The following was intended to be delivered as a speech at our 10-year anniversary big bash. However, the party vibe in Bucketty’s was strong and we decided that even bootcamp instructors couldn’t shout loud enough to do justice to the quality content the speeches contained. 😉 So, here you have a slightly censored version (language warning still applies) to read from the relative silence of your own home instead!
OzSquad, my first baby. And you could say it was an accidental pregnancy…
If we roll back 10 years and 3 months, I was sitting at a desk in a corporate office, hating every minute and crying nightly to Euan, dreading about having to go back in the next day. I distinctly remember sitting on the ferry commuting to the city, watching the guys who throw the ropes over the bollards when it docks thinking “I wish I had that job, no stress, suits or corporate d*ckheads involved.”
Lucky for you, Euan got tired of the constant tears and agreed that I could quit – and thankfully we came up with a better idea than chucking ferry ropes around!
Given that I like being outdoors, being active, building communities and bossing people around, a PT qualification seemed like an ok place to start my venture into the unknown. I went to PT school and whilst studying for my Certificate III and IV in Fitness, I started training my mates for free every Tuesday and Thursday morning at various spots around Manly. (If you have ever wondered why our Tuesday and Thursday run sessions are called ‘OzSquad Original’, there you have it).
Before I knew it, in fact at the second ever session, my mates brought along some other mates who told some other mates and OzSquad was born prematurely before I was actually properly qualified (shhh!). When the certificates were ticked off, thankfully all my guinea pigs converted to paying OG members and for that I will be forever grateful!
The newborn stage of OzSquad was fun – I was finding out what worked, what didn’t work, with zero pressure, working out what/how much I could make (I mean encourage) you lot to do. Turns out quite a lot! Mirroring real life, sh*t got real in the toddler years – it felt like I had to prove that I could make this bootcamp thing pay the rent after the 12 months of playing at it.
Under a bit more pressure, OzSquad quickly grew up and evolved, we got the beachfront license spot (thank god, I’ve only just about got the stench of Kierle park out of my lululemons), real clients from google found us and boxing, Shred Wed and strength sessions were added into the timetable. Lynsay joined us – we can’t actually remember exactly when but maybe 7, 8 years ago. Then, 5 and a bit years ago, I had to let go of my controlling side when my actual babies came along and my OzSquad reins were fully lengthened when I finally got some admin/social media help a couple of years ago. Yes Euan, this one time only you were right – I should have employed someone behind the scenes years ago. It only took 9 years, but now with Kate and Lara added to the mix, and Simone keeping the social media on track, the team is awesome, reliable and stress free – thank you guys.
I’m trying to work out whether it feels like 10 months, 10 years or 100 years since we started. Time is so weird. Here’s to the next 10, whatever it throws at us all (hopefully some sunshine??). No fads, no gimmicks, just OzSquad being the best part of someone’s day – making the work day not just about work, making the most of the slice of paradise that we live in, exercising to feel better, whilst maybe making a mate or two along the way.
To reminisce more, I tried to think of some clever ’10 best/10 favourite/10 funniest list’ but instead I have a ’10 things I’d like to talk about’ list. Hopefully Simone can think of a catchier title for this to go on the blog with:
10 OzSquad ‘things’ for 10 years…
- The number one spot needs to go to our Lynsay and her Lynsay-isms. OzSquad just wouldn’t be OzSquad without the shopping, TV and local gossip updates every morning as well as her saying something a bit stupid now and again.
For example…… most recently, ‘what’s a Decathlon anyway?’ and my all-time favourites – Lyns thinking identical twins could be one boy and one girl, letting everyone at a session go home thinking she eats Cheesy porridge for breakfast every day, when actually she eats chia seed porridge (just with a mackam accent), failing to be able to add anything up, trying to go to new York and ending up spending 4 nights on planes/in airports and 2 nights in NYC, frantically looking for her phone whilst talking to me on it, not knowing there was a copy/paste function and typing out long winded url’s instead, rocking an empty pram for the majority of a Buggy Bootcamp session…. Lyns, thank god I poached, I mean found you, you rock.
- One of my favourite socials of the year is the OzSquad Christmas do and awards – for me, it is probably the only part of the year where I stop and reflect. I say reflect, it usually just means calling Lyns and us both trying to remember what funny things happened that year.
In the early days though, the Christmas do did give rise to my annual proud moment as we went from a dinner for 12 (of my mates) at Little Manly in year 1, to dinner for 30 odd at artichoke the year after, to a mass sport fancy dress party at Hemingway’s after that. We’ve then continued with a gangster and moll party at Donny’s, the boat paaaartay (budget and weather pinnacle reached), Clontarf bbq and boat slide thing (rainy), trivia and lawn bowls (rainy), a Brewery crawl (can’t remember if it was rainy) and axe throwing (rainy).And I use it basically as an excuse to take the piss out of you lot and give awards for skiving, swearing, puking or doing something stupid – it’s fun.
- The UTA, an ultra-trail race in the Blue Mountains, holds a special place in my heart. Probably not from when I first ran the 50k with Matt and James in 2014 where I quite literally pushed Matt up every hill. He had stitch for 48 of the 50 km – unconfirmed if it was from the massive pre-race milky drink he’d never tried before, from being dehydrated from sleeping all night with the electric blanket on, or from having not eaten the day before as he was too busy at work. A random woman who crossed the finish line with us said ‘oh my god, are you still whinging’. Yep, this guy can moan for an entire 50km!
The following year I cracked the 100km – and still remember a whole heap of you with glow sticks at km 78 cheering me on – you know who you are, mainly because most of you took on the pain of the 50km the year after. Seeing 14 odd of you through that race remains a career highlight – even though it involved knowing that Blair sprayed his balls with olive oil to stop chafing AND then accidently witnessing him unpeel his boxers from his greasy nuts the next morning.
2019 saw Anna D lay her UTA demons to rest and Anna P ran it wearing her pack for the very first time, carrying everything but the kitchen sink in it and failing to have a pre-race poo. Tanya is about to get her 10th/11th (??) 100km UTA event under her belt – and there’s spots going on sale at the start of June for this year’s postponed event in October if anyone wants in on the fun. I’ll bring you the olive oil.
- Definitely not a favourite moment, but a necessary evil in the running of the business – bloody Council negotiations. Let’s just say I’m still scarred and this is the bit of the speech that I have censored for public consumption! We’re up to making 4 reports of that bloody flashing light and the pot hole right in the middle of our patch though. I bet they will still get in touch with me because old mate in his penthouse over the road thinks we’re too noisy (errr, have you heard those bloody birds at sunrise?) before they are fixed. FML.
- I love a good team sport, having recently re-discovered netball and introduced myself to soccer. Speed at both good, skill level, bad. If only we’d been better at touch rugby we might have made it to a second season. I was pregnant at the time of the first, but one hilarious season was spent on the sidelines watching OzSquad get truly whipped by the young whipper-snappers with their man buns, youthful legs and zero compassion for the ageing bootcampers. Turns out 35+ year old corporate types cannot run very fast after all. It made for brilliant spectating and post-game beer debriefing though.
Beach frisbee thrown in at the end of a Saturday class or at a beach games summer session always cheers me for the day as well – apart from when Euan gets so competitive and forgets he’s playing against paying clients. Something weird happens when that orange frisbee is pulled out – no more Mr and Mrs nice guys, no Sir-ee.
- All hail the Beer Mile! It has reared its ugly head a few times over the years, and to be honest I’m unsure how I’ve avoided being made to do the whole thing. (Pregnancies, pretending to still be breast feeding, that kind of thing, I guess.) The trainers have had their beer mile relay ass whooped by clients – I’m still trying to work out if this means we do our job really well or really badly.
The two fastest solo times are by Blair and Christian (the Scots must practice this event at school) and my favourite efforts have been from Neil (In jeans. Beat Euan. “A career highlight”), Seth (beer vom from multiple orifices) and Graham (Held an impressive lead for 3 laps and then slowed significantly to prevent beer vom from multiple orifices.
- All hail the annual Winter Challenge! That time of year guaranteed to make at least one of you go a little bootcamp bonkers. The attendance challenges over the years have seen Simon, Rohan, Hayden, Dwayne, Literally. Not. Quit. Euan still thinks you’re all mental for doing anything I say just because I’ve added the word ‘Challenge’ after it or changed the name of a month to RANDOMACTIVITYvember.
- All hail team events! There have literally been so many over the years, it’s hard to remember them all. I do however remember Euan being beat by his mum in the sun run, the glow worm Lithgow shenanigans, not having any idea what we were doing in the North Head triathlons, pristine scenery and even better Lara pitstops on the coastal classic. Pub2Pubs (it was waaaaay better and more on brand when it actually did finish at a pub), City2Surfs, Gold Coast marathon, Melbourne marathon, Sydney marathon, tough bloke challenge, Tough Mudders, NOSH trail runs. If you haven’t done a race with us then I’m going to declare that you are not in fact a runner, cause I’ve bloody nagged you all to enter one enough times.
I feel like our Amazing Races need a mention under this one too. I LOVED seeing the pics of you planking in coles, weighing singular green beans, cramming into a phone booth, sending photos to a wrong number at 7am, harassing oldies in an attempt to find a 77 year old. We even made money out of an Amazing Race pic after Facebook wanted to use a photo of 4 OzSquadders standing with a B&B swimmer in his pink budgie smugglers – a random frantic hunt for the swimmer ensued and thankfully he was happy for his privates to be made public and we all got paid $500.
- All hail lockdowns? Now that they are over (fingers crossed) and saying this as a non-homeschooler (thank f*ck), how good was lockdown?
Gym and tonic sessions, general take-away/food delivery chat on zoom, the lie ins, oh the lie ins! We had old members back from all corners of the globe to virtually bootcamp with us, Euan and I debuted on Facebook lives until he refused to do any more of them and I sent more covid comms than you can shake a RAT test at.Zoom fails included a lamp falling on my head, kate farting whilst yoga instructing, on video no less and continuing on with the Gladys sweepstake way past its sell by date. Calming Lynsay’s “Fucking hell, fucketty fuck, I fucking hate technology” phonecall rants after she’d lost connection mid-session became a weekly norm that I strangely miss.
The lockdown 100 day step challenge was awesome too, I miss it as well. Apart from when our WhatsApp group got spammed with photos of a lady’s arsehole, I don’t miss that.
- Number 10 – You lot. We just don’t get w*nkers along to OzSquad. (Well, there was one once, but they only lasted a month. Haha, should that bit have been censored too?)
I literally couldn’t ask for a better bunch of non-w*nker bootcampers, You guys are the absolute best.