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Matt Leinart Gets Clipped.

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I love to bash USC, and find reasons to do so even when they are the middle of a pretty good run on the gridiron. (Though I have to remind people that the only 14-game, undefeated national champion in college fotball in this millenium is the 2002 Ohio State national championship squad.)

But even I have to wonder what the point of the Los Angeles Times’ top of the sports page blast at Leinart’s light academic load this year. Leinart’s taking exactly one course –ballroom dancing– because he’s already completed everything else he needs to graduate. As Leinart explains to the paper: “I came back for my fifth year, and I’m taking what’s necessary for me to graduate. And that’s two units.”

By all accounts, Leinart is a great young man and a great athlete. Unlike a lot of stories about college athletes, this one doesn’t involve violence, greed, or any sort of excess. It involves a student who got his work done and chose to pass by millions in order to play with his team one more year.

So the Times goes out of its way to headline “The Last Waltz.” I guess the paper was worried that some kid might admire Leinart instead of wanting to grow up to be a sportswriter.

That having been said, the Trojans still have the easiest schedule in the Top 20. I am surprized they didn’t find room to take on Oberlin.

More on Michael Yon’s “Gates of Fire”

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Jeff Kouba provides some liner notes on Yon’s “Gates of Fire.”

And this e-mail from a Navy special operator:

Sir,

Another element that shines through with Mr. Yon’s reporting;

A Glimpse of one of the most powerful Narcotics in existence; THE ADMIRATION OF THOSE YOU ADMIRE.

When you are a leader of men, and it is evident to those men that you admire them, the reflected admiration is enormously powerful. Both up and down the Chain of Command.

To acquire the admiration of men you respect is the Narcotic drug that keeps men at this type of work, and may explain the high level of re-enlistment of units engaged in combat. You are willing to endure tremendous hardship/strife/separation and misery, just for that flash admiration.

Evidence; SGT Lama’s response to the Col, when the Col assigned Lama to his PSD. He got out of bed to assume his position. That simple gesture demonstrates what Pressfield eloquently described in Gates of Fire.

And a youth pastor finds much to mine in “Gates of Fire.”

Hughniverse

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