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Talking Sports In The War Zone: Madden Mania

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 16: Atmosphere at the EA SPORTS Rookie Madden Bowl at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel as part of the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere on May 16, 2008 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NFL PLAYERS)
Jesse Grant/Getty Images
The SportmeistersAnalyst INovember 14, 2009

By Ryan of The Sportmeisters

Ryan of The Sportmeisters is currently deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While there, he is continuing to write about sports and it’s effect on the troops. This is his latest update.

Sports are a release, whether it be in the states or overseas. To take three hours on a football game, even if it is at midnight or one in the morning, it allows a soldier to take his mind away from the work, and remember a simpler time. The same can be said for video games. For most of us, sports at a professional level were a pipe dream, but in the virtual world, anything is possible. Following that, it’s another way for a troop to release for thirty minutes to an hour.

We call those times to release an MWR event, standing for morale, welfare, and recreation. Of course, for a base with over three thousand people, there are a number of events. TVs playing sports, basketball and volleyball tournaments, karate classes, and even sanctioned running events (I did the Army 10 Miler!). But a new event, hosted by yours truly, was a Madden 2010 tournament.

Eight teams of two signed up for what promised to me some bone-crushing, smack-talking action, in front of the entire base in the dining facility. True to their word, they didn’t disappoint in the first round. One team required some fourth quarter magic to seal a win, and another lost on a questionable fumble. Needless to say, for the three hours we played, setting up next week’s semi-finals and finals, not one participant was concerned with their job.

Sure, the mission does come first, and we all are aware of whats going on here, but to let it slide to the side of the mind for a few hours, it helps us refocus. We’ve all worked the 12 hour days, seven days a week here, and people get burned out. They need these events to allow the energy to flow out, and come back the next day refresh and recharged.

Madden is the most popular football video game on the market, and so, a big turnout was nice, but what has spun from it is even greater. Talks of more Madden, NCAA Football, NBA, and other games have been given interest for more tournaments in the future.

Take 3,000 plus personnel and you get 3,000 plus different likes and dislikes. It seems like, with Madden and the effect on its morale, we get quite a few personnel with similar feelings.

As the days get shorter to coming home, keeping the morale up is pivotal for a young solider, and helping them keep their eye on the prize. A little Madden Sports picks up the morale every time.

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