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The No Huddle Manifesto

Our website, No Huddle Outdoors, and YouTube channel, No Huddle Life, are the products of the blood, sweat and tears from a dedicated team of like-minded outdoor adventurists. I will forever be grateful to them.

I’m Bill Rooney, Founder, CEO and chief cook and bottle-washer. The following is my story. How this No Huddle Life thing began. I hope it resonates with some of you. I’m all in.

Talk about a wakeup call.

I’d been healthy all my life. At 62, I guess you could call that extremely good fortune.

Suddenly, the tides shifted. I found myself in a consultation room with a top doctor at a world-class medical facility. He gave it to me straight.

“You need to have your left kidney removed.” What? Rest assured, I went through major mental gyrations. Facing the hard facts and after seeking second and third opinions, I knew he was right.

We’re going to skip the surgery story for now and cut to my recovery from a successful operation. After weaning myself from the painkillers, my head began to clear.

I realized I had to change. I had been working like a madman for 40-plus years—replete with all sorts of adventures and proud accomplishments. But deep down, I knew I couldn’t keep living my life the way I had been.

No dis to hard work. That’s a not-so-secret ingredient to success. I’m talking about something else. The work had, in a sense, become my ruler.  

Then, an epiphany. Over the course of months as I improved physically, the ultimate solution began to emerge like a jigsaw puzzle finally coming together.   

I’ll tell you right now, I’m not in a position to retire. Not that I’d ever want to. I believe that’s the kiss of death, even if a slow kiss. A life without a burning purpose? No, not for me.

I wanted to conceive something I could do the rest of my life. Something I’d have enduring passion for. I knew from observation that people who loved their work could seemingly do it endlessly. Because it isn’t work for them—it’s play.

It came to me while hiking in Montana. I was there for my youngest daughter’s wedding—an emotional and reflective event for me. It dawned on me that I had almost never taken a real vacation.

Let me clarify. I wasn’t really regretting the lack of vacations. I was questioning why I had not accomplished the literally hundreds of things that I’d always wanted to do—not out of duty or obligation, but activities that simply appealed to my spirit of adventure.

Things I had been threatening to do my whole adult life as I watched it zip by, immersed in earning a living. Like learning to ski. Successfully fly-fishing. Climbing a boulder. Kayaking rapids. Road biking. Improving my freestyle stroke. Ice fishing—I grew up in Minnesota, and that’s unforgivable. The list is long, and honestly not realistically accomplishable in a lifetime.

Unless it was your job.

Enter: The No Huddle Life. It’s a new YouTube channel and social media community.

Under this overarching concept, I’ll be setting out to conquer a new, usually outdoor adventure nearly every week. As a complete beginner, or novice at best, in the given activity, I’ll be seeking out an expert to teach me how to do something to some level of success.

No Huddle is not-so-obviously borrowed from American football jargon. When a team is in the fourth quarter with no time to waste, you employ the “no huddle” offense. Meaning skip the moments of rest and play calling in the traditional huddle. It can be very effective.

At 62, it’s the fourth quarter of life, or close anyway. Most guys my age start slowing down and taking it a bit easier. It’s the golden years and all that.

While I’m not delusional about my physical prowess compared to my seemingly invincible youth, I do disagree with the mode of living that is a quiet slide to the end.

I borrowed heavily from the concepts in the excellent book Younger Next Year: Turn Back Your Biological Clock by Chris Crowley. So much in that book hit home for me.

Younger Next Year’s basic premise is your body can be functionally younger by regular, vigorous exercise. The book is very inspirational and extremely well-written. I highly recommend it.

But No Huddle will not be an exercise program. There’s a bazillon of those. I’m hoping to provide inspiration to have some fun. Get off the damn couch. Put down your electronic devices. Experience new and interesting things.

And armed with the basic “how to” of an activity taught by world-class gurus: get out there and do it.

Maybe you’ll find that a particular pursuit is not for you. Or maybe you’ll eventually master it.

Doesn’t matter. The point is, you’ll be getting out and doing new things. Adding skills to your grab bag of fun stuff to do. And having big fun while reaping the residual physical benefits.

While I’m pretty sure there’ll be interesting stuff with No Huddle for just about anyone, I won’t be hiding that a primary target is the peeps of my generation. At least to start with.

I was a professional drummer in my younger days. And as a musician growing up in the '60s, you couldn’t help but be influenced by The Who.

And for guys of my generation, there’s some serious irony in Pete Townshend’s lyrics, “I hope I die before I get old.”

While he might not have understood the depth of wisdom of those lyrics at the time he wrote them as a mighty twenty-year-old, I bet he does now.

At least I do. Old is not a body age. It is a state of mind.

Let’s have a blast and live a long, adventurous, healthy life.

Welcome to No Huddle.

Your intrepid dilettante,

Bill Rooney