Sanchez, the Little Fighter from Mexico

“Thank you, Drill Sergeant Perkins,” responded Sergeant Honeyman, taking his position between the two eager squads. “The rules are simple. Each recruit must wear a protective helmet, protective footgear and boxing gloves to participate. Members of each squad will be paired with an opponent of like size and weight. Only two recruits will be inside the ring at one time. You will fight for a full two-minute round. You are allowed to punch or kick your opponent – no head butting is allowed. At the end of the two-minute round, the buzzer will sound. The fight is then over. You will stop fighting and shake hands. Do you all understand?”

“Sir, yes, sir!” screamed the two squads of recruits.

The two Sergeants compared rosters, pairing up the squads by size and weight.

“Sanchez from Upsilon and Ranier from Alpha, barked Sergeant Honeyman. “You two are first. Grab your gear and get in the ring.”

Sanchez was a twelve-year-old girl, who came from a proud boxing heritage in Mexico. Her father was a professional boxer who, for a short time, had actually held the title of Welterweight Champion of the World. Sanchez spent most of her spare time at the gym to be near her Ager father. While there, young Sanchez developed some impressive boxing skills – as young Ranier from Alpha Squad would soon learn.

Buzzzzz! Sounded the timer.

From the very beginning Ranier was eager to attack. She hit her gloves together and rushed toward Sanchez. Ranier stepped forward and threw a wild haymaker punch. Sanchez leaned backwards slightly and watched the misguided punch blow by. Sanchez then followed with a blazing left hook and connected with the exposed Jaw. Ranier’s knees buckled as she dropped to the mat like a twenty-pound bag of potatoes falling from the back of a truck. Merely four seconds into the fight young Ranier was lying semi-conscious upon the mat. She struggled to focus her glassy eyes, making a goofy face, and muttering something about moon-glow as she stared up at the lights above the ring.

The members of Upsilon exploded in cheer while Alpha Squad kicked the ground, grumbling, disappointed.

Sanchez removed her headgear and grinned proudly as she exited the boxing ring. Upsilon hugged her and rubbed her head for good luck. Several Alpha Squad members helped Ranier slide out of the ring and watched as she wobbled toward a metal chair in the corner of the room.

“Next,” yelled Sergeant Honeyman, checking the clipboard, “let’s have Dubois from Upsilon and Walker from Alpha.”

The Recruits Finally Get a Break

Sergeant Perkins observed as the new recruits of Upsilon Squad settled into their new accommodations. After a full day, the ten recruits had finally stowed their gear inside their footlockers and Perkins took his leave, promising to return early the next morning at 5 a.m. Finally, the recruits could relax without a Sergeant barking out orders.

“Holy, cats! What a day,” said Jackson Shepherd, falling into his bed, doubling the pillow over behind his head. “I’ve never had so many people teach me how to do every little thing. I had a kid actually show me how to properly button a button.”

“I know, right?” added Ian Thomas, sitting upon the edge of his bunk. “The way they treated us like babies, I expected Perkins to give me a sack of diapers.”

The other recruits laughed out loud. The entire squad began to loosen up and enjoy themselves.

“Yes, and I had a Sergeant show me how to properly hold a bottle of water, so as to not spill it down my chin when I drank,” teased Weber, the young German recruit.

“I was upset when Sergeant Perkins left us alone for two minutes to eat our sandwiches,” joked Espinoza, the boy from a small Spanish mountain village of Trevélez. “I needed him to cut the crust off my bread.”

“Be careful what you wish for,” warned Chu, from Lijiang, China. “Tomorrow is another day and Perkins may help you eat your sandwich.”

“Hey, Espinoza,” cracked Irwin, the young Australian girl from Perisher Village. “If Perkins won’t help you eat your sandwich, I will!”

“I’ll take half of that sandwich if Perkins doesn’t want it,” laughed Gregory, the Canadian from Alberta.

“And, did you see Perkins’ messed up finger?” Jackson cracked, wiggling his pinky in the air. “A kid in the supply room told me he blew off his little finger during weapons training a couple years back. That’s why they call him, Pinky. Oh, man! Ouch!”

The recruits cackled hysterically at Perkins’ misfortune. Weber and Sanchez almost completely lost consciousness from laughing so hard.

The children continued to enjoy their first evening together and especially enjoyed making jokes about Drill Sergeants. Before long, taps began to play through the wall speakers. Drill Sergeant Perkins had instructed the recruits, on more than one occasion, that taps meant lights out and time for bed. No exceptions! All recruits were expected to be well rested for a full day of hard work. Training would begin promptly at 5 a.m. with a blast of the much-talked-about Air-Horn.