CORONADO, Calif. The world looks very different from forty feet up, hanging onto a rope wall. My advice? Don’t look down.
A lot of phenomenally fit people, including world-famous athletes and Olympians, have frozen at the top of the wall, which is part of the legendary obstacle course on the Navy SEAL base here in Coronado. Who knew that vertigo routinely kicks in at forty feet without a safety net?
SEALs have a reputation as the fittest and most fearless of the military’s special forces. Their legend grew even more after SEAL sharpshooters firing from a heaving ship at dusk killed three Somali pirates and freed Captain Richard Phillips after his ship had been hijacked in the Indian Ocean last year.
When I traveled to Coronado the day after the operation against the pirates, the SEALs’ reactions were consistently matter-of-fact. “It’s what we’re trained to do,” was a typical response.