by Andy Weddington
Saturday, 20 August 2016
If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out? Will Rogers
A couple of days ago 'IOC And The IOC' - a short commentary contrasting one Marine Corps training program and Olympics Track & Field - was published.
Last evening I watched a bit more Olympics. The 4 x 100 relays - men and women - held my thoughts long after the running. The results, too, relevant to the commentary noted above.
In short, the men's (Jamaica) winning time of 37.27 seconds was just shy of four seconds faster than the women's (United States) winning time of 41.01.
In Track & Field, four seconds is a long time. It amounts to destruction. Were it a fight, it'd be stopped before the opening bell.
Furthermore, the slowest men's time of 38.41 still easily beat the winning women's time. Two and half seconds, too, counts as destruction.
Though not so relevant, the slowest women's time was 43.21 - six seconds behind the fastest men and five behind the slowest men.
Think about that for a while.
And then consider the outcomes had there been one woman on a men's team and the contrary of one man on a women's team. The deductions obvious.
Conclusion: Speed, strength, and endurance matter.
Those variables matter on competitive fields of fun and games. They matter more so on battlefields of not fun and games.
While mulling over a complementary commentary, arrived an email (with attached article) this afternoon from a Marine I served with at Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps two decades ago. He's doing what he can to sound the alarm about the ongoing recklessness of military reform. Getting attention in big media is proving an effort in futility. But his message needs to be heard. Must be heard. Be a messenger!
He, too, made his case drawing on big-time sports.
With his approval ...
Military Reform Lessons for the NFL (A look into the crystal ball)
by Gregory S. Newbold
It’s the time of year when America swells with renewed hope for their favorite professional football team. Dreams begin to percolate about a Super Bowl run, rivalries are renewed, bets placed, and pride is undiminished by the experience of the first games. It’s a long tradition in America, but traditions are vulnerable. Perhaps more than you think. Football players are strong, but not as strong as bureaucrats. Imagine the future if those who changed your military get ahold of your team…
It’s the summer of 2017, and the NFL’s newly crowned Super Bowl champions have been purchased by a billionaire businessman with a mission. True, the champs had just demonstrated that they were the finest team in the world, but the new owner knew that victory had only been achieved by the crudest of behaviors: athleticism, strength, speed, agility, good coaching, esprit, and teamwork. Positively antediluvian standards. To build on the success of the Super Bowl, and remake this team in the new owner’s image of a more modern approach to contested activities, he needed a new team leader -- a general manager who could instill in the team more admirable qualities. He found just the man.
Raymond E. “Mayhem,” pole vaulting from his seismic (and very, very long) tour as Secretary of one of the military departments, became his new General Manager. Though Mayhem had never played football, he knew from previous experience that knowledge of a specific field of complex endeavor was greatly exaggerated in importance. And if experience in making policy with life and death consequences was not germane to decision making, how could it be more so in mere sports? Thus armed with unchallengeable certainty, and with the new season only months away, Mayhem moved swiftly.
As a first order of business, the new owner and GM attacked the team name. Labels are important, and the old team name simply did not reflect an enlightened approach to interpersonal relations. The testosterone laden description of the team had to go. From now on, the fans would cheer on…the Social Justice Illuminators. Go Nators!!
Second, the owner and Mayhem were offended that their team violated virtually every diversity objective in this post-modern society. While they acknowledged that talent had some relevancy to team composition, both of these illuminati quickly assessed that traditional standards for player selection, gained through a hundred years of experience, were an excuse for exclusion of disadvantaged individuals. For example, Mayhem quickly uncovered that there were NO women on his team and, as far as he could tell, varied sexual orientation was not celebrated. Finally, in another humbling discovery, Mayhem revealed that their team had no handicapped players. None. As Mayhem explained to a sympathetic media, with these diversity oversights, the team might as well be known as the Cro-Magnons!
With the NFL draft and training camp just around the corner, Mayhem immediately ordered changes to the team’s player selection criteria. Admittedly, speed, strength and some of those other talents had some value, but coaches and players should not forget the fact that sexual diversity would, because of its inherent nobility, strengthen the team. And, from his experience, Mayhem knew that size and strength could be countered by other attributes -- like serious reflection. Mayhem and the owner also were certain that the cohesion that won the Lombardi Trophy would only be strengthened by an integrated locker room.
To implement these initiatives, the GM declared that the new requirement would be to attain a player composition of at least 25% women. This would be a way to mitigate loneliness among the smaller numbers of these teammates, a condition which obviously would inhibit their progress and morale. The team’s coach, admittedly an individual of long experience (but little enlightenment) asked that the new rule exclude linemen and linebackers, and he offered the results of a study that scientifically and conclusively demonstrated the need for traditional talents in these positions. The Nators found a new coach.
Last but not least, at the first full pads practice, Mayhem observed that the cheerleaders and players were attired in different uniforms. The blatantly sexist differences in attire obviously could not stand, and certainly fans would be pleased to see this behavior end. From now on, both players and cheerleaders would be similarly attired. The mixed gender cheerleaders would simply learn to shout through facemasks.
So here we are. We have the first exhibition game -- and certain victory -- next week against the Carolina Panthers. Note to the media: stand by with the cameras to see Mayhem lifted on the shoulders of the grateful players (probably the Carolina Panthers).
Fantasy? Perhaps. The proposition seems laughable. But if nation’s existence depends on the performance of our Armed Forces, and the NFL is only entertainment, why not? The likely answer to “why not” is that the American public would never tolerate tinkering with their favorite entertainment, but you hear hardly a whimper when our lives depend on it.
Keep your eye on the South China Sea. It may be more entertaining than the NFL.
Lieutenant General Newbold is a retired U. S. Marine infantryman.