Smurf Salute to Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong

Weather: A full moon, but rather warm and humid. Reminded the gathered that the moon was often called a Buck Moon in mid summer, as it was so wide and bright you could see a buck’s horns against it in the light.

Location: The sad news, even though we had a pre-nicknamed FNG, was that we could not do the tower of doom because of an upcoming rowing event. However, the moon and tower did look good as we paid homage to Neil Armstrong, who began his journey this week 50 years ago on the other Florida coast.

QIC: Papa Smurf

Pax (Phonetical spellings added): Bannnn-jo, Clutch, Dasani, Puck, Condenser, Diesel, Hercules (Hur-kul-es), Hot (Haaaaat) Pocket, Slater, Clutch, Goob (Gooooob), FNG Guillermo, Slater, Papa Smurf

The Thang: We started with the disclaimer, and the five principles of F3. Then did a count. We had 13! Oh no.

Started with a Mozy around the loop. It included a curb warning “let’s call it our Dick Van Dyke” danger spot, aka Thor. However, I changed it up and did a NUR first, then karaoke to the mall and to the tower. Came back to the car park area and did the usual warmup, to 11 each of the following:

  • Strawberry Picker
  • Windmills
  • Imperial Walkers
  • Hillbilly Walkers
  • And something else

My goal was to find some exercises that were used by astronauts. The reality was and is that there aren’t that many. They did regular training, and Neil Armstrong, while fit, was not an exerciser at all, according to his biographer. He apparently would joke that he only had a certain number of heartbeats in his life, and did not want to waste them. To exercise in the capsule, they used a sort of little exercise thing, called an Exer-Genie, which I am afraid looks like something, well, out of the 19th century. The thing is still made, and some pax had heard of it.

Section 1, Liftoff: We did a round of High Intensity stuff, each exercise with 11 seconds of rest after. There were 40 merkins, 40 squats, 40 sidestraddle hops and 40 lunges. High intensity is used by current astronauts to help build stamina. I then had a quote:

Astronaut Bill Anders: He was a straight arrow in all the ways that counted. In my view, the character of the real person Neil Armstrong, comes out generally higher than most of his colleagues.”

Section 2, Ascent: We were going to go up the tower, and do 11 exercises on each landing. However, we could not get on the tower, so we did a loop by the Butler portable building, with 11 American Hammers at beginning and 11 LBCs at the end. Or something.

His mother Viola: “As I look back, I can see how the pattern of his life has all dovetailed togehter. I believe God gave him a mind to use and maybe destined him to the work he has been doing.”

Section 3, 11s:
A series of 11s, with 11 Sun Gods, and 11 Monkey humpers. Wait…I forgot this explanation! What I meant to do was give the two early space monkeys, Baker and Albert, a little exposure. But I segued more quickly into section 4….. And a quote from Buzz:

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin: “I do not remember seeing him lose his cool.”

Section 4, Creed Burpees:
Was meant to be 11 Air Squared (just to see what it looks like when you have to freeze in a certain space position in a capsule, and Apollo Creed Burpees.

We counted at the end. All 13 of us. We then realized that we had an FNG, Guillermo. He already had a nickname, as friends nicknamed him Guillermo as he was the least Guillermo we have ever seen.

We ended with a circle of trust, praying for Gator, and our daughters.

The End:  After the end, I got out a prop. Since Papa Smurf does not have a shovel flag, he brought an actual Neil Armstrong flag. When I was five or six, we went to Dulles Airport to see the planes. It was a big attraction back then, as 747s were also new. While there, my mom and her friend spotted a guy they thought looked like Neil Armstrong. My mom went over to him, and asked if it was him, and if he would autograph something. Meanwhile there as a big scramble, as we had nothing to sign. So we went over to the gift shop and found….a flag.

We brought it over for him to sign. He said he could not sign the flag, but he could sign the wooden pole. He then gave us boys a talk on how to treat the flag, how it should never touch the ground. I dont remember the exact words, but I do remember him getting down to our level as he signed it. It is signed with a black flair pen that is faded by now. But the greatness has not.

After the storytelling, all the pax came over to indulge me and see the flag, and look at Neil Armstrong’s signature.