Friday, October 5, 2007

Mandatory Fun

Today was a pretty eventful day, if I say so myself, not because I was swamped with work, as is normal, but because it was my unit's organizational day, which we soldiers label "Mandatory Fun". As you can see by the look on my face at the beginning of this event, it's a mix of "Oh, here we go again *Sigh*" and "Ooooh, this does have some potential!" One of my best friends, Raven (who's about to choke me for photographing her earlier, without her knowledge or permission), usually ends up showing her distain for these types of events, as she's very gothic oriented, doesn't care for extreme sunlight and doesn't like social events with people she works with, as she is like I am, ANTI-SOCIAL with co-workers. It's just that she, like I am, is an intellectual type who doesn't care about talking about sports, gossip or meanspirited conversations about this person or that, which often is the usual subject at these functions. But, most importantly, as a senior to most of these soldiers, I always keep my life private as much as possible, so that the "wall" of professionalism, which is the seperation of leader and subordinate remains intact.

Yet, what was suprising though, was by the end of this day, Raven was echoing the same as I was, which I'll explain in a few paragraphs below. One thing that made this event actually decent was that it was held in Harker Heights at a park near city hall, which provided a very nice view of the hills and the more photogenic portion of Harker Heights.

What I thought was going to be a day of misery and woe, as most organizational days are, this one wasn't so bad. I guess because I actually took the time to just relax, talk to other soldiers in a "civilian" mode, rather than focus on work related issues. Then there was the difference in how people in uniform actually show their personalities through clothing. Many of my fellow soldiers actually looked like "normal" people, rather than exhibiting the "soldierly" mannerisms and vocabulary. We all let our hair down so to speak, and enjoyed a pretty decent day.
I was happy to see my soldiers actually joke with me and treat me as "one of the boys" where normally, they would shy away or try to outright avoid me, because I am definitely one of those stereotypical "drill sergeant" types, who's by the book and strict. Today, all of that was gone, as I played football and had a good time, even though my company's team lost and was knocked out of the tournament. Yeah, that was pretty embarrassing, as last year and the year before, we were the champions. Then, to compound the lousy performance of our football team, our frisbee football team placed last, as did our basketball team. That totally sucked as, last year all of my company's teams won and swept all of the tournaments, and talked major noise this year, because we were the champs!

Oh, well, you can't win them all, but even though we lost, the sense of camaraderie was there in full effect.

As the day wore on in the 90 degree heat, I spent most of the day just talking and re-establishing old friendships, reworking new friendships and just enjoying the company of people who I really felt that I didn't have any actual warm feelings for. Yet, through this day, the common feeling from most that I talked to (which was almost everyone there) was that, they didn't feel like being there, but, were actually having fun.
My only major downside, besides losing in football, was that my Sharon wasn't there to enjoy this day with me, and that cerain longing that I've grown accustomed to, but still don't like, was there hovering in the background. Missing someone whom you're totally in love with and committed to, does really gnaw at your heart and cause you pain, but the main consolation is that, she will be here in Texas in about 11 weeks! So, that does kind of dull the pain a bit, but seeing loving couples stealing a quick kiss, holding each other or walking hand and hand, really stands out to me. Yes! I'm jealous, but in a short while, I too will be able to do the same! LOL!

This time, I think my battalion got it right with the correct mix of enough events, no solid timelines for any event, and nothing forced (with the exception of being there). I hope that the next organizational day will be as this one was, not rushed, just relaxing and very pleasant.

For my soldiers who I thank for a very good day, here's some parting pictures, and let's do this again sometime!

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