King of the Hill

This post has been rated E for “everyone”. There are no obscene pictures, words, or acronyms

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QIC:  Mansiere

Date: 11/9/2021

PAX: Cavity Search, John Doe, Hillshire, MIA, AOL, Burrito, Mandela, Rollback, Blackout, Jaws, Fire Bunny, Face Plant, Bonsai, Toe Tag, Picabo, Pit Bike

AO: Parliament in Ooltewah. Now, some smarta-, uh, um, smartypants among you might say “Don’t you mean Ooltedale, Mansiere?” To which my reply is “Of course not, silly.” “But, but, weren’t you the one who said Ooltewah and Collegedale are the same?”  Yes, but you should already know that much like the capital of Djibouti is Djibouti, not all of Djibouti the country is Djibouti the city. So it is with Ooltewah. All of Collegedale is Ooltewah. Not all of Ooltewah is Collegedale.


Right at freezing, with almost no humidity. Chilly by lowland standards, rather balmy for the burly Mountain Men in attendance.


I swung into the parking lot one minute before the start. I jumped out and we were up and going with some heart-rate boosting warmups with stretches interspersed.

The Thang

Back in the mists of time, there was a “Zombie 5K” in downtown Nashville. It looked really appealing at the time, but Spitney Beers was deep in the rec league playoffs, and no excuse would suffice for the absence of their notoriously ill-tempered attacking defender. It was with deep regret that I missed the occasion, even after word on the street told of its complete failure. Apparently they didn’t shut down any streets, almost no one wore costumes, and the race was so poorly planned that everyone was caught within the first mile and no one knew what to do after that.

Nevertheless, the idea stuck with me for years. How fun would it be to do something like that? And so I cooked up a version to do at Convoy run day. It seemed like everyone had fun, and I thought that was the end of it. Not so! It happened at Parliament a few months later. I was flattered; when the invitation came to Q a Run Day at Parliament, I knew it called for something special. Thus, a new game idea was born.

King of the Hill

Named in honor of Signal Mountain’s favorite PAX, this game starts with everyone in an area off the track, but close to it. In this case, I chose what appeared to be the high school’s overflow lot (pink circle in the picture). I put down three sets of cones. Everyone starts at the third set. Each PAX finds a partner with whom to play Paper, Rock, Scissors. The winner moves to the next set, the loser stays behind and finds another partner. If a PAX is alone in a row of cones, they must complete 25 LBCs to proceed to the next set of cones. After passing the final set of cones, the PAX enter the track on Lane 8. Lane 8 is the “safe zone”, denoted by the green line in the picture. At the end of the straightaway, PAX must enter Lane 1, at which point they must stay there until tagged.

The purpose of the game is to pass the cone placed in the final 100 meters of the track (orange dot in the picture) as many times as possible. If a PAX is tagged from behind, they are OUT and have to proceed back to the starting area. A PAX can only tag another PAX from behind, and a PAX must not exit Lane 1 until he is tagged. Tagging another PAX earns a point, as does passing the cone while in Lane 1. The object is to earn as many points as possible.


I passed around my Zimbabwe $100 trillion note, and clumsily explained how no one should believe the media downplaying the forthcoming inflation. It’s important to prepare for it as best as one can, and to understand that at the end of the day it’s effectively a tax, and scarcely different as money disappearing from your bank account. Burrito salvaged my message and saved further spaghetti-spilling embarrassment.


The men of Parliament are strictly business, and very fast to boot. They caught on quick and pretty soon there were shouts of triumph and disappointment from all over the track. The more people this game has, the wilder it gets, and this was a great introductory test of the rules. Burrito, always a faithful assistant to the Q, was there and played his role impeccably from start to finish.

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    Redeem the Theme (Gotta Go Fast)

    QIC:  Mansiere

    Date: 02/01/2022

    PAX: Pediasure, Zima, Truck Stop, Gusher, Whittler, Recycle, Friday, Blow Pop, Manscaper, Warlord, Prosciutto, Yellow 5, 8-Mile, Squirt, Natty Lite, Jorts, Old School (RESPECT), Shank, Pomade

    AO: Smackdown – The Summit of F3 Chattanooga


    The first day of February. After a brutal January, spring still feels so far away. Nevertheless, the mid-30s temperature and dry ground was more than welcome, and we took full advantage of it.


    What a turnout! We made our big ellipse in the field, and the cones strewn haphazardly about got some curious looks. No time to dawdle, though. Let’s get to it!

    • Imperial Squats
    • Windmills
    • Overhead Claps
    • Raise-the-Roof
    • Cherry Pickers
    • Seal Claps
    • Crop Dusters (h/t Squirt for the idea, which he debuted at his VQ the day before)
    • 10 Octanes
    • Mosey lap while I explained…

    …The Thang

    You can count on Prosciutto for two things:

    1. Complain if he doesn’t like the workout
    2. Complain about said workout for at least a year following

    Pro has been on Burrito nearly every posting since that day last February, fussing about the “themed workout” that he led. YHC thinks the workout was fantastic and worthy of Chattanooga’s premier AO. I say this even though it started with a running challenge that wrecked my lungs for the next several days. Not so with Pro. His bitterness knows no end. Pro clearly needed to move on. And here we are.

    But, Sonic the Hedgehog you say? Well, it wasn’t so long ago that Mr. “No Themed Workouts” himself was half of a Mario & Luigi theme. I should add that it was a very good one. So why not? Besides, we all know that Sonic is better. Can the plumbers do this?

    Italy BTFO

    Thought not. Tempted to drop a “QED” here and call it, but there’s so much more.

    It wouldn’t be a proper Mansiere workout without a touch of a goofy game. As I explained during the mosey, PAX would “spin up” with an exercise on our six, with the Q calling the cadence. Then everyone will get up and do one more until the Q says “Jailbreak!”. PAX sprint to the opposite goal line, grabbing “rings” (cones) along the way. If the first person to reach the other side can complete five Big Boy Sit-ups before the last person makes it across, then everyone has to do twenty penalty burpees. Recycle found a loophole for this (see Moleskin).

    If everyone makes it across in time, then the person who finishes last gives their cones to the first-place finisher. The person with the most cones decides the workout. PAX complete the workout and mosey back to the starting point, tossing their cones out as they return. Repeat.

    For the final few minutes, we did a ladder on the bleachers and I debuted a NEW exercise: the Horizontal Toe Merkin. To do this, get into a low plank position. Then use your toes to push your body forward while keeping your back flat. Return to the starting position to complete the rep.

    • 10 tricep presses at the bottom
    • 20 decline merkins
    • 30 horizontal toe merkins
    • 40 normal toe merkins
    • 50 squats at the top


    People who think they’re too big for the small things (like penalty burpees) are usually too small for the big things. So much of success comes from good habits and not taking shortcuts. It works at the level of the individual, up to societies and countries.


    Recycle decided that we were not going to do burpees and took it upon himself to pin down whomever reached the opposite goal line first to prevent the penalty. This of course ruined the intent of the rule, which was to keep everyone moving quickly and add some tension as people desperately tried to grab as many cones as possible without costing everyone else. But hilarity trumps everything else, and so it was grudgingly tolerated. Well played, sir!

    Zima activated his healing powers and miraculously appeared in the gloom after having back issues. My deep concern and even a hint of dread were unwarranted as he returned to form without so much as a hiccup. And speaking of healing powers and big returns, Manscaper was back after his surprise return to the gloom on the 31st. Welcome back to both!



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      Spin Cycle

      QIC:  Mansiere

      Date: 01/26/2022

      PAX: Friday, Pediasure, Gusher, Squirt, Prosciutto, Jorts, Yellow 5, Burrito (RESPECT), Recycle, Hambone

      AO: Convoy


      Frigid, even by the standards of a brutally cold January. The breeze was piercing, especially up on the track where one is exposed from all sides. Definitely not a day to start slow!


      I tried to start us off quickly with some high-intensity exercises. The sometimes helpful, always vocal Burrito was anxious to get to the game, and understandably so. However, the nature of the game dictated an intense warmup. Side-straddle hops were on the menu, as were Marine Corps pushups and some LBCs to get us down and out of the wind. We did a long run around the high school to get our lungs ready as well. On the climb up the Apex, I went over the rules. Now, explaining even something as simple as a track game to this crew is like explaining multivariable calculus to a first grader. Try doing it while Bernie’ing uphill with lips numbed by the 25-degree weather. Yikes!

      The Thang

      There are two teams in the game. The teams start at opposite ends of the track. Their starting points are their respective “zones.” Team 1 stays on one half of the track, and Team 2 stays on the opposite half. The stated goal of the game is to get all of the cones from the other team’s zone into your zone. The real goal of the game is to stay warm and get a good run day workout in. Each runner can only carry one cone at a time. A runner can hand his cone to a runner without a cone. If a runner does 40 Big-Boy Sit-ups in his starting zone, he may bring two cones back to his starting zone one time. If a runner sees that there are no cones remaining in the other team’s zone, that runner should hold low plank until more cones are dropped off. If a team has no cones in the other team’s zone, and no one the team is carrying cones, then that team WINS. The prize is a FREE personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut*.

      *At participating locations. Dine-in only**

      ** No locations are participating at this time


      I read an excerpt from the memoirs of a 20th-century Romanian, who talked about how the joys of comradeship through shared struggle are grander than any material things. I would give up or forego many things before I would give up the opportunity to be out there in the mornings with this fine group of men.


      No one loves overthinking things more than Burrito, and my bonus goal of driving him crazy with strategizing worked a charm. While the other team was walking to their zone, he immediately started making plans. His strategy consisted mainly of handing off cones. Meanwhile, Team 2 quickly figured out that there was an advantage in the two-cone provision, and started the game off with Big Boys. In the end, neither team won (though Team 2 was clearly winning), and both teams got in a great run day while staying warm.

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        QIC:  Mansiere

        Date: 03/11/2021

        PAX: Hambone, Recycle, Burrito, Pediasure, Prosciutto, A-A-Ron, Zima, Jorts, Red Raider, Gusher, Pound Dog, Friday, Truck Stop, Pomade, Whittler, Joanna, Snow Patrol

        AO: Smackdown


        A refreshing and dry 55 degrees

        Here in March I’m four months out from my day as the FNG and now taking my fourth turn as Q. I can still remember the new things and the surprises from those first few weeks. There’s the soreness, the fifteen variations on the burpee, and the realization of how much more I was capable of doing in my fitness life. Nothing, however, compares to the shock from one of those days in the gloom when I heard one of my fellow men, the inimitable Burrito, acknowledging–nay, praising!–the idea of “Rocky 4”. I won’t dignify such an obscene notion with Roman numerals. There are films, there are movies, there are cynical cash-ins, there is lowest-common-denominator schlock, there are Alan Smithee failures, and then there are things 👏 that 👏 never 👏 happened 👏.

        There are many arguments for Rocky 4 belonging in that final, damnable category. Take for instance the dance entrance of Apollo Creed which, if you truly must watch it, should be done between narrow slits of your fingers. You could watch the real Rocky movies (that would be one through three, smartass), and see every good part of this pretender. I’ll spare you the screed about consistency of tone. For those of you still holding on, I present the following. Watch it as long as you can. When you finally collapse, as if you just did one hundred dive bombers after having done one hundred shoulder presses only moments before, tell me then that Rocky 4 happened.

        A very serious movie about a death in the ring and a proxy clash between nuclear superpowers

        Appropriately, Burrito and I almost came to blows over this on multiple occasions. Sometimes our anger dissipated into a footrace. Other times better men had to come between us. One morning, while driving (slowly, of course) in the gloom, I was thinking about that robot, the sheer chutzpah of it! My blood was running hot. Suddenly I heard the unmistakeable hamster-in-a-cheap-blender squeal of Burrito’s brakes. I looked in my rearview, saw his grinning mug there, and decided the time was nigh to settle the issue. I got out and in the dramatic headlit fog held up a defiant three fingers.

        Burrito is a lot of things, but I always thought he was the kind of man who would settle issues properly. I was thus surprised when he jammed the accelerator, but fortunately that shock was not ultimately fatal as I was able to roll across the back of my car with but a nanosecond to spare. As I watched him vanish into the darkness on Taft highway, I was ashamed at having been taken off-guard. Truly, a man who acknowledges anything past Rocky III is capable of any level of depravity.

        “This can’t go on” I muttered. And so here we are:


        SSH IC x20

        Right-over-left OYO, then switch


        Ahead of today’s workout, Mr. T was asked which man would prevail in our long-running feud. While he maintained a position of neutrali-T, he did offer a prediction: pain

        The Thang


        In Rocky, our eponymous hero climbs 72 steps at the end of his training run. When Sylvester Stallone wrote the script in three days, he had $106 in his bank account. 72 box jumps, 106 shoulder presses

        Rocky II

        We did some laps around the track, pausing for some themed exercises while I shared trivia from the trilogy. Burrito’s impudence incurred a group penalty of ten burpees. His incompetence on those incurred another ten-burpee penalty.

        Rocky III

        In Rocky III, Rocky trains for the rematch with Clubber Lang in the mountains of Siberia (citation needed). We recreated the famous log carry through the snow scene, substituting a rifle carry and John McCains.

        We then went around to the backside of the bleachers. Rocky is 34 years old in Rocky III. 200 mountain climbers and 34 pull ups (sub burpees if necessary)

        Rocky…wait a minute

        We did wall sits and “Clubber Langs” while waiting on each PAX in turn to do five Bobby Hurleys.


        Pretzel 15x each side IC

        Gravediggers 10x each side IC

        Rocky III (later revised to Rocky 4 [see moleskin]) 15x IC

        20 BBS

        20 SSH IC

        With the training montage out of the way it was time for the showdown. Burrito calmly stood his ground, That’s when I realized something: Rocky 4 is important to Burrito. It’s important to some of the other men, too. It has its place in the canon and was monumental for its time. It’s an eighties movie and thereby warrants special considerations. I’m fighting a selfish, lost-cause crusade against a flawed but endearing icon. Did Rocky 4 end the Cold War? Well….

        So it was I, the righteous denier, the man of irrefutable arguments, who was finally to agree that Rocky 4 did indeed happen. Actually, it had some moments that weren’t even that bad. Under no circumstances, however, does it warrant roman numerals. I don’t hate the man who thinks otherwise, but I pity the fool. What’s more, Burrito and I found further common ground, as did every man in that circle:

        Rocky 5 never happened.


        Some PAX refused to do the penalty burpees in protest. An F3 first in my experience.

        When asked how many Rocky movies there were, Burrito said “five”. He is also a Rocky denier, but which one is he omitting? 🤔


        Pray for Night Sweats and his family.

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