My Sportsman: Athletes in the military
There was a chance, however remote, that
There was a chance, however slim, that
Both Campbell and Harris may still become the kind of stars fans rush through the turnstiles to see. It will just have to wait. For now, they are charged with protecting the freedom to do it. Campbell and Harris are two of the hundreds of athletes currently serving in the U.S. military. Their stories are more high profile: Campbell was set to compete for a backup linebacker and special teams spot at Lions training camp before the Army abruptly reversed its decision to allow him to play and yanked him back into active duty; instead of wedge-busting on Sundays, Campbell spends five days a week in the sports psychology department at Army's Center for Enhanced Performance in West Point helping cadets manage the demanding schedules of athletics and academics.
The Cardinals were optimistic that the 23-year-old Harris would be major league-ready in a couple of years. Instead they will have to wait at least two years while Harris finishes his commitment as a weapons officer on board the USS Ponce.
In a world where the behavior of athletes can occasionally sink below sea level, these are the ones who should be lauded as true sportsmen and honored, along with every other athlete in the military, by being named Sportsmen of the Year. Fighting in the long shadow cast by the late
"It's bittersweet, not disappointing," Campbell said recently. "I came to the academy to be an officer. It's a decision I wanted to make."
They do not ask for accolades, but they deserve them. They do not want to be in the spotlight just for doing their duty, but they should be. They should be there, along with 2nd Lts.
Soon the sacrifices of these soldiers will be a memory. Professional sports will go on without them. But for now, we should take a long pause to recognize their sacrifice and immortalize it with the Sportsman of the Year award.