Sports Focus

U.S. Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Carnell Martin reacts to making a successful lift during the powerlifting competition of the 2019 DoD Warrior Games in Tampa, Florida, June 24. The Warrior Games showcase the resilient spirit of today’s wounded, ill or injured service members from all branches of the military and provide a venue for recovering service members and veterans to demonstrate triumph over significant physical or invisible wounds and injuries.

A few weeks ago my older brother, who is a critical care paramedic, sent me a video of a college baseball coach’s emotion-filled postgame press conference following his team’s season-ending loss in a Super Regional. The year was 2017, but the coach’s message remains true today.

“This is what I wish our country would get back to,” said Sam Houston State University’s head baseball Coach Matt Deggs, who was bragging on the camaraderie of his team. “There is no greater honor other than to sacrifice for another brother.”

Many of Deggs’ players had been playing through injuries and other players had given their final at bat to a teammate so they could play. As I watched the video for the first time I thought of the sacrifices paramedics, like my brother, and service members, like Marines, make every day for the betterment of their communities and society as a whole.

If Deggs is right that there is no greater honor in life than to sacrifice for another person, and I can’t disagree with that, then U.S. Marines, as well as other military service members and veterans, should always feel the most pride of anyone. They should be celebrated more than they are.

I have been the sports writer at the Camp Lejeune Globe for more than two months now, and I know that there is a Marine way of doing things. The discipline that’s instilled into each Marine, I think, gives them an advantage whether it’s over the enemy, an opponent or a civilian. Knowing that they are willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for their Marine Corps brothers and sisters gives Marines an edge that allows them to become some of the world’s most superior, and oftentimes unrecognized, athletes.

Almost all of the Marines I’ve interviewed for a Globe Sports story so far have agreed that the Marine Corps sets itself apart mainly because of the cohesiveness and mental fortitude that Marine units show at all times. There is something about the philosophies and the standards that are ingrained into Marines that give them an edge. Resiliency and faithfulness are the fuel that drives the Marine force, and it shows.

Marines have no choice but to keep their bodies in peak physical shape knowing that life-threatening situations could be in their future. In the Marine Corps, there are physical fitness tests that must be taken and goals that must be met. Marines have to prepare for the stresses and intense environments they will encounter when undergoing their missions. It is because of the rigorous mental and physical training Marines go through that makes the Marine Corps produce some of the most highly-skilled and battle-ready tactical athletes in the world.

It is the Marine way – the Marine way of thinking, living, sacrificing, training and preparing – which makes the U.S. Marine Corps world renowned for its discipline and success in being one of the most efficient military forces to have ever been formed. I have seen it firsthand in my short time here on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, but it’s not easy putting your finger on what exactly the Marine way is and explaining it in words. Perhaps you just need to know a Marine, or actually become one, to really even get a glimpse at what it’s like to be a part of such an elite organization.