Personally, I don't have a lot invested in the Herndon ceremony - I'm a NROTC guy - but a lot of my readers do.
Well, tradition was good while it lasted.
As they have for 70 years, students at the U.S. Naval Academy are celebrating the end of their grueling first year by scaling a 21-foot obelisk. But this year, without lard coating the monument, they did it a lot faster than usual.Lame.
For years, the Herndon Monument was slathered in lard to make it harder to climb. It often took hours for a group of first-year students, or "plebes," to hoist a peer on their shoulders to place an officer's hat atop the obelisk.
On Monday, to make the tradition safer, the obelisk wasn't greased and plebes scaled it in two minutes and five seconds flat.
In comments, a MIDN pegged it at 1.5 minutes. 1.5, 2.5. What is the difference? At this point, why bother at all. It is all kind of lame ... about as lame as the injury reason.
If there is so much concern about injury - then by all means we should stop all football - NOW. On top of that, women's b-ball has a high injury rate too. CANX that ... and so on ... and so on ...
Being that climbing an hunk of dry granite is about as unique as throwing a hat in the air - do something else. From the outside, a dry Herndon is almost like watching an young, healthy adult on 3-wheel bicycle.
I would recommend instead that the MIDN save up some money and some leave time. Get on a plane. Rent an apartment in Paris, Berlin, or Amsterdam (if you get enough people together - it is very affordable) for a week. The drinking age is 16 there. No one will care what you do or don't do. Everyone will treat you like an adult and will treat you with respect due an emancipated adult. Do a battlefield tour so you don't feel guilty (if you want a recommendation or two - I will be glad to help for either the tour or apartment locations). Return to the USA when you have to. Counsel next year's MIDN to do the same.
My $.02. Your school, your call.
UPDATE: A regular reader sent a link to the pic above. She is the official Salamander MIDN of the Month. Well done! (Sorry, no parking space goes with it)
UPDAT II - Electric Boogaloo: A member of the extended Salamander network sends along what is unquestionably the best quote to the day from a Firstie;
"No grease? It's a lot less gay nowadays. That's bad!"