In March in 1995, I took command of Delta Company (above, Tim pictured far right), 3-15 Infantry (Mechanized) at Ft. Stewart, Georgia. The day I took command, I sat the 145 men down and talked about warfighting, training, living hard to be hard, physical and mental fitness, God and Country, your fellow Soldier, America—all the things you can think of to let them know I was prepared and would do whatever it takes to get Delta Company fit to fight and win if called upon to do so. Although it was a more peaceful time than more recent years, I told the men that in the next year or two we could definitely see combat, and we would be ready. I surely was no Patton, but I could tell they heard what I said, which was that I meant business. This meeting took place on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, my training sergeant approached me asking if I could play softball and would I be interested in playing for the company. Anything for the company and my men, so I said yes. I’m not a great baseball player but figured I could get by. I told them probably best to put me where the least action is since it had been a few years, so off to right field I went. After the second inning and no action my way, I was sure I could pull this off, get on base once or twice and have a great start with the Troops. Then a line drive came out to right field. No problem. Line it up, let it bounce, and throw it in—too easy.
Easy it was not. The ball hit the ground (and a rock) and did not stay on the path I had it on. Instead it went slightly left, right into my groin area, with an uncanny ability to pinpoint the exact location of my right twin. Gathering every ounce of strength and fortitude I could muster, I managed to throw the ball in. Then — as quietly and coolly as I could — went down in pain, tears, immediate swelling, more pain and then more tears. I was not crying — so please drop that image — but I was absolutely debilitated and could not move. Had I not believed everything I told the company about being mentally and physically tough — and of course not wanting to be known as the Infantry Commander who cried in right field — I managed to finish the game. It was quite a humbling transition from my Patton speech to wanting to curl up in a ball in right field. But no way I was going to let them see weakness.
Now to the point of the story.
So years later, hundreds of icings with frozen peas, tight underwear, a surgery, thickest padded cycling shorts made and trying every bike seat I could get my hands on, I still had tremendous discomfort and pain. Nothing, well maybe one activity, hurt me as much as cycling did.
The Gripped Racing Team, of which I am honored to be a member, picked up SMP as a new sponsor. So I did my research, as always, trying to recover from that fateful March day in right field. The two SMP saddles I bought are absolutely the best cycling-related purchase I have ever made. Prior to riding on the SMP saddles, I welcomed the numbing to stop the pain. Now, not only do I not get numb, but also, and more importantly, as my four year old would say, “I have zero pain.” On two occasions since riding my SMPs, I have had to use older saddles. It was then that I truly realized what superior saddles my SMPs are. It is a different type of seat, so it does take a ride or two to get used to. But that is quickly done. Even if you do not have a right field debacle, I highly recommend these saddles to any type or caliber of rider.
Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Abbot (retired from Army and right field, still races bicycles on Gripped and has from its inception)