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Know your limitations - Dan the Serene
June 4th, 2011
10:32 pm

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Know your limitations
I was a life guard in high school. I did three years in the Army Military Police. At various times, I have thought that perhaps if I had wanted to go career I could have gone to one of the elite units. I recently came to the conclusion that I was wrong and it's a good thing I never tried.

I was watching a program on Special Forces combat swimmer training. These guys are already Green Berets, now they want to be bubble blowers as well. In one of the pool exercises, They go in with their tank on and a blacked out mask. An instructor disables their tank in some manner, and they are supposed to fix it by touch without surfacing. Again, this is an exercise, in a swimming pool. If they fail, they get recycled and have a chance to redo the entire program or they can just quit and not get the badge. Here's the crazy part: it is not unusual for a student to pass out under water from lack of oxygen. They will keep trying until they black out and an instructor pulls their unconscious body from the water. This is not an operation, no one will die and the mission will not fail if they surface, but these guys are so hardcore they won't even quit in the face of drowning on pride.

I have seen the difference between me and them, and I am content to remain on my side.

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From:skreidle
Date:June 5th, 2011 03:02 am (UTC)
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At a lower level, when I was rowing in high school and college, there were always a few guys who viewed it as a point of pride if they worked themselves so hard that they puked. (I'm sure this applies to participants in most/all strenuous sports.)

Me, I had no desire to be that guy. If that's what it takes to reach a certain elite level of athleticism, I don't want it.
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From:fragbert
Date:June 5th, 2011 11:32 am (UTC)
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Blacked-out mask and no air? I'd panic within seconds, and they wouldn't have to pull me out of the water, I'd be walking ON it getting out of there.

I never had the opportunity to join an elite unit, but I was offered a spot at the USMA Prep School at Ft. Belvoir for a year and then 4 years at West Point, a degree, and a commission. I turned them down because I knew at the time I never would have made it past plebe year. I never once regretted that decision.
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From:evelynne
Date:June 5th, 2011 01:06 pm (UTC)
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Wow.

It is just another type of person entirely who can do that stuff, isn't it? And thank goodness we have them.
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