All posts by the Yard

Don’t forget Yard Central this morning and Gracie Garage at 1602, then back Central.

Hey today is the first day of my three day reassignment! Yard Central at 0830 as usual, another at 1000 till 1100, then I have ameeting with Teresa. This afternnon, its Gracie Garage time at 1602, from 1430 to 1600. Then back Central for a Yard at 17, from1700 to 1800. I’m still working on getting the Google calender to display again. More updates this afternoon! Come out and put your name on it! Walt

Its Official! Yard Warrior Yoga with Omar Rios!

Thats right! All new and fresh out the box baby! Omar Rios, The Kombucha King of Austin, purveyor of Kosmic Kombucha, and my favorite flavor, Groovy Green, will be at 1602 to teach the first innaugural and free to your fine asses, Yard Warrior Yoga! Vinyasa Flow Yoga in the Baptiste tradition for all you Yoga nerds out there! Omar’s been teaching for years, and if you didnt know him back in the day, he was once an employee here till he started brewin the Buch! Now he and Mina, his beautiful wife, peddle the Buch at Whole Foods, Wheatsville Coop, local Yoga studios, including the one he teaches at Bfree Yoga, and many other fine retailers who know a good kombucha! So come out, bring your mat, and we’ll try to have some extra as well to 1602, Weds 7-30-14, and bring some water and a towel, cause its hot Yoga! And trust me, whenever you’re feeling pretty strong and fit, take a hot Yoga class, and get you a little dose of reality. It aint easy! So come out and get your sweat on! We’re gonna try to make it a regular thing!

Weds 7-30, 9am to 10:15am. With Omar pictured below!

8819765_orig omar

kosmic-kombucha-86109277Mina-and-OmarAnd guess who also carries Kosmic?! Thats right The Yard’s favorite coffee place for all things Bulletproof, Paleo, and all organic, Picnik!

images picnik


Oh Those Choices.

I’ve been thinking about this a great lately, and it seems to be an ever present dichotomy in my mind, but in January I will turn 50. A half century, the big 5-0. And with that I realize that mentally, emotionally, and more so physically, I am doing better than I ever have.

I believe I have a luxury a lot of other people don’t in that I see patients everyday who are my age and sometimes younger who have made other choices in life and are calling me, well 911 anyway, to help mitigate a lifetime of the consequences of those choices. This was clear today, its July 20 as of this writing, and I picked up a gentleman who has lived a life of those choices and is now living with the consequences whether he realizes it or not. As we were trying to lift him to the stretcher, he commented how terrible it was getting old. I asked him how old he was and he said he just turned 50. And it’s at these moments that the choices we make in life are so striking to me. I see this every shift and if you’re in the same line of work I am, a paramedic on a box in a 911 system, then you it see every shift as well. But, I think for me it’s more interesting than to most because I could have been on a very different trajectory given my background. Most people tell how fit and healthy they were when they were younger, and I think back to when I was an obese kid. I was a solid 150lbs at 11 years old and I was fueled on the standard Southern diet of Mt. Dew and Doritos, along with fast food, and as much sugar as I could eat. I was that kid. The one always picked last because I was fat, and unathletic to say the least. Thinking back though I realize that maybe my personality wouldn’t be what it is had I not had that life experience. My sense of humor developed more as a defense mechanism than anything. I found being the quick witted fat kid was far better than having defense at all. It also allowed me an empathy I think that is sometimes lost on those who were skinny and/ or athletic when they were kids and the weight and years seek up on them which always makes it easier to default to the “I’m getting older” routine. Those are also the people who default to the, “when I was your age” bullshit, and make no mistake, the likelihood of it being bullshit is tremendously high. We humans have an amazing ability to candy coat our memories of our youth don’t we? And we’re equally good at telling others about the glory days.

I’ve found though as I grow older, I dig the fact that I’m nearly 50 and I’m feeling better than ever! I like telling people my age, especially after I hear their excuses for not taking care of themselves. Which brings me to the fact that I say those same people who talked about their glory days is bullshit. Those glory days very likely came easy because of youth, not from hours of hard work. And now oddly enough, with age, what was once easy takes just that, hard work, much harder than when you were younger. It takes a great amount of perseverance and discipline to undo the years of stress, injury, laziness, bad diet and exercise advice that we’re inundated with for years. I would also posit that it’s easier to take care of everyone and everything else in your life and simply place yourself on the back burner. Easier because it takes very little work to give in to excuses and time restraints, and all the other bull shit we all tell ourselves. I know. I was there not too long ago.

I can also tell you that if you make the time and you make the effort, the other side is so fucking amazing it’s hard to describe. The weirdest part is, it’s all up to you. It’s your choice every day and you make the conscious decision to live or die. That’s it, live better or die a little more miserable each day. Only the luckiest die early, instead of just being miserable the last 40 or 50 years of their life. So as I was helping a man my age to the cot that weighs 350lbs, has diabetes, CHF, and his cardiologist say he needs open heart surgery, I remember about the choices I make every day that keeps me from being that guy. Because when I see him, I feel empathy, I feel regret for not being able to say hey man, you could change things still! I’ve realized that as much as your intentions are good, sometimes it’s simply not enough. I’m not able to sway a great number of my colleagues to start taking care of themselves, how would I ever sway this guy! But, I do know I keep trying. I keep at it, and if ultimately only one person benefits from what it is I’m doing here, then I am proud to have made some difference.

Ultimately though it becomes a decision we each have to make for ourselves. Sick and tired or happy and healthy, which ever you choose, always remember that it was just that, your choice. Put your name on it. Walt

First Class with Brooke at 1602!

Tuesday is the big day! The one and only Brooke McGuire, yeah you probably don’t know her, is starting to coach at 1602 this week! Tuesday, 1000 at 1602, and again on Friday! This will be her consistent schedule unless otherwise noted here or on the face book she’s starting for 1602.

This will bring some much needed consistency to our project. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to have the luxury of that with the Yard Central but hope springs eternal. Central will start up again here soon; I’ve been working a lot lately so it has been more miss than hit lately. It looks like Weds morning I will be able to do a Central, I’ll put it on the calendar, and we have some new equipment so the usual time of 0830 for that.

As soon as the face book is up and running I’ll post more info and links. Till then I’ll see you Weds at Central with me and/ or Tues at 1602 with Brooke. Put your name on it. Walt

Oh to go underground!

So, it’s now officially unofficial! The Yard that is. If you’re reading this then the Yard has gone underground and I gotta tell you, it feels fantastic! I’ve had several people ask me if I was bummed that the Yard had gone back to its roots and I can tell you absolutely not!

You see all this came about from a couple of very well timed, shitty events coinciding at the same time. The events are not as important as the clarity I gained from them. It came clear to me that the trajectory, and my focus for the Yard was entirely too broad, too overreaching, and too much of everything. I had this belief that my positivity and love campaign would bring us all together and we would all embark on this health, wellness, journey together! I was wrong, well, more so I was a little too ambitious. Now don’t misunderstand, I still believe in love and positivity, and I believe I can shift the paradigm, that’s not ever going to change. What I have realized is that my focus, and goal was entirely to large. Like Wes Hopkins always says, You gotta eat the elephant one bite at a time.

I won’t pretend to understand why the department chooses not to move forward with my Health and Wellness plan. They may still, who knows? Certainly not me. I see now why the frustration of working for, asking for, dealing with, any government entity is so, what’s the word, obtuse, impossible, maddening, all of the above. I have always operated my life, my finances, my relationships, on the basis of mutual respect, reasonable discourse, timely decision making, and common sense. These ideals are not, to my estimation anyway, the philosophical views or SOPs of any government agency from the smallest to the largest. While I would like to say that’s ok, we all know it is not. But, I also know, all too well in fact, that this very way of doing things is not going away any time soon. In fact, the more something makes sense, the more a plan or idea is a vast improvement over whatever its supposed to replaces, in regards to a governmental agency, the less chance it has of ever seeing any real support from the powers that be. I believe there are several core reasons this is so, and these reasons though maddening, permeate everything governmental agencies do, and they include but are certainly not limited by, lack of vision, analysis paralysis, stubbornness, hubris, and the main culprit of always doing what it has always done, and always getting what it always got. You are NEVER going to see a government agency produce the same results as a private sector company. The private sector knows it must react to ever changing needs, market places, customer bases, employee needs, innovations, other competitors, and a million other nuances that can make or break a business. They know this because if they don’t react, problem solve, improve, and adapt, then they will cease to exist. Plain and simple. I certainly don’t need to belabor the point, and I’m certain you get it, but there is another half to this equation. With this Yard project I knew not everyone would be on board, and my scatter shot attempts to simply say I’m here whenever you’re ready while a little effective were just that, a little. In that vein the field staff is JUST as culpable as the department, maybe more so actually, for not embracing this idea. Yep, the field staff is more to blame. There are a dedicated few of us who try to stave off illness, poor health, obesity, and poor cognition with fitness, nutrition, and life style. The vast majority here though, plainly don’t give a shit about their health, their wellbeing, or the message they send to everyone around them that they just don’t care. The simple fact is, if it’s important to you, you will find the time, the energy, the courage, the discipline, the drive, to be healthy. If it is not, then you will find an excuse. Truly, it’s that simple! We all know the only thing standing between you and your goals, your health, your wellbeing, and ultimately your success, is all the bull shit excuses you tell yourself. Me included. I’ve been just as guilty of the same mind set, but I saw the problem, me, and I changed it. So to all who come out, who have supported, who have stood up next to me in defense to this idea, this tribe, this crazy notion, that I can help somehow affect change in others’ lives, you will always have my undying appreciation! You also have my word and honor bound duty to keep this ridiculous idea, not only rolling, but to get better! I know! Sounds crazy right!? That’s why we’ve gone underground! By moving away from the departmental partnership, we will forge a new path, a new freedom of movement even. I am very appreciative of the support I have received from the department, unfortunately I haven’t been able to help them understand how much health, wellness, and fitness is needed. My vision was to actually affect change here. That paradigm shift I prattle on about cannot be accomplished by unpredictable support, hit or miss coaching availability, and inconsistent availability of training times and equipment. The department will default to AFDs wellness center, because it’s there and lord knows EMS is headed there in droves. That’s not to say the Wellness Center is bad. What I’m saying is the department says it’s there, go if you want to and good luck! I can tell you that the same old ideology that brought you the food pyramid, calories in, calories out myths, and bullshit LDL of 100 for everyone thought processes, oh and the cardio vascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, depression, and general poor health that worked so well for us so far, right, is the default. After all, these philosophies of modern health have only QUADRUPLED the number of these disease processes in the last 50 years, so we’re doing great! But, again if you’re not busy living, then you’re busy dying! We all work with a lot of folks who ignore the fact that the patients they pick up every day will be them sooner than not. I for one can’t afford the amount of prescription meds, ongoing health care, heart caths, and hip replacements that are all too common these days. More importantly I won’t. How many people do we work with who you know is going to have a poor medical outcome? You know….

I can tell you this though. Not us, not me, and not anyone who will ever come to me and ask for help. This is my line in the sand! I’m here to affect. I here to make a difference, to have a positive impact on those around me! I’m here to find my purpose in this world, and if I can help you find yours, or make your path a little easier, your load a little lighter, or if nothing else to be supportive in whatever it is you dare to achieve in this world, then we all win, together!

Starting Tuesday, 7-22, Brooke McGuire, kick ass Level 1 Crossfit Coach will be programming bad assery at Crossfit 1602, at 1000. She will unless otherwise noted be there every Tues, Fri, at 10a. We have a new face book coming on line with this, The Yard- Crossfit 1602, which will start to ramp up this new community we are building. We still partner with the Employee Association, they have always supported our goals and this project more than you could possibly imagine! We also have an active twitter, just search theyardatx on twitter. And look Pawpaw, if you’re not sure how the Twitter works, ask your kids.

We are on the verge of some amazing things! And, there’s no time like the present to get on board, jump on the home team, and come in for the big win! Till I see your fine ass next time. Put your name on it! Walt

Lessons learned, articles written, resolve tested, and frustration felt.

If you count the cost of something you are doing out of love, or passion, or out of some duty to a greater good that you shouldered as your cause, your crusade, or your purpose, then it’s very likely you would never start something great in the first place. Counting the cost will always stop you. I don’t count the cost of this Yard project. On occasion, and more so recently that cost was and is painfully obvious, but still I cannot count it. If I did, I would quit. So I don’t…I’m not the smartest. I am not the best. I am not the fastest in any anything. But what I do have is an unyielding, unrelenting, tenacious, ridiculous, sickening work ethic when it comes to something or someone I am passionate about! I do whatever it is that I need to do to provide some kind of resource for health, wellness, and fitness for pre hospital providers. I don’t count the cost. I write as many posts as it takes. I coach as many Yards as it takes. I do as many reps, as many 4am workouts, as many emails, as many unanswered questions, as many impassioned pleas, as many overtime hours as it takes to make this project work! Why? Because I care! Because no one else is doing it! No one else looks at what we’ve done and sees the cost! They don’t see that we have to beg, borrow, and steal to get any equipment. They don’t see that AFD and APD have huge fitness budgets! Especially AFD, not to mention AFD management has huge buy in to health, wellness, and fitness for their people! We have me! Did it sting to see Fire on the cover of Austin Fit, to see we were last in the article, to see that there was no mention that everything we’ve accomplished is only because we, the field staff just did it ourselves? Yeah, it stung. Do I begrudge Fire? Absolutely not! Am I envious of the support they get, not to mention the coverage? Absolutely! Unfortunately in EMS we are just as culpable for not getting our message out as those who overlook us. No one else is doing what we’re doing! No one else is trying to accomplish what we are trying to accomplish, and no else is doing it for free! Because it needs to be done! So, yeah it stung a little. But I don’t count the cost. I keep moving forward! I keep grinding! I keep putting in the work! Relentless forward momentum! I wish I had said it, but I didn’t, but I tell myself daily, “Champions keep going when they have nothing left in the tank! When they’ve spent their last dime, when they feel like they have nothing left, they find a way out of no way!” I will find a way, I will keep going, support or no support, I will continue to fight for this cause, because as is evidenced by the indifference I have met so far, I am the one who cares! So no matter how many new PIO positions are created or how many new CHP positions are created, no matter how many more reassignments to do anything else other than taking care of the people who actually do the work for the citizens we serve are created, and no matter how many of my peers indifference towards their own health and wellness I encounter, I will keep doing what it is I do! I will keep going until I cannot go any more. I will keep grinding, and hammering, and working. And if you sit by, and you watch someone else doing the work, and you see them putting in the blood, the sweat, the tears, and massive amounts of energy, and all they’re trying to do is something to make yours and their life better, and you continue to let them carry that load and offer no help for whatever reason, then that’s more a reflection of your work ethic, your character, and your inability to action! You see the slogan Facta Non Verba at both Yards, it means actions, not words. You can tell me you appreciate, you can tell me you’ll do this, that, or the other thing, when and if you have time, or you can tell me and yourself it’s just not your responsibility, you can say a lot of things, but until you show me action, until you get in the trench with me! I’d rather you just sit and watch. Maybe you always have one foot out the door. Maybe you tell yourself I can’t do this or that or make a difference because I gotta conserve my energy, I gotta make sure I’m not giving too much to anyone other than me, or maybe you simply don’t care. Whatever your reasons, living the zero sum life, meaning that your only concern, your only motivation is you, is living a small life. You can tell me, “but Walt, you don’t understand.” Someone once said, “When you say, But, you are arguing for your limitations, and when you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them! And anyway, actions always speak louder than words! Till next time, put your name on it! I do! Walt




Latest Yard News

Well, it’s time for updates for all things Yardish! Some good, some weird, some we’ll see type stuff, and a whole lot perseverance. So first, and awesomest, tentatively we will have a new Level 1 Crossfit Instructor on the same days every week. Cody Larsen, new hire, cadet, and all around cool cat introduced me to his girlfriend, one Bad Ass Brooke McGuire, who happens to be a L1 coach with no CF Box to work at right now. Obviously, I began recruiting her to train folks here. And yes I waited till the end to tell her she is volunteering her time, and not only is there no money involved, it will actually cost her money to train people here. But, I offered some incentives that I can afford personally and I will keep telling her how she is doing a charitable thing. You know how it works. I’m meeting with her tomorrow to get an idea of what her schedule is, and how often she can coach, but most importantly it will be a consistent schedule.

I’ve come to realize that I may be the one funding, operating, and investing in this Yard endeavor but that’s how it started, and if even one person shows up, I will keep grinding. I always say Paul Alvarez is my favorite Don Quixote. Buts let’s be honest, I have all my own windmills to tilt at. This brings me to my second plan/ hair brain idea. My house is on the market, but hopefully, once it sells, and I have a little extra cash and I’m going to be buying some more equipment.

There are those times when I consider just letting this project go, but then someone tells me how it helped them, or how they lost weight, or how something I said, or wrote, or did inspired them, and my heart, my soul, and my motivation soar! Then there are those times when I ask and get no’s or worse no feedback at all, and I just dig my heels in a little deeper, strength my resolve a little more, and drive on. I’ve said it here before. Success is measured by the magnitude of the beneficial footprint you leave on the people around you. And it’s no secret that I’m terrible at only caring a little.

Yesterday I got to run pt for the new cadets at the academy. I got to go straight to the source and catch them before they become jaded. I told them, what it took me a long time to understand. This job, this system is a meat grinder and it will wear you down, but you don’t have to let it. I then led the pt that should be run, pt that builds capacity, but doesn’t create an energy drain that keeps you from being able to function throughout the day. It was hard work, high energy, and most importantly, it was a positive environment. After the pt was done, one of the captains asked me how it went. I told them everyone seemed to really like it; in fact I had a lot of interest in the Yard, and personal training. The captain told me I must have not worked them out hard enough. That’s an interesting viewpoint. One I could never subscribe to. I know a secret though. If I empower you, show you that you are capable of doing more than you ever imagined, and not only tell you I’m in your corner, but back that up with action, then I know you will achieve your goals. I know you will perform, and I know you will produce. If I don’t buy in to you, how could I ever have the audacity to ask you to buy in to me?!

So to summarize, new CF instructor added as long as I can keep talking her in to it, hopefully some more equipment coming, more Gracie Garage coming, as soon as I buy the mats that are required to make the application official, till the house sells, we’ll operate on a shoe string budget though. And I’ll keep working to make this project a viable solution to help the field provider mitigate health and wellness issues. There is a Yard Central tomorrow with me, the Sweet Pea himself, I’m coming from 26 though, so it may be starting closer to 9a. Hope to see you there! I’ll keep putting my name on it, I hope you’ll join me! W

Some July Dates

Check the calendar. There’s some new dates for Central. Nothing for 1602 for July at this time. Ross is doing Track stuff with his girls. I’m working on getting a Level 1 coach in there to fill in for a bit. I’ll shoot out an email as soon as I know something. Walt