By Sgt. Quentin JohnsonOctober 18, 2013
FORT HOOD, Texas - For more than 60 years, Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas, has not had a football program available to students until this year.
SU head coach Joe Austin, brought his current 11-man team to participate in the Leader's Reaction Course here, Oct. 9, to build their cohesiveness and evaluate each player's leadership style.
The 2nd "Spartans" Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, hosted the team and conducted the LRC for them.
"As a new coach building up a team that will not play until 2013, it is important for me to have a good assessment of the leadership among the players, implement teamwork and get in a little practice," Austin said.
The 11 SU players were split into two teams, with each team maneuvering through four obstacles each on the LRC, which involved a variety of problem solving solutions for each team to successfully complete each task.
"Each team, embedded with a Spartan soldier as a guide, completed four team building obstacles with an ultimate successful goal of each team completing each event, regardless of time," said 2nd Lt. Jack King, platoon leader for the Spartans' A Company.
As with any new team, working together and good communication is key to team building, especially under stress, King said.
"Each obstacle presented the teams with different approaches to problem solving as with the ones with water presented a heightened stress level, which leads to a teams need for leadership and proper communication," he added.
"Teamwork seems to be their biggest challenge," Austin explained. "However, they are doing fine. The players are excited to be here and seem to be reacting quickly by coming together and effectively achieving each obstacle."
SU Junior and defensive-end Joseph Quintero added that teamwork was new to him, having had a career without a team for the last five years.
"The event was a humbling experience. I was used to working alone, not sharing ideas but sports, like the military, is about working as one," Quintero said. "The event taught me two people couldn't achieve an obstacle alone. We definitely needed each other's support to succeed."
Additionally, Austin was thankful his players had the opportunity to spend time and learn from soldiers.
"In addition to receiving a good assessment of my team's leadership quality, it was good for my players to be around the soldiers," Austin said. "For them to be around a real team and people of good character was a real blessing."
"[Soldiers] are part of a great team, the Army, and have great pride in who we are and what we do," said Lt. Col. Archie Herndon, Spartan commander. "I am very appreciative the Spartans were able to share our pride and a teambuilding experience with the SU football team."
Austin said he plans on scheduling more events with the Spartans and Fort Hood as the football team continues to grow in numbers. "I want us to be involved as much as we can with Fort Hood and continue to show our thanks to them."
Austin said he is working on having one of SU football home games during the 2013 season themed around the U.S. Military.