"Honesty, Loyalty Respect!" These are the words that those who live close to Delaware Park may have heard yelled over and over again in the early hours of the morning every day this past week as the Ice "Soldier" Griffs sounded off.
The team joined up with the Canisius ROTC program this week and got a little taste of what the lives of a student-soldier is like. Monday morning the boys were up before sunrise and lined up in formation in Delaware Park. We were met by a number of soldiers who looked more than ready to put us through a week filled with grueling activities. Our first task was to complete a fitness test that consisted of a two-mile run, the maximum amount of pushups in two minutes and the maximum amount of sit-ups in two minutes.
Tuesday morning we were in for a whole new level of physical testing. The team split up into two teams and stood in awe as we listened to the tasks that we had to complete that morning. Our orders were to push two 16-passenger vans around the two-mile loop in Delaware Park. If this doesn't sound daunting enough of as a task, we also had different objects to carry and wear. Seven members from each team had to wear bulletproof vests, two members had to carry rucksacks, three members carried large water canisters and two members had to carry an ammo box. Only three members from each team were allowed to speak as the rest of the team ran, pushed, and carried in silence and waited for orders from the three leaders. Both teams ended up finishing the two miles in an impressive 21 minutes and some-odd seconds. When asked if there was anything that could be changed for next years ROTC week, the seniors decided that ROTC should upgrade the 16-passenger van to a full size Greyhound bus for the underclassmen to push.
After having a day off from military training on Wednesday, we were right back at it for a different type of exercise bright and early Thursday morning. Our bodies were given a rest and this time we had to use our brains - which for most of us is quite a challenge at 6 a.m.
The team was put through different tests that required quick and logical thinking. The first was an obstacle course through which four guys at a time carried another on a stretcher while they were blindfolded. The second test had each group stand on a tarp and attempt to flip the tarp and move everyone onto the other side of it without anyone touching the floor. For the last exercise, each group stood in a row and had to be silent and keep their eyes closed as the group leader tried to rearrange them to different order while following a set of rules.
Friday brought the most intense training of the week as the team ran through an obstacle course race. Each stretch of the two miles contained different stations where the groups had to perform different exercises such as push ups, sit ups, man carries, and lunge walks. This race brought the very competitive side out of all of us as there was much debate after the race was over who the real winners were.
The training was finally over and it was time to have some fun. Saturday morning we threw some layers of clothing on for protection and got ready for a day of paintball. After the members of ROTC tried their hardest to teach us different tactics and formations, we started the battle and soon all strategy was out the window. The ROTC guys moved around the woods like a stealthy well-tuned unit, while the hockey guys ran around like children imitating Rambo on a playground without any sort of order at all. After freshman Brian McGinty lit me up with a dozen close range shots, I soon found the biggest tree in the woods and worked on my camouflaging abilities. Paintballs hurt.
It was a great week of team bonding as we pushed each other and ourselves through the grueling events. The early morning wake ups and the tough fitness testing only brought us closer as we learned to work as a unified team to get us through the week.
See you at the rink,
Scott Jenks, #3