By MaryTherese GriffinJune 28, 2019
Want a real reality show? 2019 Warrior Games is reality
By MaryTherese Griffin, Army Warrior Care and Transition
TAMPA Fla. -- It's no secret reality television has taken the world by storm. But, according to U.S. Army Capt. David Espinoza and his wife Elizabeth, the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games are true reality.
"This is the greatest reality show going," said Elizabeth. Her husband, an athlete with Team Army, is experiencing his first Warrior Games and says he finds it very eye opening.
"The general public has no idea what these guys go through," said Espinoza. It's more than what you see in a Hollywood movie. Espinoza is speaking of the complexities that come with having a career in the military one day and not the next because of an injury or illness. The Army Signal Officer recuperating at the Warrior Transition Battalion at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii finds absolute inspiration with his own struggles here.
"Trying to tune out the pain while looking at others here at the games motivates me," he explained "Seeing retired Army Staff Sgt. Matt Lammers who lost three limbs compete with energy and a smile on his face....I was like, 'oh my gosh if he can do this?' I'm over here saying this is going to be rough and I see him just pushing through. "It touched me and I'm definitely motivated.
Like most Soldiers, Espinoza struggles from his injuries compounded from multiple deployments until one day he was forced to address them. "I was in a motorcycle accident; I was cut off by a truck. I had prior injuries from previous deployments and I tried to work through them and Soldier on. The accident made me take care of all of me."
The Espinoza's were married last year and Elizabeth admits she didn't understand adaptive reconditioning, Soldiering on and more. She sees the Warrior Games as the greatest reality check she's experienced on this journey with her husband.
"I think this competition gives them their power back. I mean they give their lives to our government and work daily to maintain everyone else's freedom; it gives them that power back," Elizabeth said.
Elizabeth is incredibly proud watching her husband excel in his new normal, adding this is what people don't get a chance to see. "This (Warrior Games) is mind, body, and soul," she said. "This gives you emotional and mental stability. These athletes still overcome and are resilient. That's the reality," she said.
The good Captain will compete in swimming on Saturday, but says he has a bit of hardware to take home already. "I got gold in shot put, silver in discus, bronze in the time trials for cycling, and silver in the cycling road race."
Warrior Games as a Reality TV show? There is no drama, just hard working service members competing for their beloved branch and with the best sportsmanship ever, according to decorated athlete Espinoza.
"This competition between the services is real but the reality is they are all recovering and overcoming, and THAT is great stuff to watch."