Barefoot Fitness

You Will Have Your Waterloo

You Will Have Your Waterloo

The Naval Special Warfare program for students who have been successfully screened into a special program and are awaiting formal training is called SCRUFT Duty. We were Screened Candidates Reported and Undergoing Physical Training. Hey, it's hard to make an acronym that long make sense. It's pronounced 'Scruff.'

I spent six months in SCRUFTLand. We got up at three in the morning, did the A-School Special Programs Physical Training, then ate breakfast and did the Boot Camp Special Programs PT, then administered the screening test for new candidates, then did some paperwork for the ones who actually passed, then another PT/beatdown especially for us, and then ran in circles being hazed/tortured/indoctrinated by the Special Programs instructors for the rest the day. The purpose behind this varied from preparatory training to the personal amusement of the instructors.

As SCRUFTs, the relationship we had with the instructors, despite their daily attempts to crush our souls for the sake of a good laugh, was one of mutual respect. They knew that we were in the same position that they had once been in, would be going through the same arduous process that they once had and that some day a handful of us would be wearing the same pins as them and doing the same job, as equals. Likewise, we knew that these men had personally been through the same beatdowns that they were now putting us through. It was a matter of honor. They wouldn't do us the disservice of treating us mildly and allowing us to go into training unprepared, and we wouldn’t disrespect them by complaining about this painful process or taking it personally. Those who failed to understand this arrangement seldom stayed.

I was a 19-year old SCRUFT when one of the main instructors, a SEAL nicknamed El Guapo, retired. All the SCRUFTs were invited to his retirement ceremony; a small, personal affair.

El Guapo had been the lead instructor for most of our morning workouts. He had the capacity to terrorize hundreds of students at once, and we had all had our commitment tested by his personal face to face tirades that inevitably followed any sort of misstep or sign of weakness. He was also a valued mentor, and had patiently guided most of through the process of finding our way into special programs.

After a few speakers stepped aside, El Guapo took the podium and gave a short speech. He spoke to his family, his fellow instructors and then he turned to the SCRUFTs and addressed us.

He cleared his throat and paused. I could see the muscles in his jaw clench. "All of you… You will have your Waterloo. Each and every one of you; it doesn’t matter how good you are."

He stopped again and the jaw muscles flexed, relaxed and flexed. His eyes welled with tears.

"Something is out there waiting for you and it will completely destroy you. The time will come that you don’t think you can possibly go on. Please. Please, don't quit. It will end, and you can make it to the other side. Just don’t quit."

Those words stuck with me for years, and still remain. I knew that somewhere in training I would hit bottom. I did. And I kept going.

The only thing that really separates the guys who make it through from the guys who don’t are those three words: Just don't quit.

What about you? The day will come if it hasn’t already. It's waiting for everyone. We all take this test eventually. You will have your Waterloo.

Will you keep going despite the pain and find the other side, or will you quit?

You may be in the middle of it right now.

Perhaps it's over and that chapter of your life has been written. What was it like?

If you’ve never hit bottom, why not? Are you limiting the potential of your life by avoiding risk, or have you just been lucky?

October 05, 2008 by Craig Weller Post a Comment
It was tagged with inspiration and philosophy

Comments for This Entry

  1. Craig......Krill oil it is....where do i locate the krill to suck the oil from??? Y aknow us Wyomingites dont really know much bout supplements, but we can FISH!!!!!!
    This site looks great, good job and i'll pass the word big bird.....ps thx for the gift!

    Posted on 04:55PM on August 21, 2008 [permalink]

  2. Nearly all krill oil is manufactured by a company called Neptune Technologies because they own the patent on extracting the oil (turns out that sucking it out of the little buggers wasn't very efficient). That means that the majority of what's on the market is identical. I got mine online on vitaminshoppe, but you could probably shop around for a slightly better deal.

    Glad you like the trinket, by the way. Genuine Nepali yak bone!

    Posted on 11:12AM on August 23, 2008 [permalink]

  3. This says it all!

    “Something is out there waiting for you and it will completely destroy you. The time will come that you don’t think you can possibly go on. Please. Please, don’t quit. It will end, and you can make it to the other side. Just don’t quit.”

    Posted on 07:49AM on October 06, 2008 [permalink]

  4. "The only thing that really separates the guys who make it through from the guys who don’t are those three words: Just don’t quit."


    If you've never experienced pure hell or hit rock-bottom, you don't really know what you're made of.

    Good post.

    Posted on 09:02AM on October 07, 2008 [permalink]

  5. I am a little behind in reading these articles, but I found krill oil at Good Earth. It was $29.95 for 60 softgels.

    Posted on 07:37PM on October 14, 2008 [permalink]

  6. How do you know when its happened though?

    I broke up with my ex - the first girl I slept with and had feelings for - and despite being in a eight month relationship since her and also being almost two years since we broke up, I still think of her - often, most hours, a repetitive series of thoughts.

    Is this my waterloo? I spent a year missing her, not doing anything, cyber stalking her and generally not living life - then I met her and she told me all the stuff she had done and I got really jealous - despite some of it being just sick and makes her look worthless.

    Is overcoming the demons from this girl and finally moving on my waterloo? It certainly feels that way or maybe I am just over analysing as usual. How do you know though? Is there a sign or a way to know when its happening??

    Posted on 05:22PM on May 28, 2009 [permalink]

  7. @Ian,

    I can look back on a number of times in my life thus far that served as "Waterloos." I don't really think that we're limited to just one of them. One at a time, perhaps, but the act of living, carrying on and facing new risks and challenges inevitably sets us up for new obstacles. The thing is that we have to face and overcome each of them as they are presented.

    As Henley wrote, "Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade and yet the menace of the years finds, and shall find, me unafraid."

    It sounds like this would be a situation that serves as your Waterloo. You're aware of how it is negatively affecting you and the need to overcome it, so now is the time to choose to give in or just keep going. You can rise above it all if you so choose and as I see it the only real failure is to give up on happiness.

    Let go.

    Posted on 01:34AM on July 19, 2009 [permalink]

  8. Hi Craig,

    Thank you so much for that reply, it really helped.

    I am using 'Let Go' as my mantra. If I find myself thinking of her, talking of her etc, I just say that to myself and cut it off right there and change tact or go back to working. It stops the negative cycle from continuing in my head and making me feel bad, sad, depressed etc.

    Now onto learning how to take more risks and becoming more Adventurous in life - so many things that I want to do and I have done none of them. I'm 26 now, that was just the warm up. Time to start living ...

    Posted on 02:56AM on July 20, 2009 [permalink]

  9. I think I have had a Waterloo.

    Just three weeks after starting out as a first year teacher (which in itself something many teachers dread but know that they have to work through it), I learned that my Mom has been hospitalized because of a massive stroke. I suddenly had to worry about all of her responsibilities, to think about advocating for her, to deal with the new concept that my Mom (who has already been there for me) may not be in my life anymore (especially being told, two days later, that she had a very little chance to live beyond a week and, if so, would be living in a long term care indefinitely), and to see my Mom being transformed from being my "Mom" to a person who wasn't lucid at all. Later, she began to slowly recover and exceeded what was expected. Then, I asked for her to be transferred to a hospital closer to where I was living. Next, she went to a rehabilitation hospital. Soon, I was picking her up every Friday night and returning her back on Sunday night so that she can get a break away from the hospital and eat non-hospital food, have her privacy, etc. I'd also have to go to the hospital for weekly visits due to meetings, etc.

    On top of all of this, I had to try to figure how to teach three different subjects that I didn't know much about. I also had workshops that I was required to attend once a month at a location that was 3.5 hours in the other direction. Being under the gun for performance appraisals and, later, for missing so many days due to taking care of things related to my Mom. Additionally, she was only allowed to be released to my care, which meant I had to do the care-giving and provide the attention that she needed whenever I was home from work.

    It was a long-lasting Waterloo. From mid-Sept 06 to April 09. She still is in my care, but is a bit more independent in the sense that she is comfortable at home and can get out and about if she wants to. The legacy of this Waterloo is everlasting. I have been changed immensely.

    And, whenever I hear about first-year teachers or "experienced" teachers talk about how awful their first year, I just internally shake my head and remember how the challenge of being a first-year teacher was absolutely nothing compare to what I had gone through with respect to my Mom having her stroke.

    And, now I'm trying to get out of my own Waterloo that I've been battling with. I've been too intimidated to do what I want to do until the fall of 2008 and more so since 2009 started. I'm creating a place for me in my own life instead of having my life be wrapped around serving to others. I started stepping out of this box by signing up for a course on learning how to run a 5km. Since completing it, I'm now working on something related to wanting to be more athletic, in better shape, and muscular. I've decided to do this through functional training, which is something that I stumbled upon late last winter. I'm glad to say that this Waterloo hasn't taken me as low as the first Waterloo that I described. I hope to not experience that low again, but I now know that I am more ready for those gut-wrenching challenges - if they ever came again.

    Posted on 08:02PM on November 14, 2009 [permalink]

  10. A great posting , many years ago at a DT instructor school in the US I heard an inspirational story that originally came from the military , I believe it was tiled "Can you do it on fire" it was about a famous military leader in ancient China (I believe) who was so inspirational to his men and had trainied them so well (mentaly) that they defeated an enemy that used jars of fiery oil hurled at charging troops. Most armies retreated when their front ranks of men caught on fire from the oil, but this army charged on , his men never stopped even as their clothing and armour was engulfed in fire. The enemy who was used to terrifing others were terrified by the charging flaming troops and were defeated. Hence the , yes you can do it , but can you do it on fire.... Has anyone heard this story ?? I wish I had written it down , I believe it was based on a factual person, I just discovered this blog and I look forward t reading more postings and if anyone has heard this story perhaps they could e mail it to me.
    Thanks
    Dane Berringer

    Posted on 09:44AM on May 03, 2010 [permalink]

  11. Do you have a follow-up? I am looking forward to the results of your trial, I have been taking fish oil for about 6 months and am curious if there is a benefit to switching to krill oil. As always excellent material, take care.

    Posted on 06:33AM on July 14, 2010 [permalink]

  12. Has anyone heard this story "Can you do it on fire" I left out my e mail , please contact me if you have heard it
    Thanks
    Dane
    dane.berringer@yahoo.ca

    Posted on 04:51PM on August 26, 2010 [permalink]

  13. Can I really Craig...? Make it to the other side without being destroyed? Do u believe that?

    Posted on 04:03AM on December 02, 2011 [permalink]

  14. And what Marshall said...

    Posted on 05:18AM on December 02, 2011 [permalink]

Comments are closed for this post.