To USMA, Darcy
You will like this, even though Stephens may be a bit harsh. I have a granddaughter
who considered applying to USMA, but decided that the swim team was not up to her
times, so she opted for the University of South Carolina. She gave up competitive
swimming after two years to concentrate on her major in foreign relations. Spending
the fall of her senior year in Switzerland and Croatia, she graduated early with a
Phi Beta Kappa key. Since the first of the year, she has transitioned from an
internship in D.C. to a temporary job at the NATO event in Chicago, with promise
of leading to full time employment with the security concern she works for.
My point is that the discipline of getting up every morning at five to swim for an hour
and a half, every day for 12 years, gave her extraordinary control. Her personal
life includes a relationship with an ROTC graduate from USC who is on active duty
and aiming for RA status. There must be many others in the class of 2012 who have
their heads together like her.
I like the quote from the USMA grad that "wearing a uniform helped her figure out
what it was that really distinguished her as an individual." Brava! I have been asked
many times: "How could you stand such a regimented existence for four years in
college?" My reply always was, "West Point defined me and made me who I am!"
You will not like this. It has sparked intense controversy and debate. I happen to
agree with it, insofar as banning applies to varsity sports that are a travesty.
Participation in sports that have little promise of professional remuneration are
entirely different. See above for one example. You could also say that all college
sports at the Division Three level are worthwhile for the same reasons.
That's why I gave up my AAA membership when it became a big time booster
organization for Army football. The steps being taken to improve the caliber
of the team are especially worrisome, as has been discussed in these pages.
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