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Type II Fun

posted Apr 18, 2016, 9:46 PM by Brian Pratt   [ updated Apr 18, 2016, 9:51 PM ]

(originally posted Monday, February 1, 2016)

We just got back from our snow cave overnight up on Mount Rainier.  The snow covered road wasn't open until noon on Saturday so by the time we got to the site around 1:30, we didn't have a lot of daylight left.  Everybody had to work fast, and dig hard.  We all got tired and the shelters were of varying size and completeness, but most were serviceable.

Most of the Scouts had a comfortable night, but one or two were a little under prepared, or inexperienced, and had a rough evening.  Finally I got them sorted out and into a spare tent, and dry clothing, so nobody died, but there were some dark moments and audible moans of "why did I decide to come on this outing?"

And yet, when we got back to the Safeway parking lot Sunday afternoon, all smiles.

This is what mountaineers call "Type II Fun".  "Type I Fun" describes stuff that's fun while you're doing it, like a nice powder day in a lift-serviced ski area, or nachos and a Seahawks game.  "Type II Fun" is stuff that, while you're doing it, actually kind of sucks, but when you look back you're happy you did it and you know you want to do it again.

Type II fun is the best kind of fun.  It's the kind that gives you stories to tell.  It's the kind you hear about in every Eagle Scout speech.  Type I fun is boring to talk about and worse to listen to, but Type II fun is epic.

When I think of the remarkable adults I personally know, the ones finding new worlds within the human genome, or who helped start Amazon and are now working to eradicate illiteracy with e-books on cell phones in developing nations, or the doctors and lawyers that you're happy to sit down and have a drink with, every last one of them has tales of Type II fun to share.  There is correlation and, I believe, causation in this.  Awesome people have awesome Type II fun.  Other people only ever have normal Type I fun.

So Scouts, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Don't skip an outing just because you think you might get wet or cold.  Parents, nudge and support your Scouts in pushing their boundaries, which will probably push yours.  This is the good stuff, the (Type II) fun stuff that makes boys into men (and, yes, girls into powerful women).  This is WHY WE ARE SCOUTS.

Finally, let me leave you with the most extreme example of Type II fun I know:

We choose to go to the Moon! ... We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win ... - John F. Kennedy

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