From guest contributor John Tarleton of The Indypendent:
- “Whatever I can do to help, I’m here to do,” says Drill Sergeant Alex Self.
Self, however, isn’t stationed in Iraq or Ft. Jackson, South Carolina where he previously prepared recruits for the rigors of military life. Instead, he’s been cast in a supporting role alongside Hall-of-Fame linebacker Dick Butkus in a reality TV show about a smalltown high school football team that’s trying to change it’s losing ways.
“Bound For Glory”, which airs on ESPN Tuesdays at 10 p.m., follows the ups and downs of the Montour (PA.) Spartans, which finished last season with a 1-8 record. Butkus and former Denver Broncos cornerback Ray Crockett are the coaches while Self is in charge of physical and mental conditioning. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but the economically devastated town where the show takes place is fertile ground for military recruiters.
Self, who paces the practice field in full military uniform including his Smokey the Bear drill sergeant’s hat, is currently featured on the goarmy.com website. In his weekly journal he never misses a chance to note the similarities between football and the Army, including the fact that soldiers and football players both drink a lot of water. He also makes the best of his chance to talk up the Army.
“One thing I find interesting,” he writes, “is that they [the players] are absolutely curious about the Army. I get questions like, ‘Have you ever killed anyone? Have you ever killed anyone with your bare hands?’ They don’t understand what we actually do. It’s a good opportunity to tell them what we really do.”