Military College Ethos

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by bruno, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    VMI plays Army in football this week. As a VMI football fan - I don't really expect to win although it went to the wire last year but fundamentally it's a 1AA team with a Freshman Quarterback and a small line vs 1A team on the rebuild. But Army coach Rich Ellerson in his weekly pregame interview has a quote that I believe summarizes the attributes of VMI -or any of the Senior Military Colleges -in sports and every other endeavor-
    Go Keydets- Beat Army:thumb::rolleyes: (and then GoArmy- Beat AF & Navy!!:thumb::thumb: Coach Ellerson has definitely got Army on the turnaround from what I can see. )
    http://www.goarmysports.com/ViewArt...87&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=205019004&DB_OEM_ID=11100
     
  2. HMQ

    HMQ Member

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    You said it Bruno!

    We were at the VMI-Liberty game at Parents' Weekend - painful as it was, I was proud of the Keydet spirit that kept them trying hard up until the very last moments.

    We will be in the VMI cheering section this Saturday at West Point. Rah VMI - beat Army! :biggrin:

    HMQ
    Mother of Rat 2011+3
     
  3. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Well- I'll be there as well with my wife, Dad and Nephew - look for the guy with the black VMI hoodie :biggrin:
     
  4. SF49ers

    SF49ers Member

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    I think its pretty awesome how well all the service academies are competing this year. There's a good chance of all three making bowl games. I think we play Navy next season, and hopefully we'll get to play VMI sooner or later.
     
  5. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    NY Maritime football is 7-0 so far this season and leading their conference (ECFC). But there are more important things than football:

    This weekend- NY Maritime is playing Norwich (which is 6-1). Meanwhile VMI is going to surprise Army at Michie Stadium! "Rah Virginia Mil"! Go Keydets!
     
  6. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Although VMI went down to defeat yesterday against Army - they put a scare into Army as the second half was a completely different game then the first and the score could have looked pretty different if not for a 4th qtr interception that Army returned 70 yds for a TD. So from my seats- the Keydets had nothing to be ashamed of- played a far better game than I saw on parents weekend in Lexington.
    Congratulations to NY Maritime which clinched the ECFC championship and are 9-0 so far this season after beating Norwich which is now 7-2.
     
  7. tonk002

    tonk002 Member

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  8. sprog

    sprog Member

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    A valiant effort by VMI.

    "To win seems in vain..." Still, I'm proud that they could hang in there with the Army team. I like the quote from the USMA coach, it shows a real mutual respect between the schools.
     
  9. citadel14

    citadel14 New Member

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    I hope other military colleges support their football teams. At the Citadel its hard to support it because being on the football team is like a bye pass through all of the military stuff you do.
     
  10. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    There is always a tension between Athletes and the rest of the Corps at virtually every one of these schools as pretty much any alum will tell you - whether it is Citadel, VMI or USMA or even a Div 3 program. While Athletes do get a pass on some of the military duties which their classmates (like Citadel14) see, what their classmates often don't see is that they are sucking it up in other ways with a lot of long hours on the practice field. After you have been around the school long enough to merit having an opinion-( and as a brand new 4th classman in the class of 2014 stuck in the middle of your knob year you are not there yet- you have seen very little from any perspective but that of looking up from the bottom of your own heap)- you will discover that the time, effort and commitment that Varsity Athletes put into the school is pretty darn significant; and that they share a lot more with their fellow Cadets than is apparent to you now.

    I'm not trying to be insulting to Citadel14- but frankly- I am trying to suggest that as a new and pretty inexperienced Cadet he be less condescending to his own classmates who put in a great deal more effort representing his school than it appears that he is aware of. From my perspective (and I know from countless conversations with fellow alumni and alumni from other Military and Maritime colleges and Service Academies), What is really interesting about life at these schools is how your perspective changes as you go thru the years at the school, and how it will change again as you graduate and look back on your time at the school. At one time in your Rat experience at VMI for example the only Cadets who had things as tough as you were your squad mates, then your Company, then your circle expanded out to your class and as you went along you gradually became more and more aware that sharing the exact identical experience wasn't what bound you together- it was sharing and leading thru related tough experiences in an honorable manner.

    I get frustrated with VMI football because it has gone thru such a long and discouraging slump. But with a little perspective I long ago came to realize that those guys out there on the football field are representing my AlmaMater in a tough environment competing against teams from schools that have far more resources and far more attractive conditions in which to recruit and practice than does VMI ( or Citadel; USMA, Kings Point or any of the rest). They represent us well with the attributes that Coach Ellerson at Army attributed to the VMI team. If they don't participate in every parade or military training event - they participate as they can and in the critical ones, and they takeaway the same lessons that every other Cadet is supposed to take away about leadership, a devoted work ethic, honor and commitment. If you don't think so- re-read the story about the NY Maritime Coach Coach Kendrick-Holmes, a former USNA football player who - in the midst of the first unbeaten season in that school's history - gave that up to deploy with his Unit to Afghanistan. He could have avoided that commitment, but he recognized that there was something larger at stake. Clearly-he learned the same lessons that his classmates who never missed a drill period learned and is imparting those to his team.

    So Go Keydets! (or Bulldogs, Cadets, Black Knights, Falcons, Mariners, Privateers, Midshipmen, Bears etc... if I missed anyone it was inadvertent- I salute you all and root for all of you unless you are playing VMI :thumb:).
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  11. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    Truer words have rarely been spoken about the military college experience. I feel like I understand the beauty and the ugliness of the VMI system far better now than I ever did as a cadet, and I've only been out for a year and a half. I didn't know what it meant to love VMI, until I graduated... and I didn't know what it meant to hate VMI, until I graduated.

    Whether or not the freshmen on NCAA athletic teams worm out (the VMI term for finding a way out of stuff) of the "freshman orientation" of their respective SAs/SMCs seems to be primarily left up to the individual team.

    At VMI, the rifle team is notorious for smoking their rats throughout the Ratline. When I was a First, my BRs who were the co-captains of the rifle team decided at one point not to let the Seconds and Thirds run the rats for PT during practice, because they were being too unprofessional and the Firsts were afraid the rats were going to get injured due to stupidity. (The training didn't get easier at that point; it just got smarter.)

    For the swim team, their championships are normally two weeks after Breakout. In order to train, the coach destroys the whole team two weeks out and then they use the week before the championships as a recovery period. So the coach is destroying the team every afternoon during practice at the same time the upperclassmen are destroying the rats in barracks right before Breakout.

    Coach Reid was the head football coach my rat year, and we saw him standing on the corner of JM Hall every morning as we marched down to BRC, making sure the football players were in step. I remember Coach Reid addressing the Corps at BRC one Saturday morning. All of us non-football rats had just returned from a rifle run after having been woken up early by the RDC. Coach Reid made sure we knew that our football Brother Rats had been woken up even earlier by him, and that he smoked them in the weight room before game day. It wasn't the same experience as the rifle run, but it's not like they were sleeping in or something.

    For the past few years, the first women's soccer scrimmage has taken place during Matriculation Week. I don't know why they schedule it that way. Talk about an intense amount of pressure on the rats, since they know that if their Cadre doesn't come down to watch, they'll be grilled about it as soon as they get back up on the stoop. And then all hope of being a ghost rat slowly fades away.

    However, one of the other athletic teams at VMI is incredibly notorious for not caring about anything. My rat year, one of the First Classmen on that team complained to us that her rat year was the first time in several years that the coach didn't get them out of Breakout. She told us that it really sucked that they had to Breakout with their class.

    And I can honestly say that I don't know how I would have made it through the Ratline without some of my BRs on the basketball, football, soccer, and rifle teams--even though they rarely came to Cadre Training Time.

    Go Keydets!

    Jackie M. Briski
    VMI Class of 2009
    four-year non-athlete
     
  12. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    Something else to bear in mind about athletics at a military college: we're always at a disadvantage because--despite the fact that it might seem like freshmen get out of stuff--we hold our athletes to a higher standard.

    When you're required to go to formation, attend class, wear your uniform properly, prepare your room for inspection, and take care of who knows how many details in any given day, you don't have time for two-a-day practices.

    When your professors are there because they love the system and they take pride in the academic program, they don't make exceptions and buffer athlete grades so they'll meet the minimum GPA requirements to compete.

    When you have an Honor Code that's more than just a handful of empty words that sound pretty, athletes have to make time in their daily schedules to actually do their own work.

    Yes, this is an incredible overgeneralization. But in general, society has lowered its standards for student-athletes. As long as the team wins, who cares about doing the right thing?

    I think it was shortly after we returned from Thanksgiving furlough my Third Class year when three members of the basketball team were drummed out for violating the Honor Code. They had a little cheating ring going on within the team. And our boys set some records that season, because they knew they had to rally around and do something. By the way, the three players who stepped up and led the way in the aftermath of the cheating scandal were Reggie Williams '08 (now a Golden State Warrior), and two of my BRs, Travis and Chavis Holmes, who set the NCAA record for scoring twins when we were First Classmen.

    Bruno knew a winning VMI football team. I did not. The way things are going today, VMI will never play in a bowl game, and I'm okay with that... as long as we maintain our standards. The system isn't perfect, and there will always be problems. But for now, I think it's a pretty good system.

    Typically, sportsmanship awards aren't exactly coveted, because they imply that you know how to be a gracious loser... which means you have to lose a lot in order to get it. But I'm so proud that the other teams in our conference regularly vote for VMI for the sportsmanship award. The Big South's Institutional Sportsmanship Award has only been around for five years, and so far, VMI has earned it all five years.

    Frankly, I'll take character over titles any day.

    -jmb-
     

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