BILLINGS — Sometimes, though maybe not often enough, our local sports landscape provokes imagination deeper than sweating wins and losses. Sometimes it even hinges on helping somebody survive.
That’s what Billings strength coach Jim Thompson is driving his attention toward right now.
“Twenty-two veterans a day, on average, are committing suicide,” Thompson lamented to MTN Sports. “The Courage Foundation raises money to educate and kind of help these guys out.”
So, Thompson is doing everything he can to help out.
“They put out a challenge to hit 100,000 burpees for the year, and I hit that on Sunday,” he said Tuesday night.
Why stop there?
The Courage Foundation recently decided to produce a 24-hour challenge for this Veterans Day Weekend. It’s an attempt to set a burpees world record of 22,000 in 24 hours and will be streamed live on Facebook for 24 hours starting Friday at 1 p.m. Mountain Time. A team of six Californians will be charged with producing 3,600 burpees apiece.
Naturally, Thompson wants to beat that. He’s shooting for 3,700 this weekend.
“We’re starting at about 9:30 in the morning Saturday and we’ll end at about 9:30 in the morning Sunday,” Thompson smiled. “I figure I’ll do 450 every three hours. I have other people that are going to do it, and I’ll have somebody else doing burpees on that next hour. Somebody will be doing burpees every hour.”
He’s inviting anyone interested to stop by Thompson Underground during this weekend’s 24-hour window to help with a few minutes (or hours) of exercise. The address is 250 11th St. West in Billings, or for more information Thompson can be reached at (406) 208-6094.
The Courage Foundation’s year-long worldwide goal is 22 million burpees The number 22 significant in that, as Thompson said earlier, 22 veterans a day, on average, commit suicide. He says the foundation is close to reaching its goal, but adds, that’s why they’re recharging for one more big push this weekend.
“I’ve always tried to be an advocate for the veterans,” said Thompson. “I really appreciate what they do for us. I just feel like that’s the ultimate sacrifice you can make. And then, we need to take care of those people when they get back, whether it’s mental health or physical. We need to make every avenue available to them to get well.”
The Veterans Day Burpee Challenge and Commander Mark Divine’s TEAM COURAGE Burpee World Record attempt will be streamed live on Facebook Friday for 24 hours starting at 1 p.m. Mountain Time.
Those wishing to donate to Thompson’s efforts in the Veterans Day Weekend Burpee Challenge can do so here.
Thompson has a separate web page detailing his goal of reaching 100,000 burpees for the Courage Foundation.