I’m still working my way out of the beating at work. The process isn’t complete, but should be closing soon, yet challenges keep rearing up. Hope to make a post soon on this ordeal, probably a few posts for all that’s gone on. Until then, here’s that piece on Navy Seals and my friend who just joined their ranks.

For months, you have been put to the test. Grueling physical and mental strain has intentionally been unleashed on you, and you’re a willing participant through it all. You’re in a constant fight against your environment as it slams against your almost broken body in a constant wave assault. Your ultimate goal is making it another day, another meal, another minute, and their ultimate goal uncovering your limits.

At the end of this process, you’re at the top of your game. As you walk around campus, others make sure to divert their eyes and show complete respect for you, what you’re doing, and what you’ll become. You know you’re the best, and so does everyone else. Except, that’s not really true, and you know it and those you’ll be joining know it.

When becoming a Navy Seal, you must be a rock in both body and mind. Obviously, you can’t do what’s required of a Seal if you aren’t strong and fit. However, the real challenge is the mental challenge. I really admire the BUDs classmen even if they don’t make it through to the end. It seems like a constant fight against oneself and one’s own limits more than anything else.

When the only thing you have to do is say you’re done and ring a bell, there isn’t much keeping you from quitting when you’re already on the edge and possibly beyond what you thought the edge was. But to make that even easier, your instructors do everything they can to make quitting easy such as bringing that damn bell down to the shore while you get a beating from the waves, so you don’t even have to walk far to quit and ring it. Of course, this also gives you the perfect view of everyone else who’s finally pulling out, pushed to their limits once and for all.

You really have to be doing this for yourself. As much camaraderie as there is, and as much as you’re doing it for your country, or anything else, it’s really only those who do it for themselves that really have a chance. Not only do you have to go through a beating to get to the finish line, but once there you get little recognition to go along with the more daunting challenges to come. The Seal does not do what he does for recognition (it’s in their motto), and that’s definitely built into the training (most of their missions will be classified anyway, so get used to it).

Even to the last hurrah at graduation, they make sure you don’t forget to be the rock they made you into by welcoming you to mediocrity. Even as you yell to the next class of BUDs to hit the sand, you’re reminded where you too stand now that you’re joining a team of people who have already done what you’ve done, and they’ve even used their training in live action. You’re the freshmen again, for all you’ve gone through, and they make sure you remember that. Stories about 4 Seal in Iraq being surrounded in a Humvee killing over 200 insurgents before being overcome starts to make sense after understanding what’s produced by a program such this.

However, what’s really surprising is how jovial, friendly, and approachable these characters are. They’re programmed to be on the edge, and it blows my mind how they can come from training into the town of Coronado surrounded by rich, chic, older women in pink outfits and trendy guys with cool shades wearing Tommy Bahama, and not snap (or snap someone else’s head) from leaving such an intense environment and joining such a me-me, attention grabbing, easy street world. It was like a punch in the face to me, and I’d only been around for a couple days.

Yet, it makes sense in the same. How else could one go through such a rough training program, and not come out the other end all twisted and screwed up without having a great sense of humor and accepting the things that go on around you. As tightly wound, ready to act, as these guys are, they’re completely in control, and totally cool. Yeah, if they wanted to stare you down, you’d crap in your pants, but they’re just normal 20 something guys when they’re not doing their thing. Sure, they can shoot the eye out of a bird 200 yards away, and throw a knife across the room drunk and still hit a dime, but, they also want to appreciate life like the rest of us, and have fun with friends, kick back, play some Wii, and drink a few drinks.

We each have our own tests to overcome, our own limits to face. The ordeals faced by Seal trainees, and Seal graduates, is both an inspiration and an example for us all. “Be someone special,” and “The only easy day was yesterday” exemplify the Seal experience. It’s a good reminder that what we’re facing ain’t that bad, and if someone else can pull through so much more, then surely we can come out the better from our own challenges. Here’s to class 261, I know you’ll protect our country with the best of them, and make our enemies crap in their pants (which is the least they can hope for if they face a team of Seals).