A ‘Boot Camp’ salute to Veterans Day

K.C. Jones, a four-year ESPN employee, served a stint as a submariner in the U.S. Navy.

The software architect said he also has run the Hartford Marathon, completed a 100-mile bike ride and dabbled in numerous other endurance sports.

That said, the one-hour, noontime Boot Camp workout he performed with about 50 ESPN colleagues on Veterans Day taxed him like nothing else.

The relentless exercise class was all worth it.

“This beats any day that we got ‘psychoed’ at [Navy] boot camp,” said Jones, who served aboard the USS Augusta while stationed in Groton, Conn.

“To see so many people come together and honor the troops. . . is remarkable. It really shows that ESPN is a family and we support the whole community. I love it.”

Adam DeSantis, Employee Wellness Center Coordinator, oversees the growing Boot Camp program offered to employees on the Bristol campus.

“This class has taken on a life of its own,” DeSantis said.

“It started one year ago, once a week in honor of Veterans Day and then stopped once November ended. We decided to bring it back in January and see what the turnout would be like.”

Classes swelled from half a dozen participants and now average between 20 and 30 workout warriors per session.

With ESPN honoring Veterans Day with a week of events on and off the air, the Employee Wellness Center offered the midday exercise class in front of the facility.

Via bullhorn, DeSantis barked orders to have the participants — in teams of two — complete cycles of exercises 11 times — in honor of the date, 11/11/11.

Burpees, which are repeated squat thrusts, crunches, weight-plate lifts and piggyback runs around the parking lot were part of the cycle.

While Jones has participated in Boot Camp as much as his healing rotator cuff allows, the midday class attracted at least two “rookies.”

Marc Murphy, Director of Content and Sponsorship Development at ESPN Global X Events, had not participated in the EWC’s Boot Camp.

“That was probably the hardest workout I’ve had since I mouthed off to my football coach in high school,” Murphy said. “One day he made me do a million suicides in the gym because of talking back.”

Both he and Global X Games Senior Marketing Director Ryan McGuinness are working out with the idea of tackling fresh snow in scouting the Winter X Games in Aspen next year.

Still, McGuinness appreciated “finishing [the Boot Camp] and the camaraderie” in the Veterans Day class.

Said Murphy: “My favorite part was getting excited to do it. Then it was downhill.

“I’ll hurt tomorrow. I’ll really hurt Sunday and by Monday I”ll probably come back to normal.”

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