Boot camp

toy-soldiers-clipIn a desperate and stupid attempt to become fit, I’m thinking about signing up for boot camp again. No, I’m not enlisting in the actual Army. This particular boot camp is a class, taught by a sadistic Marine, at my job.

Boot camp goes like this:

It’s 5:55 AM, and you’re standing on the dark basketball court staring at your shoes when, from out of the black, you hear the drill instructor yell, “INCOMING!”

You know what that means. You dive to the ground, awaiting orders. The voice in the dark hollers “PUSH UP,” and you start doing push ups. You don’t stretch. You don’t warm up. You go hard immediately.

Then it’s straight on to jumping jacks, lunges, calf raises, grippers, crunches, leg lifts, and mountain climbers. You hurt. You want to throw up. And it’s still so dark that you can barely make out the instructor’s face.

But then you get a 30-second water break. You stretch briefly. You feel better. You think it isn’t all that bad.

You’re wrong. The running starts. You sing as you run, messed up songs about being Marines and murdering the bad guys that you secretly enjoy.

You sprint up the parking garage with bricks in your hands screaming “KILL.” You do more push ups, more lunges. You crawl across the sand volleyball court and bound over rocks. Your legs burn. You want to throw up again.

And then, just like that, it’s 7:00, and the class is over. You’re dirty and sweaty, but you’re not beat down. You’re high from surviving. You feel tough, almost invincible. You know you’re getting stronger, leaner, faster. That’s the payoff for the pain, and it’s why you signed up.

Later that day you find yourself creaking around with a headache. The high has worn off, and you’re thinking about the next class, dreading 5:55 AM when you’ll be staring at your shoes in the cold and the dark waiting for your orders, waiting to hurt all over again.

Boot camp is hard and dumb. But as much as I gripe about it—and trust me, if I join up, you’ll hear plenty of complaining—the class works. And I have to admit—and this is strictly between you and me—I kind of like playing soldier.


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