There’s something around football that simply lends chin to the melodramatic emotions of our youth. It’s the the next socially agree approximation to gladiatorial combat young guys in our modern civilized civilization can pursue, and also as such, it tends to host an honored ar in our hearts. The gridiron is wherein we verified our mettle; whereby we discovered that toughness within united state we constantly hoped was there.

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And then, as with that, it’s gone. For most of us, football end right approximately when real life begins, and also you’re left through no selection but to trade in her pads and passion for a steady job and also a heap of bills. Although ns once had actually college football aspirations, one injury price me the opportunity, and also I found myself working as a gyeongju mechanic alongside a dozen other “coulda beens”–if only we’d made the one critical tackle, dodged the one block, or chased the dream while ours knees were still strong enough come hack it.

I join the naval Corps at 21 year old and also with no intentionally of detect my method back top top the field. Ns had uncovered my way to rugby after my university football “career” ended, however as I confirm in come my an initial duty terminal at 29 Palms, California, neither to be on my mind. That is, until I noticed the battalion team practicing just a few blocks away from mine barracks room.

The next season, i earned myself a beginning spot ~ above the battalion team, which brought about a spot on the basic team, and also eventually, come the an initial of two marine Corps championships. Those successes, however, were hard earned… together playing ball for the Corps wasn’t quite like it had actually been ago home in the hills that Vermont.


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Playing pulling guard meant I at least obtained a running start before I tried to smash these dudes.

You’re playing versus Marines, few of whom room battle-hardened veterans.

As Al Pacino once so eloquently put it, football is a game of inches. For all the strategy, practice, and an approach involved, football is one of the few places left that sheer toughness remains a high-value commodity. Sometimes, when whatever else is even, it’s the man that’s ready to hurt that’ll obtain the task done. Occasionally you have to choose in between the game and your safety. Knowing that getting to for that sphere thrown throughout the flats against a ar defense will nearly certainly mean taking a helmet to the sternum and choosing to do it anyway isn’t something you’re taught. It’s simply who girlfriend are.

In many leagues, you’ll be lucky to discover a couple of players ready to throw your bodies into the grinder for a “W.” In the marine Corps, we currently live in the grinder. Infantry units field teams in between combat deployments, Marines to visit football practices between training rotations in martial arts and on the rifle range. Mental and also physical toughness is a prerequisite to success in the Corps, and also as such, the playing ar is ripe with guys willing come hurt in stimulate to achieve their goals.


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The points we perform to have actually a Sergeant major hand us a wooden football. (U.S. Marine Corps photograph by Sgt. Scott Schmidt)

Service members prosper on vain (and that have the right to really suck).

Playing football in the maritime Corps comes with a level of compete social pressure that have the right to really only be contrasted to some high-level university teams. When you’re ~ above a squad with a shoot at some trophies, you’re representing an ext than the team itself, you’re representing her unit. The commanding general may not give a sh*t about your last inspection, yet he does about the score of this week’s game. A slew that wins have the right to make friend feel favor a celebrity, yet a bad loss have the right to make friend ashamed to show your confront at work… or in front of your commanding officer.

Marines, perhaps much more than other services, space in a perpetual state the competition. Prefer Ricky Bobby, if us aren’t first, we’re last… and nobody’s going to let friend forget it.


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We’re all below with a task to do. (U.S. Maritime Corps photo by Cpl. Albert F. Hunt)

The Corps constantly comes first.

If girlfriend play football for a effective college program, you’re supposed to store up through your grades, but otherwise, the sport is her job. Naval Corps football deserve to be a lot prefer that–with the duties of the sport occasionally taking precedence over various other duties (like when you go TAD/TDY for away games), but at the end of the day, the naval Corps is a warfighting institution.

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Infantry units, for instance, frequently had their periods cut short by ar requirements or combat deployments. Football player on her team would certainly be pulled from the roster come augment a deploying unit. Critical season’s star quarterback may miss this season due to the fact that he has to travel for training or worse, since he’s been hurt or killed since we last took the field. Football is a means of life for most that love the sport, but nothing supersedes the Corps. We’re Marines first, football players second, and also if we’re lucky, we ultimately get to it is in old guys writing stories around our days with an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor on ours helmets.