The Spirit of Competition by ROTC
[by MIDN Brendan McCord, '08] Every year, the Army, Navy, and Air Force duke it out in sports.
[by MIDN Brendan McCord, ’08]
The night still hung in the air at 0630 as the sun struggled to illuminate the lifeless region. In the center of the only hub of activity for miles, I waited. I was crouched, poised to act, my eyes focused directly forward. Out of my periphery I could see my comrades and I could sense that their resolve matched my own. A shrill tone broke the silence and my adrenaline spiked. In a frenzy, we coordinated a flanking attack of the enemy. They fought valiantly to repel our assault. Air strikes were effective in taking out a large number of opposing forces. I stayed back off the front line to provide ground support to my fellow soldiers. The fighting lasted for 15 minutes and I grew soaked with sweat and determination. I was lucky to still be alive. Several of my comrades had not been similarly fortunate. At long last, a joint attack decisively took out the last enemy unit.
The whistle blew. “The score of the Tri-Service Field Meet dodgeball competition is 1-0…Navy.” Every year, the Army, Navy, and Air Force duke it out in sports like soccer, ultimate frisbee, water polo, track and field, tug of war, and my personal favorite, dodgeball. The event is run entirely by Midshipmen and Cadets and trophies are presented to the victorious service.
Though I am fiercely proud of being in the Navy, when push comes to shove I knew that the guys on the other side of the court were definitely on our team. We are a group of people who will have to hang together, and there is a great sense of camaraderie because we all have each other’s back. In the fleet, the Navy will always back up the Marine Corps in projecting power ashore. Ground troops can always count on air support, and nobody is going put forth less than 110%. Some day soon, many of us will have to offer our support to comrades on the battlefield, just as we did that morning in dodgeball. It is a notion which is both sobering and uplifting.
The strength of the US military rests in its people. Leadership and excellence combine with selflessness and sacrifice and each soldier and sailor knows he can count on his fellow men and women. It took a competition like that to remind me of it so vividly.