A shout-out to our "12th man"

For the record: no, I'm not an Aggie.

I just think any audience we have should know that there's one person whose picture and blog do not appear on the Chronicle website, because she wasn't chosen to be part of the "club". And yet, I think she has played a wacky and valuable role in helping us be the group that we are, and made me, at least, feel special.

I will here-to-fore, affectionately, refer to our 12th, as "Monkey" (which might make more sense in a minute.)

Monkey submitted an application to be part of the Club Chronicle Team Zen Challenge, like the rest of us. For whatever reasons, Monkey, and others who were not chosen, weren't notified before our first practice that they wouldn't be part of the Chronicle contest.

Monkey showed up for the first training session, and she was pissed. Or at least, she had feelings enough to vent about it in another blog, in which she refered to our Chronicle contact as having "monkey balls" [enough to notify winners without letting all contestants know the results].

Lucky for us, our Chronicle contact has an incredible sense of humor, so she related this to our team with what seemed almost like pride. So we, of course, couldn't help but search out the blog of the seemingly bitter woman who coined the funniest phrase since "kitten fisting" (that one's locally-coined, people - check it out if you haven't heard about it -- the phrase, i mean, not the activity).

Anyway, Monkey also had the balls to make some sassy comments about a lot of us in her blog, which I think was our first exposure to what it could mean to put ourselves out to an internet public for judgment. And our group got a little sassafrass in return.

Monkey's response to our outcry, in a nutshell: feelings are meant to be had, and blogs are meant to express them. And then, she showed up to at least as many Team Zen meetings at Town Lake as most of us, which reminded me that the blog, the contest and the Club in general, were pretty secondary to the reason we each wanted to be part of this -- to do something good for ourselves.

So thank you, Monkey, for setting a stage that made Club Chronicle feel fancy, if only by making it seem like something worthy of being upset about not being part of. Thank you, especially, for reading our blogs and regularly taking the time to post encouraging comments about our stories. And thank you mostly, for continuing to train after your part of the contest was over -- an example to all of us, moving forward.

Yours are gorilla-sized, Monkey! And I hope mine are at least half as solid, to allow me to continue a commitment to training after our part of the contest is "over".

In the process of our challenge, I have actually lost some weight, or at least found, like a lot of us, that my clothes fit differently.
I'm still a smoker -- I'm smoking right now -- but that will change someday.
I think I've known since day-one that, push come to shove, I can run three miles (if a grizzly, scary monster were chasing me, I wouldn't stop -- I just imagine that, and figure the fitness and pleasure aspects will creep in later).
Mostly, I've enjoyed just showing up, especially because there's a group of individuals brave enough to bring their own shit to the table to meet me. Most of us probably didn't reach our ultimate goals during this challenge. But every week, we've kept those goals in mind, and nearly every week, we've showed up to face them. At least we're paddling *up*river on d'Nile, and that's commendable progress, in my book.

I'm looking forward to Saturday, when all 12 of us will be there, to let the lights shine on whatever commitments we've each made, and the huevos it's taken to acknowledge them on a semi-regular basis.

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