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My son is on the JV football team for Great Mills High School this year.  I won't tell you his name, lest I cause him some embarrassment, but his initials are D. G. (which stands for Doug Gordon).  Naturally, I had some fears when he decided he wanted to do this:  I was afraid he'd get hurt, he'd be yelled at by some Steve Spurrier wanna-be coach, you know the routine.  Fact is, my fears were confirmed when he came home from the first day of practice.  He was limping a bit, all hot and sweaty, and regaled me with stories of how his coach had handled the boys getting leg cramps ("A CRAAAAMP!  What are you gonna do when you're on the field facing some 200 lb. kid and you get a CRAAAAMP?").  Of course my Mommy-thing kicked in full force, and as I was going to gently let him know that if he wanted to quit that would be fine and I wouldn't be disappointed, he went on to say it was one of the best days of his life and he was having a blast.  In fact, I've noticed over the last couple of weeks that my son has begun to show a new maturity and self-discipline, and has never walked taller or prouder in his life.  He's filled with self-confidence and has even reduced his torment of his little sister. 

Several of my female friends are business owners.  Now one thing you don't want to do is tick off a lady business owner.  If she's been in business for any length of time, she's run the gauntlet and been abused by professionals.  She probably had to fight to get her business off the ground, then had to deal with her ruthless competitors, who held her in little regard.  She is a seasoned battler, and she'll take you apart if you fiddle with her too much.  She holds her head high, knowing that she can handle just about anything that may come her way because she's self-made and nobody handed her a thing.

In contrast, our U.S. Army has decided that the way they've been running their boot camps is a bit out of touch.  No longer can DIs yell at the privates - now they must try to "get into their heads" and figure out how to motivate them without any kind of force.  If the exercises are a little too difficult, they get scaled down until all the troops can do them at 100%.  No longer does G.I. Joe do push-ups with his gear on his back.  They're aiming for a "kinder, gentler" Army.

Boot camp used to be a kind of enforced growing up process for these young men and women.  It was a source of pride to make it through the toughest nine weeks of your life, to emerge as a mature, responsible adult who could take apart an M-16 in less than 30 seconds.  Who finally made it through the obstacle course in under 2 minutes.  Who were ready to defend our country come hell or high water.  They were stoked and respectful, aware that they were one of the few and the proud.  Now they're a bunch of Gen-Xers who complain if they break a sweat. 

The whole idea of boot camp is to prepare a group of men and women for combat.  I'm hearing it now, "Excuse me, Mr. Enemy Troop, could you stop shooting at me for a minute?  I'm getting a little out of breath because of all this stuff I have to carry.  It'll be just a minute..."  BOOM!  To the "new" military I say, "A CRAAAAMP!  What are you gonna do when you're on the field facing some foreign army  and you get a CRAAAAMP?"  And I'll bet the men and women who enlisted before all this garbage started are just as disgusted.

All I know is that if we go to war, I'd rather have the JV football team and lady business owners standing between me and the enemy.

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