Friday, June 19, 2009


The Recruits


Doris D. Meneses

The recruits at the YMCA Boot Camp come in all ages, sizes and from all walks of life. There are recruits in their teens and I am the old lady at 54 in our Boot Camp. There are members of all ethnicities that create quite a “melting pot.” Even with all these diversities, the recruits have bonded together and with me in ways that I would never have imagined. They are truly caring individuals who have shown me love, care and concern. They are aiding me emotionally, physically and socially along this journey.

Michelle and Rachel Santi are sisters in their 20’s. I knew their parents prior to Boot Camp but really did not know the girls. From the start, these girls have made me feel so comfortable. They keep me in stitches! Their parents should be very proud of these two as they have taken this old lady under their wings and have such a genuine goodness in them. They warn me when I am doing something wrong so that I don’t get in trouble. I threaten Michelle for being late or wearing a watch as I do not want to do extra push ups. I look forward to seeing them at camp as I know I will have a good laugh. I truly feel they care about me.

Barbie Huber, Esther Birchall and Kimberly McDaniel Gonzalez are young ladies I met at the Boot Camp and bonded with immediately. They are always there for me. Although they are much younger than me, we have body struggles in common. We applaud each other’s accomplishments. They are there for me and I consider all three girls as my friends.

Miguel Quinones is one of the few young men in Boot Camp. He is lovingly called “Cheesecake” for his visits to the Cheesecake Factory. During our Boot Camp, Miguel continually encourages me and often comes back and runs with me when he finishes his runs as I am usually bringing up the rear. Miguel’s beautiful wife and children come by and encourage and support me as well.

John Maas is my boss and, believe it or not, a good friend. John would not attend the first 10 week session of Boot Camp with me and he kept chiding me and telling me it couldn’t be that bad and he could do it because, after all, he referees soccer games. After seeing my success, John decided to give it a shot and his wife, Michele, and children Nicolas and Krystine have also joined. After the first session, John told me he had a new found respect for me and he couldn’t believe that I was participating in the Camp. It is tough. It helps to do this experience with someone you know and John and his family are great supporters.

Sally Garza is a young single girl who worked with me for a short time and is also my neighbor out in the boonies. I really did not know Sally that well but have come to know her more through the Boot Camp. Sally is one of my main cheerleaders. When I mumble that I can’t do something, Sally is there telling me, “Yes you can Doris. You can do it. Come on. Give it a try.” She makes me want to try.

Angela Compton is a young mom with two children who is married to a really nice guy. I never met Angela before but I just don’t know what I would do without her. Angela has kept me going from day one. She pushes me and yells at me to hang in there when things are tough. If she sees me slacking, she pushes me just a little further. On top of it all, she tells me “Doris, you are awesome!” or “Doris. You Rock!” and I know that her words come truly from her heart. She tells me I am an inspiration and that she constantly tells her mom about how “awesome” I am. Me? Awesome? I’ve never been awesome at anything!

These are just a few of the recruits. I don’t know all their names but they are all so supportive of the obese old lady. Boot Camp is a team effort. Everyone pitches in and it is not over until the last person is finished. Sometimes the exercises or runs are so hard that I just don’t think I can move another step or life another weight. Then I hear the sound of the other recruits cheering from a distance, “Doris. Doris. Doris!” Their voices join to encourage me to run out the last leg of the run or finish the final repetition of an exercise. My best friend, Marcie, who encouraged me to sign up for this was visiting my session one day and asked, “Why are they cheering for you?” I don’t really have an answer for that question. I don’t know who started it or why. I often wonder why these youngsters all care to take their time and effort to help me. I wondered at first if they felt sorry for me being so old and obese. I don’t believe that anymore. Why do they care? I don’t know but I thank God every day that they do. I truly could not continue this journey without them. My words cannot convey how much they mean to me and I hope somehow, I have gotten through to them that I could not do this without them.

The recruits are all different but somehow, they all seem to have more faith in me than I have in myself. The recruits are a major part in helping me to break out of the body in which I am entombed. They are teaching me that I deserve to keep fighting to get out!

I am a recruit in the YMCA Boot Camp and the other recruits care about me and maybe…just maybe….I deserve to be there?

Please look for the next article in this series to follow shortly.

No comments: