ARLINGTON, Va. – Nearly 80 athletes competed in the 2021 Army Trials, which took place earlier this month. Staff Sgt. Armando Luna was one of them and he shared his experience, which included a discovery he had while on this journey.
Luna is assigned to the Schofield Barracks Soldier Recovery Unit in Hawaii, which is where he participated in archery, rowing, cycling and golf during Army Trials. He described it as a refreshing and fun experience that caused him to think about challenging himself again.
The competition determines who will be on Team Army for the Department of Defense Warrior Games this September in Orlando, Florida. Army Trials may be fun, but that doesn’t make it easy. Luna shared advice on tackling challenges and overcoming fear.
“When confronted with the opportunity to challenge yourself or better yourself, I highly recommend to — how we would say it in the Army — just send it or don’t be scared of the fear of failing,” Luna said. “That is just a mental distraction.”
Recreation Therapist Jana Dunn recalled that when Luna first arrived at the unit, he was interested in golf. When opportunities to participate in other events occurred, he attended them. And he didn’t pass up the chance to apply for Army Trials either.
“He is always eager to get feedback, whether it’s from coaches, recreation therapists, or other Soldiers,” Dunn said. “Like many Soldiers competing, he’s experienced setbacks and successes in his overall treatment and we’re proud of him for pushing through and using Army Trials as motivation to keep going.”
Army Trials can also be a time of discovery, which is exactly what happened to Luna. He was familiar with golf and rowing before, but not cycling or archery. He recalled how the cycling coach motivated him through the entire 10k and described how great it felt to cycle in Army Trials. Golf and rowing remain his favorite sports to compete in, but he loves cycling now.
These days, he attends cycling regularly. He said he’s hooked on it and will keep logging miles on his bike as a leisure activity.
Luna encourages those who might want to compete in future Army Trials to try and embrace the opportunity. They will be surprised by what they are great at, he added.