into the fold; one of them even commented that when he pulled into the park to play DG and saw our group in the midst of a BD, he knew he was “in trouble”.]
I knew going into this Q that how the BD would be facilitated would be unique, unusual or even uncomfortable for some of the PAX… yet I felt the strongly about the Acceleration Point and that the BD needed in and of itself to be a living experience and representation of the unnecessary confusion and frustations we encounter when we don’t communicate rightly or in unison with those most close to us… and how that hinders our ability to overcome where we need to grow in these relationships. I assured the Site Q that I understood the risks, that I did everything I could to mitigate the impact on the PAX and FNGs, and that this was a one-off BD (i.e., back to the 7 of Diamonds for me).
It was a joy to Q today and greatly appreciated the deference both the veteran and new PAX gave to me as I boldly lead them perhaps where no Q has gone before.