"It's what kept me out of the streets, and it's what led me into the Army," said Staff Sgt. Terrell Moorer. "Basketball is my life."
He initially joined the Army in hopes of one day playing for the All-Army Basketball Team, a goal which he later achieved. However, Moorer never imagined the tools the game of basketball would give him in order to lead his Soldiers.
"It taught me teamwork. In basketball if your players don't work together, the team won't score. The same way I depend on my teammates to rotate to the right position [on the court] is the same way I depend on my Soldiers," said Moorer, Motor Transport Operator, 529th Regimental Support Company, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). "If my Soldiers don't work together to transport those guys to their location, we don't accomplish the mission."
Soldiers of The Old Guard, the U.S. Army's official ceremonial unit, participate in high-profile ceremonies throughout the nation and around the world. Moorer leads a group of Soldiers responsible for driving them to every event.
"Essentially, the 529th transportation platoon has a no fail mission. If we don't get those Soldiers there on time for something like a presidential event, it could have national implications," said Capt. Scott Donoughe, 529th RSC commander. "As a leader in the transportation platoon, you have to be very agile and adaptive. You have to make quick decisions as you do on the basketball court. Staff Sgt. Moorer exemplifies those characteristics."
Moorer attributes his attentiveness and coordination skills to his 16 years in the game.
"When you have been running up and down the court for so long, you have to have a lot of things working for you all at once," said Moorer. "Stamina, endurance and even a good breathing technique; all these things have to work together."
As a private first class with minimal leadership responsibilities, Moore said these traits were only necessary when he was playing. Now, as a noncommissioned officer in charge of 14 Soldiers, he's learned to incorporate it into the workplace.
"It's increased my mental capacity," said Moorer. "It's a lot different going from worrying about yourself and being able to deal with your own problems, to dealing with Soldiers and the everyday problems that they may have."
Moorer added he is also able to make it through some of his extensive work hours and instills this same willpower in his Soldiers.
"My Soldiers have to be able to drive long hours and distances on the road and maneuver in and out of traffic without being fatigued," said Moorer.
During physical training, Moorer teaches his Soldiers basketball drills in order to help them cope with these obstacles. Moorer believes it can help condition and build his Soldiers' resilience on the road.
"I always preach to my troops that when you are physically in shape, mentally you feel better and are able to deal with stress a lot better," said Moorer.
Through his efforts, Moorer also saw his Soldiers' Army Physical Fitness Test [APFT] scores increase by an average of 50 points. Additionally, Moorer helped four Soldiers lose excess weight through his healthy diet as an athlete.
"I started bringing salad to work for lunch so my Soldiers could see what I was eating," said Moorer. "Nine times out of 10, if you lead by example, a lot of them will take note and they will do the same thing."
Spc. Brandon Mayer, Motor Transport Operator, 529th RSC, said Moorer's philosophies helped him push through challenges to improve his own physical fitness.
"He was there as a guardian angel over my shoulder," said Mayer. "He motivated me to work harder and eat healthier. His drills helped me increase my cardio, give me stamina, and strengthen my abs. I was able to lose the weight and pass my PT test. I hope to follow in his footsteps one day."
After overcoming his hardships, Mayer was promoted to specialist, Jun. 1.
Moorer has not only seen success in the lives of his Soldiers, but in his own life as well. He's played two seasons with the All-Army Basketball Team and plans to try out for a third later this year.
"I'm absolutely amazed by basketball," said Moorer. "Some people say it's just a game, but it's more than just a game. I've been able to use it to change Soldiers' lives."