I was in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve a long time ago. Seems like another lifetime, really. My section leader was Master Corporal Jones.
There were two Master Corporal Jones’s. One was black and one was white. The white one was my section leader. In the armed forces, in those days, political correctiveness was not the order of the day.
I had just turned 17 and part of my basic training was a leisurely walk across the Base Border Desert. Understand, though, that a walk in this sense meant 50lbs of kit on my back, webbing strapped to my body, having to wear a helmet, carry my weapon ‘at arms’, and trotting along in my combat boots (“big, black Cadillacs”). For about 26km. I started good, but I faded towards the end. I’ve never been physical.
He got me to look at my feet and put one foot in front of the other. That was my goal. Keep doing that. And as I got more and more confident, he told me to raise my head towards the horizon and continue to set my goals.
And he did this while grabbing my webbing and dragging my ass a kilometre or two until I got my rhythm.
The army was a long, long time ago. But I’m glad that in my new life, I’ve still got people in it that keep me going like he did.