By SFC Ronald Black, Warrior Games Track and Field Team Squad Leader
Warrior Games is a once in a lifetime experience. I was blessed to be able to attend the Games for a second year to cheer on the Army team. It was a privilege to be among wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans who gave significant sacrifices for our freedom. It was a proud feeling.
Being part of Warrior Games was exciting, especially for track and field, because I saw the competiveness in each Soldier when they were training and challenging each other. The motivation and the drive to push each other and themselves to the limit was so amazing to watch. Knowing I had a part in helping make this a reality for our wounded warriors was awesome.
Throughout the training week and the competition, I was at a loss for words. Seeing a few familiar faces from last year and hearing the guys talk about how they were going to beat the Marines and take it all was so great. I could feel the excitement. Knowing our wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans haven’t lost the will to compete and haven’t let their disability hold them back was astonishing.
I also noticed how everyone seemed to pick a battle buddy. This person became someone they could go to for their power or spiritual support.
As the battle rhythm began to kick in, the coaches helped the competitors become more focused, and the preparation from Kaitlyn Donohoe, the track and field performance enhancement specialist, and associated specialists was awesome. They pulled the team together when the athletes seemed to get out of sync and helped them stay focused.
In the final days of training it was like night and day. Our team was ready. I could see the seriousness on their faces and was just amazed. I was, and still am, proud to be a part of this team.