"As long as a man thinks, he is free." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
I shared this story at one of the first Dude Squad meetings and since we have added many new dudes to the ranks I thought it wouldn't hurt to briefly revisit it. When American POWs in Vietnam were scheduled for release, their captors put them in low-security holding facilities and allowed them to mingle with one another. Not knowing how long they had to wait, the POWs quickly organized themselves into an informal school in which anyone with knowledge of any topic could teach a class or lead a discussion. I've always carried that story with me. It is in the spirit of those men that I salute the Dude Squad this Memorial Day weekend.
I want to thank Trevor Beck for such a memorable Dude Squad event. We have certainly come a long way from our humble origins in my cramped little apartment to enjoying ping-pong, billiards, and a view of the mighty Pacific. I felt a little as if I were about to sprout donkey ears like the boys on Pleasure Island in Pinnochio. I think the only way to one-up the Club House is to rent Air Force One for the next meeting. I'll see what I can do.
Our ranks are swelling, which is always welcome, and we had a collegial discussion of A Sense of Where You Are. It was mentioned that 'a sense of where you are' could be a sports metaphor for finding direction in life since reaching a destination requires a knowledge of one's location with regard to important goals. One stat was offered, I forget by whom, that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to really master any skill. I'm going to remember this the next time a guy with a cast on his foot beats me at ping-pong.
Our last meeting kicked off our first ever Obscure Sports Ping-Pong Tournament. In line with the book's theme of competitive sports, we wrapped up discussion early in order to re-live the glory days of college ping-pong. Rising swiftly through the ranks was Sam Gilstrap who met up with Richard Norman in the final round. After a tenaciously fought battle by both athletes, the victory finally went to the guy without a cast on either leg: Sam. Congratulations, you must be proud!
Next month's meeting will be announced shortly. We will be reading Brent's selection The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria. Before I close, I'd like to mention those in attendance at the Club House: Brent Christensen, Tyler Wilson, Scott Silva, Cass Glasser, Troy Thorup, Leo Bunting, Jason, Sam Gilstrap, Mike Mallory, Jim Sparks, Trevor Beck, Richard Norman, John Root.
Gentlemen, it has been a pleasure.