As I was making my way back to section 37 during the workout today, I heard something incredibly simple, but also extremely important & powerful, and highly relevant to something besides the workout today.
We were running the “There and Back Again” workout–where you go out from the normal starting point and you work hard to get as far out “there” in the stadium as you can in half the workout time. The challenge is to get “back again” to your starting section in the second half of the workout–so essentially you need to pace the first half so you can maintain your speed for the second half. It’s a kickass workout and one that can be intense to push through, especially on the second half.
So I’m digging in deep to get to the top of a section and just as they make the turn to go down the crimson stairs, I hear this from one person to the person in front of her, “You got this!” … “and I got this!”
It mattered to them in that moment, because while we often can see the potential that others have–and it’s easy enough to confidently declare, “YOU got this!” we often don’t also give ourselves that same pep talk (on the stairs or in life).
And this, in it’s simplicity, is the truest essence of November Project. It all just started with two guys who were willing to look at each other and say, “You got this. And I got this.” And they changed their lives by just showing up for each other. Early in the morning. Consistently. To do hard workouts. To become better friends. And the result of that “project” for the month of November, became what is now changing people’s lives again and again in Boston (8 years later) and in 50 other cities around the world.
Bojan Mandaric (who has been leading the giant movement of NP from Boston while his counter part, Brogan Graham, has been living in San Diego and now Minneapolis) stepped down from leading the workouts and guiding the Boston NP community forward back in 2014–when he handed over the keys to the car to me and Deniz and Evan, and then the Chrisses (Capozzi and Payne) took over for Deniz and Evan, and now Capozzi and I continue to do what Bojan and BG started, with as much love, passion, hype, creativity, fun, weirdness, kindness, and just plain old good humanness as we can, for the rest of this community. But Bojan has never, ever stopped being a leader, a friend, a supporter, a comedian, the greatest peanut gallery a crowd ever had, a mentor, and a most-reliable shoulder to lean on or cry on, or both. He’s been the best back-of-the-crowd, quiet influencer, which has without a doubt made all of us as NP coleaders and our Boston community better.
And he’s not dying, nor is he moving that far away…but VT is not quite as close as Allston…so we will see him, but just not as often as we do. He’s continuing to play the exact same role in leading the giant movement of NP, what we lovingly call “NP Corporate,” but something is changing. And we want to recognize that change.
So Bojan, thank you for showing up that first day with BG. Thank you for the hundreds and hundreds of early mornings, weatherproof days, and crazy adventures. Thank you for reminding us we’re doing a good job, for seeing and understanding the behind the scenes effort and thanking us for that, AND for never letting us forget that our shit still stinks too–because sometimes we talk too long or forget to tell people to not get run over by cars, and sometimes we just do dumb things. But I’m 1000% certain that the reason I believe we can do this day after day and week after week, year after year, is because we’ve never been in this alone. You’ve always been there and not only would none of us be here, like this, without you (and BG too, but mostly you), we just couldn’t keep doing this without you. You got this. We got this.
P.S. One of my favorite moments is after a really good Wed morning, post-workout linger in the stadium and the last of us finally walk downstairs to grab bikes and leave the stadium. Inevitably, as everyone gives out final farwells and we hear different voices call out “byeeee,” Bojan pipes in with a perfect vocal impression of the narwhal from the movie Elf, “Bye Buddy, hope you find your dad!” I can’t hear it or say it without thinking about Bojan now. So I find it only fitting to end this blog like this:
BYE BOJAN. HOPE YOU LIKE VERMONT!
next wednesday 7/31 is THE LAST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH. 5:30 and 6:30am. Get ready for:
- PR day: race yourself for your personal fastest time completing a full tour (37 sections) or for your farthest distance (most sections) completed in the workout time.
- Grassroots Gear tagging: bring a dry shirt to let the #paintcrew tag a fresh, crisp NOVEMBER PROJECT across the chest. We only use black paint so please bring colors of shirts on which that will show up! Bright/colored/white shirts tag best.