There’s something about football that simply lends chin to the melodramatic emotions of our youth. It’s the the next socially agree approximation to gladiatorial combat young men in our modern-day civilized human being can pursue, and also as such, it tends to organize an honored place in our hearts. The gridiron is wherein we showed our mettle; whereby we uncovered that toughness within us we constantly hoped was there.

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And then, just like that, it’s gone. For many of us, football end right approximately when real life begins, and you’re left through no selection but to trade in your pads and also passion for a steady job and also a pile of bills. Although ns once had actually college football aspirations, an injury expense me that opportunity, and I discovered myself functioning as a race mechanic together a dozen various other “coulda beens”–if just we’d made that one last tackle, dodged that one block, or chased the dream while our knees to be still strong enough come hack it.

I join the maritime Corps in ~ 21 years old and also with no intentionally of recognize my means back ~ above the field. I had discovered my way to rugby ~ my university football “career” ended, however as I confirm in come my very first duty terminal at 29 Palms, California, neither was on my mind. The is, till I noticed the battalion team practicing simply a few blocks far from my barracks room.

The next season, ns earned myself a starting spot on the battalion team, which led to a clues on the basic team, and also eventually, to the first of two naval Corps championships. Those successes, however, were difficult earned… as playing sphere for the Corps wasn’t quite favor it had actually been earlier home in the hills the Vermont.

Playing pulling guard intended I at least acquired a running start before I tried come smash these dudes.

You’re playing versus Marines, some of whom space battle-hardened veterans.

As Al Pacino as soon as so eloquently placed it, football is a game of inches. For all the strategy, practice, and an approach involved, football is just one of the few places left that sheer toughness continues to be a high-value commodity. Sometimes, when everything else is even, it’s the guy that’s willing to hurt that’ll obtain the project done. Sometimes you have to choose in between the game and also your safety. Knowing that reaching for that round thrown throughout the flats versus a zone defense will virtually certainly typical taking a helmet to the sternum and also choosing to do it anyway isn’t something you’re taught. It’s simply who girlfriend are.

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

The things we perform to have a Sergeant significant hand us a wood football. (U.S. Maritime Corps picture by Sgt. Scott Schmidt)

Service members grow on vain (and that deserve to really suck).

Playing soccer in the marine Corps comes with a level of competitive social press that deserve to really just be compared to some high-level college teams. When you’re ~ above a squad with a shooting at part trophies, you’re representing more than the team itself, you’re representing her unit. The commanding general may not give a sh*t around your critical inspection, but he does around the score that this week’s game. A slew that wins have the right to make you feel like a celebrity, but a bad loss can make girlfriend ashamed to display your face at work… or in prior of her commanding officer.

Marines, perhaps much more than various other services, room in a perpetual state the competition. Like Ricky Bobby, if we aren’t first, we’re last… and nobody’s going come let girlfriend forget it.

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

The Corps constantly comes first.

If you play football for a effective college program, you’re supposed to store up through your grades, however otherwise, the sport is your job. Naval Corps football can be a lot favor that–with the responsibilities of the sport occasionally taking precedence over other duties (like as soon as you walk TAD/TDY for away games), but at the finish of the day, the marine Corps is a warfighting institution.

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Infantry units, for instance, often had their periods cut short by field requirements or combat deployments. Football player on your team would be traction from the roster come augment a deploying unit. Critical season’s star quarterback might miss this season because he has to travel because that training or worse, since he’s been injured or killed because we critical took the field. Soccer is a means of life for many that love the sport, but nothing supersedes the Corps. We’re Marines first, football players second, and also if we’re lucky, we eventually get to be old men writing stories about our days through an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor on our helmets.