Friday Jams: War

Two weeks ago, we skipped the May Games down in Chatham, Illinois and took off for Elkhart, Indiana for a WW2 reenactment with the Oz man as a belated 15th birthday prize. I have to admit, I was possibly just as excited as Oz (but probably not.) This is what he has wanted to do since he was a kid (yes, I know he’s a kid, try telling a 15  year old that. Good luck.)

Craig Morehead, who we had met once throwing a year and a half ago, along with his brand new wife, Kristin has been busy since those Bonfire Games rebuilding a Sherman Tank. Yes, a tank. Ya know, when Oz was 8 or 9, he stated that he wanted to have a tank in his front yard when he grows up. I thought it was inconceivable, now? Totally gonna happen. Anyways, back to Craig. I had asked him about it and how things work and he says, Bring Oz down, he’ll love it. We’ll get him on the tank, it’ll be a blast.

Uhhhhhh, OKAY!! I really don’t know if I’ve ever seen Oz so excited in life as when we were pulling up to the field on Friday afternoon. A Tiger tank had been built up on a frame of another T-34 (I think I’m getting this right, don’t judge me) and that’s pretty much the shit for Oz. There was also a Stug iii (again, I think) and Oz even got a ride on it. Cloud 9 folks, and this was Friday.

After touching down with Craig and Kristin, we headed about 20 minutes away to our hotel for some dinner and a much needed good nights sleep. We arrived to the field Saturday morning in total “wing it” mode. Craig was so incredibly busy that I’d just tell Oz, “Go and see if he needs help, if not, ask someone else if they need help.” And he did. All day. I’m so proud of Oscar and how helpful he was and even after being told that he couldn’t take part of the battle due to his uniform not being completely strict (reenactor’s take this seriously, as does Oz) which actually we had known ahead of time, he just soaked in being there. My favorite moment of the day? The afternoon battle (the German’s had won the morning battle, foking krauts) where we sat on the other side to cheer on the American’s when Craig and his tank crew barreled down the field and I noticed this:

Best Oz pic

That’s Oz on top of the tank. As tough as I am on crying mom’s, I have to admit, I teared up. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have very many childhood dreams come true as a child. It was actually kind of crappy childhood. But Oz? Thanks to a rogue tank crew…I knew he was out there living his dream and even now writing this, feel so amazingly thankful to Craig and Kristin for making this happen.

The entire day from start to finish was more amazing than we ever could have imagined. In fact, I’ve considered pulling out of Master’s World Championships in September so I can take Oz to Rockford, Illinois where one of the largest reenactments in the country will be taking place. It’s like Elkhart on steroids and I want to go as much as him (but probably not AS much.) I’m on the fence and probably won’t pull out of the Championships but in 2016 if it’s on the same weekend as the Rockford reenactment, I’m passing. I had so much fun and am in absolute awe of all of the gear and equipment and even a USO show with three lovely ladies with singing that rivals the Andrew Sisters.

Cute Ladies

We made some connections with a member of the 2nd Panzer Division because truth be told, Oz wants to fight with the Germans. Ya know, Tiger Tank. His favorite. So now he knows what needs to happen next year when he’s 16 and can apply to join their organization. So cool.

If only for a day, in as controlled setting as possible with tanks; foot soldiers; war planes, and an amazing display of pyrotechnics we can have a small understanding of what everyday was for our greatest generation then I say yes. Very much so, yes.

It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced.

Tom Brokaw

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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