By Bill Tamburrino
They believe in Honor, Courage, Duty, Commitment and Country. They live by an honor code. They make the cliché, “It is not a matter of life and death. It is more important than that,” a true statement.
They are college students who can’t and don’t party every weekend. They are not in a fraternity or sorority but they are brothers and sisters, not only in spirit but in arms. They take an oath to protect and defend this great country. They do not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate among them those who do.
They will stand guard so that you and I can sleep in peace. They all must play a sport, either intramural or interscholastic. One of those sports is football. It is the ultimate team game. And they are preparing for the ultimate team.
On Saturday, Dec. 14, they played America’s Game at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Penn. It was more than a game. Two teams, two student bodies, two alumni groups and millions of fans and brothers and sisters in arms watched. Those students not playing, participated. Two student bodies marched into an NFL stadium and then marched into the stands where they stood for the entire game and supported their team.
There was no trash talking. There was no hot dogging. There was no dancing or prancing. They are above that. Four-star generals and admirals don’t condone that sort of nonsense.
They were not playing for ranking, or a bowl bid or a trophy that goes to the college with the best PR department more often than to the best player. However, both schools have had players win that trophy and every one of the trophy winners will look you in the eye and tell you that “The Game” is more important than any bilious trophy.
Generals and admirals who have played in The Game were there. Too many who have played in The Game weren’t there. Too many have given their lives so that The Game and other games could be played.
The Game was played with class, dignity, enthusiasm, determination and the highest degree of sportsmanship. It was played by those who represent what every decent person wants to be, can be, should be and hopefully will be.
Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry was there and shook hands with four-star General Raymond T. Odierno. Odierno played in The Game and led troops from all services in a war. Petry shook hands with a prosthetic hand. He lost his right hand of duty, performing an act of valor. The Medal of Honor is not voted upon or given annually. It is awarded for valor above and beyond the call of duty. It is awarded by the President of the United States in the name of Congress.
Ramona was well represented at The Game by both schools. Bryson Garcia suited up for the United States Naval Academy. Justin Godes, Logan Bolitho and Tyler Sherman marched in for The United States Military Academy. Alec Richardson marched in for the United States Naval Academy.
Tyler Jordan and Stewart Corbett marched in for games against both academies for the United States Air Force Academy.
Several Ramona High School grads over the years have marched in for Army, Navy, Air Force and The Coast Guard academies.
At least four RHS seniors are considering entering an academy next year.
The Game was what college football should be all about. It is what all college football should be. It had a score, but Grantland Rice said it best:
“For when the Great Scorer comes to write against your name, he marks — NOT that you won or lost — But how you played “THE GAME.”