COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. --
The stakes are high for the Marines at the 2011 Warrior Games.
At the 2010 Inaugural Warrior Games, the All-Marine team took home the Chairman’s Cup, including 19 gold medals, 24 silver and 16 bronze.
This year, it has already been known – all other services are looking to snatch the championship right back from the Marines.
Friendly, inter-service rivalry talk has been established leading up to the opening ceremony. Some athletes remember the stiff competition last year, and one event stands out: sitting volleyball.
The Marines said they “devastated” the All-Army team at the 2010 Warrior Games.
“We brought it last year, and there was a lot of smack-talking,” said veteran Marine Richard Bacchus of the sitting volleyball team, remembering the intense final game against the Army. “It was crazy.”
At the 2010 Warrior Games, the Marines beat the Army twice in a best of three series. Bacchus said Army seemed sure of a victory when they voiced their confidence.
“They were yapping how about how they were going to take us,” Bacchus said. “All we could do was look and smile when we were making plays. A lot of services are gunning for us, but I’d say the Army’s our main rivals in [sitting] volleyball.”
Last year, the Marines manned their sitting volleyball team by quick fills – anyone who was interested in competing in the sitting volleyball event was on the team. This year, through the success of recruiting wounded warriors and competition at the Marine Corps Trials, the Marines were able to select the best participants in the sport.
“Our team has grown to be more athletic and just better all around this year,” said veteran Marine Cpl. Travis Greene of the sitting volleyball team. “Our practices have been more intense, efficient and harder. We’re ready to go out there and show everyone what we got.”
Greene continued to say the rivalry with the Army has been around for centuries “outdating the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry.” But there’s no hatred between the services – just competition, and that’s all free game, he added.
The All-Marine sitting volleyball team is slated to take on the All-Army team May 17.
“It’s going to be a great game to watch,” said Lance Cpl. Jese Schag of the sitting volleyball team. “There’s going to be some serious competition. But we’re going out there to have fun.”