By Patricia Sands, WTC Stratcom
The score was 44 to 19, and what a game it was!
It was the clash of the Titans. The Army had to closely hold the Marines in the last half. They were putting on the pressure to turn the game, but the Army was on it. The Marines did not easily surrender the championship from last year. The Army team, under the guidance of coach Doug Garner, came together as a rolling force that could not be stopped. The team of ten wanted it and they got it. They made us proud last Friday night. It was a very rough game with many crashes and wheelchairs turned over. My jaw dropped at the speed and aggression that this game is played. Their skill and dexterity is tremendous and appears to be a full contact sport. The Army won, and they won with honor.
Winning. That phrase is often misused. Look at the folks in the photos on this blog. They were winners even before they rolled onto the court. There are no actors at the Warrior Games. The men and women are the real deal. They are Soldiers that gave of themselves and their bodies to be the frontline of defense for freedom. Even after becoming injured, they stood up to show us a whole new gear at the Warrior Games. They are the definition of integrity, resiliency, and determination. Yes, they have injuries, but they are not defined by them. They push the envelope to find new skills and new successes. That is winning.
Read the blogs about these folks, they are incredible and they are going places. I met each of the players, and many of their Family members, and I count them among my friends. They are outstanding. I am certain this is just the beginning for them and their success in many directions of their lives. Garner said he doesn’t just want them to win at basketball. He wants them to win at life—a balanced life. He hopes that all the coaching, goal setting, and connections keep in the forefront of their minds and carry over to all aspects of their lives. The Army is committed to their success.
In conclusion, the difference between these games and a professional sports game was clear to me at the very end. I saw the flip of a switch when all the players lined up to shake hands at the end of the game. They were once again brothers and sisters in arms again, unified. In that regard, as tough as all the other teams were, I am glad we are on the same team when the branch jerseys come off. America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, because of men and women like these.
In the spirit of good sportsmanship, I extend my deep appreciation to all the Warrior Games teams. You have my respect and admiration. I know that next year, the other services will be hot on the Army team’s heels to try and take their win. It is going to be a long year to have to wait for such excitement again.