“A-R-M-Y might stand for Aren’t Ready to beat the Marines Yet,” explained an anonymous Team Marine fan at the 2012 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs on Tuesday.
After a narrow Marine victory over Army in the first seated volleyball match, Marine Corps pride filled the room from wall to wall.
We all know about the rivalry between the two services, but the fan-induced Red vs. Black inferno that lit up the opening match was white hot.
The gym was packed with what seemed to be every fan and family member at the Games. Hundreds of red and black t-shirts filled the bleachers from wall to wall—sharply separated, of course—to witness what was both a first day rematch from the previous year and a tiebreaker to settle a medal stalemate from earlier in the day.
Team Army and Team Marine left the windy cycling course tied with six medals each. Day one bragging rights would surely go to the winner of this volleyball match.
Led by flag-waving, face-painted motivators, each team’s fans erupted in waves of grunts and cheers to egg on their side. When the Marine crowd would chant, “U-S-M-C,” Army fans would interrupt after “U-S-“ and overpower with, “ARMY!”
By the end of the match, the rivalry had escalated to the point that each team was attempting to encroach into the other’s section with their flag. After a grueling battle, perhaps one of the closest in Warrior Games volleyball history, the Marines came out on top.
“It was a nail-biter, especially there at the end,” said Army Col. Gregory D. Gadson, Director of the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2), who sat front-and-center to lead the Army cheering section. “I was sure we would beat the Marines on day one, but this thing is far from over.”
Each team competes for three nights before playing for medals. The gold/silver medal game is scheduled for Friday night, May 4.
[slideshow]For more information, medal updates and stories about some of the athletes competing in this year’s games, follow Warrior Games and the USO on Facebook. And see more images on our Warrior Games Flickr set. - Joseph Andrew Lee, USO Staff Writer