As some might already know, I am a member of the Utah National Guard. And a few of you might know that I deployed to Iraq back in 2003-2004. TBS was in its infancy and sent me – as thank you for my service – DVDs of the 2003 season (although for some reason, I never got a copy of the Boise St. or Colorado St. games). Some might be aware that my unit was recently alerted for a mobilization next spring, this time to Afghanistan.
Believe it or not, I really am a ravenous BYU fan. I may not drink of the Kool-Aid as freely as others, but I am definitely behind this team. I believe they can do great things this year.
With my name on the list for the spring's deployment, my physical training has taken on new meaning. Our unit has been in touch with the current unit "down range" and we have a few soldiers who have just returned, and all have said that the mission with which we are being tasked is very demanding physically.
Traipsing up and down mountains in Afghanistan is not for the faint of heart. They said that the elevation starts at Provo and only goes up from there. Lugging our equipment up and down those mountain sides takes some getting used to – even for those already in great physical condition.
As I stand a good chance of having to strap on my pack and cavort in the Hindu Kish mountains, I decided I needed to get "fully invested" in my training regimen. So what better place to become fully invested than "Y" Mountain?
It took me 42 minutes and 27 seconds to make it up and down "Y" Mountain. Sete Aulai recently made it to the top in about 27 minutes. Not having climbed the "Y" in several years, I used Sete's time as an initial goal. I strapped on my Camelbak and turned on my iPod and set out.
The first song seemed to be mocking me as Mick Jagger started singing, "I'll never be your beast of burden." It was only a few hundred feet in when I started to feel the steepness and felt like a beast of burden. I was a little disappointed when I stepped onto the white-plastered letter and looked at my watch tick past 28 minutes 21 seconds. Sete had beaten me by nearly 90 seconds – while lugging more than 90 additional pounds.
It was then I decided that BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall was doing things the right way. If he can get a 300-pound offensive lineman to climb "Y" Mountain as fast as Sete did (and he was the last BYU lineman to finish) then he can certainly get them ready to play Division-I football.
As I caught my breath at the top of the trail, Bon Jovi starting singing a little-known tune called "The Fire Inside." I got up, tightened my straps and successfully jogged all the way down. I got to my truck and blasted the AC. At 6:03 p.m. I decided that a weekly climb up "Y" Mountain would become part of my conditioning and preparation for my next mob.
I want my fire inside to burn brightly and to be strong enough to carry me through my time down range. I want to be fully invested in my mobilization. I want to be ready for it when it comes. I want to put in the hard work now so when the whistle blows, I'll be able to give 100 percent. I want to be in such condition that I can dominate the "fourth quarter."
Like the upcoming 2007 season, there are lots of questions that need to be answered by various players. But if they put in the work now, they will be ready to answer them. Just like the Cougar football team, I am fully invested in their season.
I really believe that they can become a great team. They have all the makings. They have a solid front seven on defense and experienced players in the secondary. They have an outstanding and experienced offensive line. There are proven playmakers at both running back and wide receiver. The tight ends could be the most talented corps in school history. The quarterback, while green, is certainly capable.
But most importantly, they believe. They have a coach who has established correct principles of hard work and proper preparation. They have laid the groundwork to be successful. The formula has been established. They just need to fill in the right variables.
I'll keep you all informed at how my weekly "Y" Mountain expedition goes. Hopefully, by the time I deploy, my foundation will be as solid as the Cougar football team's, and I'll go on to be as successful as they are.