Happy Veteran's Day to our prior and current service members. Above is a picture of me and my brother. A little Army/Navy rivalry does the family good. There is one thing we agree on: We both love Tennessee Football.
That's a picture of our family. My parents, my brother, his kids and his wife.
Today's post is about the present and the past. It's about what college football means to our service members.
Hawk and I disagree on sports matters. But when we were deployed it's what kept us at home. Our love of our teams is what gave us hope. It's what helped us get through every week. You can even say it's where our slogan here on 365 Saturday in October came from. Is it Saturday yet?
Every week we would count down the days until we could come back home to our loved ones. Come back home to the games we wanted to watch instead of the game the Armed Forces Network (AFN) decided to broadcast.
I remember the Third Saturday in October was set to air on AFN, but it was to be delayed. Hawk and I agreed not to check any scores or read any news so we could watch the game, trash talk and enjoy the event like it was happening live. Talk about a nightmare for a couple of guys who spent hours reading over every article we could get our hands on.
The time finally came for the game and our patience was to pay off. Then the AFN source feed, controlled in Texas, changed from sports to a religious program. You could imagine our horror. After calling every techie aboard the ship to try to get the game we finally took a look at the score. Of course, he was happy and I had to suffer another year of Bammer torment.
I tell you this to sum up how important sports are to those who are deployed. Not everyone has a professional sports team to cheer for. Just ask someone from Idaho. But all of us had our college teams.
College sports keeps us connected. With the states that are thousands of miles away. With the homes we left when we joined the military. With the traditions we grew up with. With the memories that help turn a day that would normally drag into a reminiscent comfort.
As a veteran, I am proud of those who have gone before me and made what we can do possible. They have ensured we can spend our Saturdays cheering our teams in the safe comfort of our homes.
Veterans like General Neyland who left his beloved Tennessee Vols in the peak of his coaching career to serve his country and help win the war.
So maybe you know someone who is deployed right now. Why not send them a little piece of home? A t-shirt, a hat, a DVD of their favorite football team. Believe me, it means the world to have that piece of home.
Until next time,
GO BIG ORANGE and HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY!
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class
USS George H.W. Bush