“Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.”
― James Cook

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Uncommon Effort = Uncommon Results

It was the fall of 1984, Saturday night in Charleston, South Carolina.
I had just finished a grueling baseball practice.
No workouts the next day,
so I wanted to go out on the town and blow off some steam.

I got showered and dressed in the required Citadel “out on the town” uniform.

Gray polyester slacks,
light blue Oxford button down shirt,
navy blue blazer and Citadel tie.

I was looking….well…as good as I could.

My friend Greg Styles joined me for the evening.
We were dressed exactly alike.

We hopped into my car–it was a beauty. A school bus yellow Volkswagen Bug
with the words “Super Beetle” stenciled on the side. It could go from 0-60…….
eventually. It was a veritable chick magnet.

We parked and walked up Market Street to the hot spot of the time,
a dance club called “Spanky’s”.

I’ll give you a minute to stop laughing.

My buddy Greg had grown up in this town,
so he knew some of the local girls from The College of Charleston.
As he mingled, I noticed him talking to one particularly attractive coed
who made eye contact with me.

When he returned to my location I said,
“Greg, who was that dark haired girl you were talking too?”

He replied, “We used to go to school together.
Come on over there and I’ll introduce you.”

He did just that.

When our eyes met I was defenseless. We talked and laughed all night
and slow danced to a Lionel Richie song.

This girl was awesome!

But about 30 minutes before midnight, my Cinderella evening came to a screeching halt.

You see, Citadel cadets have a curfew. At midnight they lock the gates and do a bed check.
If you are late or absent there are significant penalties.

But this girl was Awesome!

I had to get out to see her.

I had to go AWOL!

With midnight rapidly approaching,
I wrote her address and phone number on a cocktail napkin
and told her I’d meet her at her apartment later that night.

She laughed because she knew all about the curfew.

As soon as the bed check was done, I activated my plan

For months I had noticed the chain and lock on one of the side gates was loose,
leaving lots of slack and just enough room for a guy my size to wiggle through.

If I ever needed to escape that would be my route. And tonight was the night.

This girl was awesome!

I dressed in camouflage BDU pants and my navy blue Citadel Baseball t-shirt.
I guess I thought she’d like me more if she knew I was on the baseball team
Come on now!
Tell me one ballplayer who hasn’t played that card at least once in his life!

I met Greg at the side gate
where we were shocked to find the chain had recently been tightened.

Plan A…foiled!

No worries.
It was common knowledge that the sophomores in the 3rd floor alcove room
had filed the bars off their windows.
you could tie sheets together and rappel down the wall to freedom.

We barged into the room.

“Guys, I met this great girl tonight and I gotta get out to see her.
Lets tie some sheets together!
I’m going rappelling!”

They responded “Dude! We got busted last week.
They welded the bars together.
We’re confined to campus the rest of the year.”


Last chance!

My roommate had guard duty at the front gate that night.
It was a bold move, but I’d just have to ask him to let me out!

I snuck up to the front gate as he was closing the lock for the night.
He was clearly surprised to see me.

“Fitz, I said. You’ve got to let me out tonight…I met this girl and I gotta go see her.”

“Sully” he replied,
“You know if I let you out I risk getting kicked out of school for an honor violation.”

“But Fitz!

This girl is awesome!”

He gave me a look like your dad gives you when you’ve disappointed him.

He just turned and collected his folder and clipboard off a card table by the gate,
retreated to the guard shack and turned off the light.

My heart sank. I had let down this amazing girl.
She was bound to think I had never even tried.

I turned to Greg, saddened and ready to give up.
He looked over my shoulder and his eyes lit up.

“Sully, look!” I glanced back toward the gate, and there they were….
sitting right out in the open on the card table…
the guard keys!!

Attaboy Fitz!!!

We fumbled with the lock until it sprang open like a Victorian corset.

We sprinted across the campus, vaulted a concrete wall
and tore a path to the side street
where we had stashed the yellow Super Beetle.

Awesome Girl’s apartment was an old Charleston carriage house
nestled at the end on a long alley.
When we arrived, I jumped out of the driver’s seat,
composed myself, checked the address one last time,
walked up to the door, and knocked.

My heart was pounding, my breath was shallow and short.
I quickly rehearsed my opening line in my head…..and then….
nothing happened….

No answer.

I looked at my wingman, Greg.
He muttered simply “Dang. That sucks”

As we sat down on the stoop contemplating our next move,
we heard some rustling and footsteps coming down the lane.

Two figures emerged into the light. I quickly recognized it was Awesome Girl!
But she was walking with another dude!

“Ugh! This really isn’t going the way I planned!”

Turns out “other dude” was just a friendly neighbor student
walking with her to make sure she got home safely.

Awesome Girl greeted us in total disbelief, invited us in,
and cooked us the only food she had in the house.

Grilled cheese.
And green beans.

To me it tasted like prime rib and caviar.

We sat on her couch and watched Bonanza, and Greg fell asleep.

As the show ended, Awesome Girl excused herself briefly
and returned with a blanket and a pillow.

I fell asleep on the floor as she retired to her bedroom for the night.

We were married in November of 1987 on the greatest day of my life.
Twenty-five years and 3 wonderful boys later, my life couldn’t be better.

My point is:
Sometimes in life you have to step outside the boundaries of normalcy and take an educated risk.
You have to risk being uncommon to achieve your dreams.

At The ARMory, we thrive on being uncommon.
And our results are uncommon as well.

In the past two years we have seen 22 athletes eclipse the 90mph threshold.
Fifteen of our high school pitchers have received NCAA Division 1 baseball scholarships.

Are you ready to be uncommon?
Is it time for you leap the wall and abandon your tired old habits and training methods?

Join us at The ARMory and we’ll achieve uncommon greatness…together.

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