When I was finished with Virginia it was time for North Carolina. Luckily for me, the friend connection streak could continue as I knew a few people living in North Carolina. A buddy I had been in touch with said I could stay with him the whole time which simplified the arrangements for me. I had met him while he was visiting Fresno State to decide if he wanted to go to graduate school there. He ended up choosing Fresno and through my roommate we became friends.
While it was cool to see him, it wasn’t just North Carolina that he came through for me. As he lived in the southern part of North Carolina, I was able to use his place as a “home base”, he even gave me a spare key while I was in North Carolina so that I could come and go as I pleased while there, but also for the time it took for me to meet owners in South Carolina as well! One may think that a home base for two states is a lot, and they would be right! My friend helped me out a lot with covering North and South Carolina, but ALSO he put me in touch with his parents in Iowa AND allowed me to crash with him in a hotel in Michigan while he happened to be there for work! 1 person, 4 states! As it did then, I am now taking a moment to appreciate my good fortune of knowing such a wonderful person.
An added bonus was that he worked at UNC Pembroke, as a coach and teacher. He asked me if I’d speak to his Kinesiology students and I happily accepted. I’ve had the privilege of speaking to students at other Universities, so it wasn’t something completely crazy. It went well as I shared some lessons learned and handled some questions. It’s always a joy having the opportunity to share and help others grow. Feel free to check out RAWR Nonprofit for some more info on some speaking I’ve done, along with some other great resources.
Getting back to the story, I ended up spending a decent amount of time around Fayetteville as it was rather close to my buddy yet had more establishments than Pembroke. In order to find a brewery, I popped into Bright Light Brewing Co and was able to meet with the owner. He was really laid back and fit well with the craft beer culture. He told me there are times that require you to grind through, but it is fun serving beer to people that are happy to have it. During the chat, he said the owner of Dirt Bag Ales was a great resource and he was willing to call him on my behalf so I could meet with him that night. Moments like this make things go smoother as I don’t have to try my luck at numerous places, and friends of good people are generally, good people.
I had some time to kill before the owner of Dirt Bag Ales was ready, and I had hunger growing. I knew I wouldn’t be in till around 10pm at my buddy’s place so I told him to not worry about me with dinner. I needed something though and came across Fuller’s BBQ which had some southern food and BBQ. This was a no-brainer as it was generous of an anonymous donor to the Gift N Brews page my buddy set up for me. He wanted me to have a better grubbing experience, but due to funding, it was tough. Setting this up was a way for people to fund some meals for me which was awesome in enhancing the experience and I really tried to make it fun for the donor to see my excitement and to connect with them over the experience.
At the buffet, it had tons of good food and rather embarrassingly, some things I simply was not familiar with. I like to think I’m cultured regarding food, having been to a decent number of places, watched some food network as my mom had it on and so forth. There was one dish that I thought was country style applesauce. I took a bite and holy cow it was NOT applesauce. It was gross! I found out later it was rutabaga. Not a fan. There was also some small hand size fish that was completely deep fried. I didn’t really know how to eat it. There was so little meat, it was so tedious to pick the meat off the fish. I wondered if I was supposed to eat it differently yet had already lost some of my adventurous drive from the rutabaga incident, and I was alone without the encouragement to ask. I over thought the situation. That all being said, I still ate 4 plates and got my fill.
I then headed to Dirt Bag Ales where the owner was helping his kids with their homework as it is a family establishment. He was kind enough to treat me to a beer as I waited a bit, then I had his attention. He said he enjoyed the creativity that came with making beer and liked to experiment.
It was then a late night arrival before I’d start my next day. I was able to rely on connections of friends for the gym owners. My buddy who’s been helping posting the blogs put me in touch with CrossFit Dilworth where they focus on coaching from a visual, auditory, and kinesthetic perspective to truly connect with their members.
Another friend from when I used to teach performance enhancement skills (Sport Psychology) to the military, put me in touch with Evolution Athletics. Rather fitting is the blend of physiology and psychology that Evolution Athletics uses in their training. As I listened more, it was clear the concept at Evolution Athletics was more than basic programming, rather an encompassing experience.
All in all, North Carolina went fairly smoothly, and I could keep that home base while moving on to South Carolina which will be covered in the next blog! Cheers!