Bread and Circuses

“Bread and Circuses” are what the Roman poet Juvenal used to describe the gladiatorial games of ancient Rome. In a political context, it was generating approval not by excellence in the performance of the leader’s civic accomplishments, but rather a mere diversion by satisfying our needs for a full belly and our desire to be entertained.

There is no doubt that this happens still to this day in our country, but perhaps whats worse is that we willfully do it to ourselves.

How many of you follow that sports team or that TV show (even worse so reality TV) and react in a visceral and emotional response to what you see on your screen?

How often has your day, week, and sometimes an entire season of your life been ruined by the lack of success of a team you don’t even play on?

But why? Why do we allow ourselves to get this emotionally involved in someone else’s story?

It’s quite simple, really; It keeps us from admitting that we aren’t living ours.

Like the Romans, you see, we enthusiastically devour all the bread and circuses thrown our way. We dive deep into binge-watching, often hours at a time, the latest Netflix drama. Every Sunday, we give up our entire Sunday to watch every single game that comes on only to turn around and complain we don’t have enough time to chase our dreams.

And in doing so, we find ourselves in a very odd paradox; we willingly chose to fail.

“There is no Ark, because no one built one, even though everyone felt the storm.”- Jordan B. Peterson

We know all the things we must do.
The hard things, but the right things.

We know we should take the time to show love to our spouse.
We know we should take the time to play with our kids.
We know that we should work out.
We know that we should eat healthily.
We know we should chase our dreams.

Ah, but Stranger Things debuts next week, and you can watch the entire season in one gluttonous setting. Or, from pre-game to post-game, we can plant ourselves on our couch every Sunday, lifting a finger only to move the beercan to our mouth and getting up when our bladder compels us too.

Instead of taking part in our lives-our victories and our defeats, we find the couch and cheer on others who do not cheer for us. And when the lights go down and the crowds go home, we are left alone to face this truth. No one is here for us because we couldn’t bother to show up for ourselves.

Connecting the dots.

“You cannot see how the dots connect looking forward. You can only see how they connect when you look back.” – Steve Jobs

When we started Platoon 22 our first event was going to be Rally in the Vally in 2015 in Cumberland. We had intentioned to hold a 2-day rally and had booked a sick lineup. We had never attempted to do something like this before, and as such, a lot of unexpected things came up along the way.

Our main act fell through three separate times, with three different bands. By the time the third act fell through, we had realized that we wouldn’t have enough time to promote it to make it a success. Still, to this day one, the hardest calls I ever made was to cancel that event after we’d told the world we were going to put it on.

But it was the right call.

We ended up holding two great Rally’s after that and looked to transition from simply an awareness effort to funding research into suicide. After further consideration of the associated price tag, the fact that similar research was being done, and that the application of said research would likely not be applied for years if ever, we realized that wasn’t the best path either.

The entire time we worked on these other endeavors the way forward slowly materialized on its own. Between me going and talking guns out vets hands at midnight, and Jennifer Farrar helping them navigate the VA by making proper connections, we realized what our mission would be — to bring all these services under one roof.

Everything I have ever been involved with has evolved from its first incarnation.

Soldierfit HQ started as a Bootcamp in a field; then it went to subleasing locations in gyms, then it went to large facilities, now moving forward it’s focused on smaller locations, concentrated only on Bootcamp, and working on launching an online training program in 2020.

Platoon began as awareness and has evolved to focus on transitional assistance and case management.
Both orgs have had setbacks and failures. I have had to eat crow on several occasions.

But that is the part of the journey. No one wants to hear a story about how it all went right off the bat. We want to listen to the story of trials and tribulations: heartache and tears. Then, finally, the glory of success.

If you are experiencing setbacks and failures, remember right now you’re writing the meat of your story.

When you are trying to do something amazing, don’t give in when it looks like all hope is lost. If you hold out just a little longer, I promise you the big win is right around the bend.


It’s not your kid’s fault.

There is no greater insult that you can bestow upon your children than blaming them for the unhappy outcome in your life. To look at your children and say, “I sacrificed my dreams because of you” is the biggest cop-out on Earth. It is also shitty parenting.


Nothing that they have done has kept you from doing anything at all. 

Kids are simply innocent byproducts of the choices that you have made. Which, again, is entirely up to you. You offering up the noble lie that you can’t do “x” because they exist is merely another example of your shirking responsibility. What makes it worse is you’re now placing it on the shoulders of those you are supposed to be responsible for.

You achieving dreams, just like you producing babies, all come down to the same thing. Choices you make. You chose to give up on your goals, and you decided to have sex. I am often at a loss when people claim to be shocked that someone in the sexual encounter ended up pregnant. After all, as far as mother nature is concerned, that was the intent. 


Even so, many ignore the actual purpose of sex and instead focus on the immediate gratification that it brings. Now, don’t get me wrong, I ain’t a prude, and I ain’t condemning you doing you. I am just saying don’t be shocked when you’re playing Russian roulette and the hammer falls on a loaded chamber.

More importantly, don’t blame the outcome of your game of chance, your children, for the dreams you “lost.” You didn’t lose ’em. You simply stopped looking for them in any meaningful way. Your kids didn’t make you quit. So put on your big boy pants and admit that it was all you.

You see, people will have a dream, and they assume that means it has to come true in the timetable they produced in their mind. If a kid impacts that, well, then the dream is dead.

 No, it’s not. You just quit before it came true.

Your dreams are totally up to you. It may mean getting up early and staying up late. It may mean spending no money on something you want so you can put it on that thing your dream needs. It may mean what you thought would take five years will take ten. But there is nothing about having a kid that says you have to give up on what you want to do. 

They aren’t mutually exclusive.

You can be a great parent and accomplish whatever you want too. 

Don’t say you quit for your kids. 

Don’t die on that noble lie.