Sports

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by gecko97, Nov 16, 2014.

  1. gecko97

    gecko97 Member

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    Is not doing sports a killer? I played football freshman year, but decided to stick with band. Academics are well above average, CFA is solid, attended SLE...any clues?
     
  2. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    It is not a killer, as you will see based on the annual class profile that there are some applicants accepted every year who were not Varsity letter winners.
     
  3. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    Band over sports. Interesting choice. I am sure that you will be competing (the key word here is "competing") against candidates that also have "academics well above average" and "solid CFAs" and who "attended SLE" AND have participated in sports (with or without a varsity letter) or worked hanging sheetrock as a part time job. Should you ask them the best route, they would definitely agree that the band is the more impressive route.

    Then, of course, is what you would be heading for at USMA: Sports competition every day between squads, platoons, companys and battalions in everything from football to squash for 4 years. After that comes being a 2nd Lt in the infantry where your men hump pieces of 100# mortars and packs of 80# every day. Or perhaps Armor where your troops wrestle 50# shells in a moving tank with the tank commander screaming to speed it up. Artillery? Oooooo....they have not figured out a way to move heavy, heavy shells from cases to breech without a gutbusting effort by your troops. Engineers? how about scrambling up and down mountains with 70#of explosives on your back? They would welcome an officer who, given a chance, opts for comfort over results.

    With that much physical activity ahead of you, there is certainly no hurry to get started on it, is there? Surely the Admissions Board will recognize such brilliant long range thinking and give you an appointment over your competition who has proven they can work in a very physical teamwork environment for years. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
  4. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    The key here is your competition and who sits on the admissions committee. I remember a poster passionately defending his band participation, he convinced me that being in the band is very challenging and takes as much work as playing a varisty sports. However, if I was on the Admissions committee and only difference between Candidate A and B is sports vs band, I will probably pick the candidate that played sports. Of course no two candidates will be similiar except for sports vs band. Life is not fair, but you can't change the rules because you don't like them.
     
  5. oldcorpsdad

    oldcorpsdad Member

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    Ok, let me continue to be the dissenter here. Be true to yourself. If band is what you love, do band. Be the best at it. Be a section leader, Drum major whatever the top leaderships positions are, you need to work to be those people. Don’t let those who really have no idea what it takes to intricately develop the timing and coordination to get 30, 40, 50 people to perform multiple formations simultaneously while playing an instrument. My DS never really did a sport. He did do one season of indoor track, never earned a letter and never even ran a race. It was a sport in his HS where everyone made the team. He did it to check the block for “a sport”. He did band for all four years. Hs siblings who both played lacrosse were at first skeptical and made fun of “band”. That faded as they watched the dedication, teamwork and effort that went into the programs. He came from a highly competitive district (northern VA) and he got in over some of his classmates who were multiple team captains. Every case is different. There were several on his nomination board who recognized the complexity and teamwork of a band. It does depend on who sits on your boards. It’s not necessarily fair but it does play a role. He has come across several of his classmates (he is now a Fristie) who also did band over sports. Granted they are in the minority but they are there from across the country. Now, if it isn’t a passion, this is all moot. There are way more cookie cutter, great grade, several sport cadets than great grade band cadets. You want to get in? look at the class profile. Have as many of those characteristics as possible. Spectacular grades trump grades well above average. Go to boys state, be an Eagle Scout, score over 700 on each of your SATs, take on other leadership roles, max out the CFA, squeeze a sport in during the winter. Then you can do your passion and have a clear conscious years down the road. Now, if you can’t do or don’t want to do those things, and are a vanilla candidate, play a sport. There will always be judges, as you can see from the comments above and below mine, on this topic. You will need to stack the deck against them. Its that way in life as well. Good luck.
     
  6. gecko97

    gecko97 Member

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    Sorry I guess I didn't realize baseball, golf, basketball, or even football made a person able to deal with the physical aspect of the military. And I did not hear about the military getting rid of branches. Only infantry now? O well.
     
  7. nr116

    nr116 Banned

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    Ignore spud, he/she is being overly critical and quite immature. If you did well on your fitness test, that tells admission they don't need to worry as much about you not having any varsity letters, as it shows you are in good shape, and will be able to perform physically at the academy and its sports. If band is your passion and you stuck with it throughout high school, that shows commitment they like to see. Don't worry about it!
     
  8. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Agree with not worrying about it, but don't buy the commitment part.

    I am pretty sure that there is no WCS category for "commitment."
     
  9. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    This question comes up every so often.
    The quote below is great insight from 845something concerning not playing a sport in HS and whether excelling on the CFA can compensate for that:

    "Sports in the context of the application measures part of the Leadership Potential dimension, not athletic prowess. Doing outstanding on the CFA will not make up for not playing sports. If you are unable to play any sports, you need to crush your entire application: top test scores, top class rank, multiple top level club leadership positions, great teacher evaluations, and crush the CFA AND HOPE that no one else has all of that plus a sport in your district."
     
  10. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Band mom here. DS is a re-applicant. What does that tell you? In 8th grade, DS had planned on applying to USMA...figured out what sports he'd do in HS. Then changed his mind about USMA, so stuck w/ 1st love, band (band here is all year: marching band, spirit band, indoor drum line). Junior year, changed his mind about WP, so for senior year he added sports (but stuck w/ band, dropping spirit and indoor). We are told he is a "solid" reapplicant...whatever that means. Yes, some get in w/ no sports, but they all bring something major to the table. What do you have that sets you apart?
     
  11. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    gecko97, I was a little confused when you said your CFA was "solid" because the day before you said you did not pass and would have to retake it.

     
  12. Runner2020

    Runner2020 Member

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    I think that he's assuming that once he retakes and passes pull-ups, he'll be fine for his CFA. Regardless, I can say I'm a little disappointed with some of the remarks here. As a rising Senior myself, I've looked at these forums for advice for a couple years, finally making an account last year. There will be kids who devote their HS life to band because it's what they love, and while it might make it more difficult without a sport, you're coming across like kids shouldn't apply if they pick band over sports. The Academies are about commitment and doing things that make you stick out as a candidate- what if that's picking band over football?

    Good luck with your application! Once you re-take the CFA, I'm sure you'll be in the running. Don't let any negative comments defer you.

    By the way, what level did you reach in DECA, and what category? That definitely shows good communication skills and in some cases, leadership.


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    JMPO, but runner2020 I think you should realize two things.

    1. You cannot tell intonation via a post.
    2. Many posters have been here long enough to see a pattern, and their posts are trying to illustrate the reality.
    ~ See point #1.

    Yes, there are cadets every year that get appointed without a sport, but let's also remember that sports matter. As Buff stated, sports show commitment Sports illustrate that even if your FB team gets creamed week after week and have an 0 and 8 record, come Friday you are going to give it your all to be 1 and 8. Sports shows camaraderie. Sports show leadership.
    ~ These are all things SAs look at for future leaders.

    Sports also show athletic abilities. PT is going to be part of their life. Hence, the way to get over this is hit the CFA out of the ball park.

    I don't believe any poster was trying to be negative. I see it as they were supportive and discussing the reality of getting an appointment without sports. It is doable, but that CFA and PAR needs to be top notch.

    In the end it is a WCS, and that is how you get appointed. There will be that Golf athlete that scores lower than the band member when it comes to CFA.

    OBTW, maybe it is just me, but I did not see any of these remarks as harsh. I saw them as realistic and actually kind. On avg 5% of cadets will leave during Beast. Their life is not going to be roses during that period. It is going to be pile on regarding how much you all s*ck! Welcome to the military!
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
  14. jebdad

    jebdad Member

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    Not trying to stir any pot, but even without knowing intonation, Spud's comments are about as condescending as it gets. I am sure you would agree:

    Oooooo....they have not figured out a way to move heavy, heavy shells from cases to breech without a gutbusting effort by your troops. Engineers? how about scrambling up and down mountains with 70#of explosives on your back? They would welcome an officer who, given a chance, opts for comfort over results.

    With that much physical activity ahead of you, there is certainly no hurry to get started on it, is there? Surely the Admissions Board will recognize such brilliant long range thinking and give you an appointment over your competition who has proven they can work in a very physical teamwork environment for years. Good luck.
     
  15. GoBlue1984

    GoBlue1984 Member

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    +1 to PIMA; +1 to Buff81

    I'll quote Mom3Boys:
    As a parent, I had a DD (no interest in being a cadet) who played band from 6th grade on. In HS, she played in all the bands. It is a huge commitment and marching band in particular is definitely a physical activity. Band does give some opportunity for leadership (Marching Band Section leader; MB Field Commander). I attest to that and do not want to belittle your experience.

    But ask yourself: if you were on the Admissions Committee, comparing candidates and weighting applicants, how does a Trumpet Section Leader in a Marching Band that went to State compare to a captain of the wrestling team who won their district and went to State? Or the captain of the X-Country Team, who the freshman and sophomores tried to emulate? Who would do you think has more perceived leadership experience given all other factors (grades, test scores, CFA) nearly equal? Unfortunately Band is one activity; most athletes compete in multiple sports (spring and fall).

    Regarding the WCS: CFA = 10%; Academics = 60%; Leadership = 30%. You can max out that CFA but you can never overcome a deficiency in leadership (or academics) by CFA alone. With Band as your major extra curricular, you are probably competing for admission as a "scholar." Admissions may try to balance the class with "leaders," "athletes," and "scholars" but pure scholars will be the smallest overall percentage, especially with the quality of candidates that apply (in other words, most of the class are "scholar-athletes" by definition). Very few candidates can max out all three categories, but most excel in all three.

    JMPO: I do think that sticking with something counts but that will never outweigh demonstrated leadership in competitive sports. The military is all about competing and winning: on the battlefield and off (you'll note a little football game coming up in early December that helps highlight this second point).

    So back to Mom3Boys question: "what sets YOU apart," and I'll add, are you working hard on your Plan B?
     
  16. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

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    Guys lets just leave how the message was delivered and interpreted up to the OP.

    Once we start down this path it escalates very quickly and this is a common question which deserves posters seeking advice full attention.

    OP you also have to look at it from the nomination side of things as well not just the SA. My DS had what people here would call a strong package outside of the sports thing. He didn't receive a nomination and I strongly feel the reason was the lack of sports. And as you know, no nom = no appointment.

    What others have said is valid do what makes you happy but understand what cost your decisions have. Probably one of the proudest moments I had in my son's teen life was when during one of our lack of sports discussion was when he said "I've made the choice and I understand the consequences but I'm not going to let JROTC down and if I don't get in I don't get in."

    At the end of the day he was proud of what he had done and let go of the things that were out of his control. He also understood the price of his choice.

    He's at AFA Prep right now so take what I said from that perspective I have no idea how he would have ended up with a USMA application.
     
  17. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    gecko: So going back to your original post... what were you hoping to hear and what were you going to do with the opinions that were offered?

    You are free to apply and see what happens. Regardless of the opinions offered here, the only sure way to answer your question is to apply. No sports could be a killer for some and not for others.

    Don't focus on what you can't control; focus on what you can.

    Apply and go through the process. Prepare for, and then retake your CFA. Then work on your other plans.
     
  18. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    Yes. :thumb:

    gecko97, this sticky has a lot of helpful information in it: http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=14787
     
  19. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Who do you want leading your platoon? The 2nd chair of the saxophone section or the kid who lettered in three sports PLUS band ?

    I get time commitments, I do, truly. But part of being the best of the best is being the best at all these things, plus time management!

    Fencing is year round, with practice almost every day. My kids also managed to have 20 hr week pt jobs, plus carried minimum 10 sometimes 16 college credits while having a full high school load.

    Oh, and they played in a band ("Metal in a Microwave"; brings a real tear to my eye, it does).
     
  20. oldcorpsdad

    oldcorpsdad Member

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    So using the information above from the class profiles, the % of the last 3 classes to get admitted without a Varsity Sport is:

    2015: 8.4%
    2016: 9.5%
    2017: 8%

    That doesn't mean they didn't have some non varsity sport or athletic ability (martial arts, travel team, fencing, etc..) It is clearly the exception rather than the rule but it can be done. You just need a bunch of other leadership factors to overcome it. GPA, Class rank and SATs = Academics of WCS; CFA score = CFA portion of WCS; Athletics and all that other stuff (student body leadership, Boys/Girls state, Eagle Scout, Debate, dramatics, editor, etc..) = Leadership WCS.

    There are many types of leadership and a place for each type and purveyor of each type. They dont all need to be football team captains.
     

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