Friday, January 18, 2008

Naval Academy Wussies

A "solution in search of a problem," as one quoted graduate said.

In the name of safety, the U.S. Naval Academy is considering an overhaul of one of its most bizarre traditions: the annual ritual in which a thousand first-year midshipmen struggle to conquer a 21-foot granite obelisk coated with 200 pounds of lard...

The scene is unforgettable to those who watch, as the sweating, grunting, red-faced midshipmen at the bottom, their arms linked, support a human pyramid surging to the top of the monument. The pyramid often collapses, but the plebes invariably make it to the top whether it takes them minutes or hours...

Deborah Goode, a spokeswoman for the academy, said that she could not recall any serious injuries resulting from the Herndon Climb and that the reevaluation was part of a broader reconsideration of the end-of-year events for plebes.

Alumni scoffed at the risk of someone's getting hurt, especially given the school's mission to prepare officers for combat.

This one proposal sends so many wrong messages.


Anonymous said...

Is there some extra rule that the article doesn't mention? I think that there are about 500 per class? So ... take 500 shirts, make a rope/net thingie, hook it over the top and have someone climb up.

30 minutes, tops.

-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

The article listed the rules pretty much as I understood them.

There are over 1000 midshipmen in an incoming class. But as they chose Navy instead of West Point, I think expecting them to come up with something as creative as tying shirts together is asking too much :-)

USNA Ancient said...

One class used a cargo net and did it in record time [with an asterisk] ... late '60s I think; immediately, that practice was outlawed ... no climbing apparatus of whatever type permitted. The object is TEAMWORK under difficult circumstances [21' granite obelisk, 200# of lard, and water hoses] to achieve a goal.

Safety my ass ... I'm convinced the driving force behind this bulls^*t is embarrassment and homophobia.

The fact is that a host of "gay oriented/friendly" sites and blogs [e.g.,
2007/05/the_herndon_cli.html ... and FYI, no, I'm not ... but, neither am I afraid of it; I have "Google Alerts" notify me of all things USNA]
posted pictures and appreciative comments the past couple of years and obviously this edition of the "Darkside" has their morality [and humanity] firmly grounded in the Middle Ages ... what's next, a General weida/fishy duberry-push for an amerikan taliban academy clone of colorado springs on the Severn ?

KEEP HERNDON: GET RID OF THIS "SUPE" & "DANT" ... pass them over and out !

for Darren: hey, WooPoo, those that chose the "Boat School", aka "Canoe U." & "Sing Sing on the Severn", have made it "the 1st to 50" & 51, 6 straight and counting, & 5 straight C-in-C trophies ... makes recruiting tough, huh... and PJ taught Ken Niu well, so don't expect it to get any better ... BEAT ARMY again and again and ... (;o} ...

Darren said...

True that, but West Point wins just about everything else--including crew :-)

Anonymous said...

"One class used a cargo net and did it in record time [with an asterisk] ... late '60s I think; immediately, that practice was outlawed..."

I am pleased to hear that this has been thought of :-)

Is it legal to tip over the obelisk?

-Mark Roulo