Nations have been turning citizens into soldiers for as long as anyone can remember. And over time, no matter the nation, the process hasn’t changed a great deal, as it has proven tried and true.
First, the military breaks down the individual recruits – cutting off their hair, dressing them alike, housing them together in close quarters – in order to build a cohesive unit. Then they teach precision through constant drilling until a finely tuned military force has been forged.
One of the first lessons in unit cohesion is everyone is responsible for everyone else. And if one makes a mistake, all pay the price. For instance, if one recruit decides he doesn’t want to take a shower every day in boot camp, it eventually falls to the other recruits to drag him to the showers for a late night cold water scrubbing with a hard bristled brush. It is not the drill sergeant who does this, it is the rank recruit’s own fellow privates. That cold-water scrubbing tends to get the message across. If one recruit screws up in training, the entire platoon does extra pushups or low crawl. Eventually, life for the screw-up is made intolerable by his fellow recruits until he gets his act in order.
Bringing this analogy into the world of athletics, until the athletes themselves take some responsibility to deal with their own in this matter of doping, the situation will never be resolved. Every athlete only wants to train and race, total focus. And that is fully understandable. But that only works if the sport is in good health, and this one is not. (more…)