News>Feats of strength: Team Impact lifts spirits at Scott Chapel
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Phonebook pages rain down in the Scott Chapel after Team Impact member Cesar Arocha, right, tore apart the county yellow pages in a show of strength. Team Impact performed at Scott Air Force Base March 11, 2010, in conjunction with their performances at First Baptist Church in O’Fallon, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo by Steve Berry)
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Chip Minton presses a wooden baseball bat down on his thigh until it snaps March 11, 2010, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. He is a member of Christian motivational speaking and performance group Team Impact.(U.S. Air Force photo by Steve Berry)
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Team Impact member Cesar Arocha bends and rolls up a frying pan during the group’s performance at the Scott Chapel March 11, 2010, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Team Impact’s performances combine a strongman show with motivational speaking. (U.S. Air Force photo by Steve Berry)
by Steve Berry
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
3/17/2010 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Broken bats, bent frying pans, torn phone books and twisted re-bar--and this was the abbreviated version of Team Impact's super-human strength show.
The Christian strongman crew--Team Impact--performed feats of strength March 11 at the Base Chapel. The team was at Scott Air Force Base for a matinee performance in conjunction with their five-night run at First Baptist Church in O'Fallon.
Before the show at Scott, hulking Team Impact members ate free pizza in the fellowship hall alongside the all-ages audience they were about to impact.
When the show started in the sanctuary, three members of Team Impact wasted no time getting into the meat and potatoes of their routine.
Cesar Arocha tore apart a thick, county yellow pages phone book, and then Shonn Keels bent a steel re-bar rod into a round curve.
"C'mon people make some noise!" Mr. Arocha said from the MC microphone trying to pump-up the crowd.
Mr. Keels finished bending until his feat was complete and the once straight rod was bent to resemble the Christian fish symbol.
Next, Team Impact member Chip Minton broke a wooden bat over his knee and Mr. Arocha bent a steel skillet until it was rolled up.
After the initial action, the program slowed down with Chip Minton's story of salvation, and the program ended with Team Impact members being presented with coins.
About Team Impact
Team Impact is comprised of 15 performers, many of whom are former NFL players, Ultimate Fighters, pro wrestlers or power lifters. Team Impact is a Christian organization that travels the globe with its strength show and Evangelistic message. The team was founded in 2000 and has performed more than 1,500 times in churches and communities large and small.
According to their Web site: "Team Impact has learned that if you can get a person's attention they will listen to what you have to say--and Team Impact has found a way to get people's attention."
The team's full show features the stunts performed at the Scott Chapel plus performers breaking through giant stacks of ice blocks and cement blocks.
Chip Minton's story of salvation
Chip Minton grew up in Macon, Ga. At 18, he began working as a prison guard at Central State Prison in Macon.
He specialized in extracting prisoners from their cells.
"By doing that, it made me really explosive and crazy," he said. "It made me really extreme."
In the early 1990's Mr. Minton was working out at the gym when he saw a flyer advertising try-outs for the Olympic bobsled team.
"Just the week before I tried out for the American Gladiators," he said.
Mr. Minton didn't make the American Gladiators team and decided to give the bobsled team a go.
"I got on a plane," he said. "I had never been north of Tennessee."
Mr. Minton flew to Lake Placid, N.Y., and tried out for the team alongside 60 other people. He said most of the other Olympic hopefuls were NCAA All-American athletes and track and field standouts.
He made the national team and then the 1994 and 1998 U.S. Olympic bobsled teams. He competed in Lillehammer, Norway and Nagano, Japan.
He compared his journey to the Olympics to the movie "Cool Runnings."
After the Olympics, Mr. Minton moved on to his next venture--pro wrestling.
He competed with the World Championship Wrestling organization, or WCW, under the name "Mr. World Class," through the late 1990s.
"At that point in my life I had everything a man could want. I had a beautiful wife, a young daughter, I was a two-time Olympian and a professional wrestler. I had a storybook life," he said. "But, I was still waking up every morning full of fear, full of pain. I would look in the mirror and think 'why am I trying to blow through each day as fast as I can. How come I can't settle down like normal people?'"
Even with his successes and family, he still felt a void in his life.
He said one day after working out at the gym he made a life changing decision.
"I really don't know why I did this, but I bought a beer," he said. "As soon as that alcohol hit my body it immediately changed the way I thought."
He said his father was an alcoholic and alcoholism ran in his family.
Soon Mr. Minton became addicted to alcohol too.
"I was dying inside," he said.
His substance abuse problem expanded after he became addicted to prescription pain killers, then illicit street drugs.
"Consequences started to come," he said. "And when they started to come, it started to rain on me with consequences."
He was fired from WCW.
He tried to run his own business--and failed.
His wife kicked him out of the house and he moved into a motel room.
"It was dark, it was damp, and I was isolated," he said.
The former Olympian and professional wrestler now spent his days in a cheap motel room and hospital emergency rooms after over-doses.
His spirits got so low he contemplated suicide.
"My heart felt like it was wrapped in barbed wire and there were meat hooks pulling me apart," he said. "I could smell the spiritual death on my body."
One morning, while dangerously suicidal, Mr. Minton remembered a conversation he had with his mother about religion.
That morning, June 28, 2003, he said a sincere prayer for change.
"All of the sudden my desires changed," he said. "All of the sudden my desire to drink and do drugs left. I never felt that before. Finally that barbed wire loosened up."
The next day he checked himself into a detox facility for the last time, became a Christian, and eventually joined Team Impact.