Performance Training Center Visit: The Baltimore Ravens
July 27, 2012
Like a Roman Senator attending the Gladiatorial events in ancient Rome, members of the Walter Reed wounded warrior traveled to Owning Mills, Maryland near Baltimore to witness a day of practice for the Baltimore Ravens football team. The hot weather did not deter the gathering of some 20 wounded warriors from sitting outside and watching names previously only headlines on a sport page. Now they became up close and personal to many. The purple "knights" ran their plays in rehearsal, making their field position marks as if they were choreographed by a leading “dance master”. Huge players took defensive stances against opposition members and held their own.
After the heat drenched practices, the Ravens on mass, came up to say hello to the wounded warriors, many in wheel chairs or on crutches. Overheard by the wounded were comments like, “glad you could come to watch us sweat”. Or Ray Lewis picking up some “Leg Tips” from SSG John Gaudy, a 7th Special Forces wounded warrior. John and Lewis hit it off and SSG Gaudy managed to take in some five practice events over the next few weeks and attend several games through PEP and the Ravens Team management.
Captain Ben Harrow a wounded warrior from the 3rd Special Forces out of Fort Bragg, N.C. said of the encounter, “This was inspiration for me. I watched and learned what physical courage was all about”. He added, “It makes me push n and sweat to improve my performance…not as a player any longer, but as a coach maybe even an inspiration for others”.
Performance Training Center Visit: The Washington Redskins
August time in Washington, everyone wants to leave and head out into the county, the wounded warriors of Walter Reed are no exception. Off into the country of Loudon County the 20 or so wounded warriors and family members went to witness the local favorite football team, Washington Redskins, work out in pads or shorts. Ashburn is a good 45 minute trip across the Potomac into the Virginia country side; once horse country now, the land of football giants.
The team took to the field and the wounded warriors were at “Ringside” to watch much heralded named players like Robert Griffin III; Kurt Cousins; London Fletcher; Santa Moss; Alfred “Mercury” Morris; Chris Coley and a host of others.
When the air horn sounded and the players gathered around the coach before heading inside the center and heard the evaluation for the day, they broke and headed up to where the wounded warriors where gathering to say hello and “play tourist”. Footballs were signed; Robert Griffin and a host of other gathered around the Walter Reed members and took them through the line of talent, while collecting lifelong images and signatures for future family stories back home.