I held in my curses because my child was standing feet away, with giant eyes, and an even bigger grin.
And then it was over.
Kenny and I stepped across the finish line into the arms of our cheering teammates. Hugs started being passed around. Tears started clearing trails down team members’ filthy faces.
I walked over to my child and scooped him into my arms. “Daddy, why are you sad?” he asked, looking deep into my welling eyes.
“I’m not sad,” I told him. “I’m so happy. This is a happy thing.”
I turned around and looked around at my celebrating teammates and whispered to Noah. “We made it.” I looked at Kenny. “We all made it.” And at that point, I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer as the weight of it all came flooding over me at once.
Yes, we had all done it. We had all made it. And a very big part of me was sad that it was over.
I have revisited that moment a hundred times since then. At least. It was a defining moment in our lives. We were the last team across. It took us six hours to do it. I have said since then, that I am thankful we were last. There was something all the more romantic about it. There was something about being last that made our victory all the more sweet. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
And now. My dear friends who have made it this far. I hope you will see why I felt a need to spread this story out over an entire week.
I could not put into proper words, the story that changed these twenty lives forever, in a single blog post. The experience affected me and my teammates so profoundly, that we have not stopped talking about it since. Many of us barely knew each other before that. Now, we are all lifelong friends. The bond which was built takes most friendships years to attain. It took us six hours in the mud, and water, and dirt, and ice.
And I hope you’ll join us.
Because we’re going to do it again.
We can’t not do it again.
Are you a member of the Single Dad Laughing Health Club on Facebook? God, I hope so. Look, I don’t make a dime off of that group. No one does. We forbid selling things or recruiting to things. We ban people for negativity or using the club in the wrong ways. We are eight thousand people strong, and the only thing we care about is loving each other, supporting each other, and being there for each other.
As you can imagine, this entire Tough Mudder experience has lit the SDLHC on fire. SDLHC teams are forming at just about every Tough Mudder event scheduled between now and the end of next year. I got so excited, I already booked a ticket to go do another one with my brother in England at the end of October, and you better believe I’ll be doing at least two or three next year.
So, listen… I don’t care if you’re in the best shape of your life, or if you’re morbidly obese. I don’t care if you are tall or short, skinny or fat, gay or straight. I don’t care if you’re 18 or 55. I don’t care if you have money or if you don’t. I don’t care if you do a Tough Mudder or if you just join us for the support and fun we have. In the SDLHC, you’ll still have the most amazing health and fitness support group you could ever imagine. SDLHC members, will you back me up on that in the comments?
GAH!!! I know this sounds like a sales pitch. It’s not. I have absolutely no affiliation with Tough Mudder, and I promise you I have absolutely no reason to invite you to the SDLHC except that I know how many lives it is changing. I know that it is a place where so many have finally felt safe to be excited about it all.
Tough Mudder was one of the BEST weekends of my life. It was one of the BEST weekends of most of our lives. I’m on a serious high right now. It’s going to take weeks to come down.
To all of my teammates, I love you. To all of our cheerleaders from the SDLHC who flew in or drove in just to cheer us on, I love you. To everyone who has cheered for us on the internet, I love you. This world is a mighty strange and beautiful place.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
Photo credit: Sophi Brenneman