Navy football moves on

With heavy hearts and plenty on their collective minds the Midshipmen resumed spring practice this week, just 11 days after the collapse and sudden death of freshman slotback Will McKamey from bleeding on the brain.

I don't think I could sum up the situation any better than coach Ken Niumatalolo who summed it up like this.

"There's nothing that prepares you for something like that. We just have to continue to press forward and do the best we can. I don't think anyone knows the timetable or what to do and how to do it. The way we can honor Will, one of our brothers, is to come out here and get after it on the field. Hopefully, coming back and hitting, tackling, catching the ball – just doing what these guys do – would help us heal."

I think the most telling part of this quote is where Niumatalolo refers to McKamey as "one of our brothers" (LINK) In any football team, or in any team sport at all really, you quickly develop a bond, a brotherhood, which you will carry with you for life. Contact sports like football and rugby though take this to a whole new level as there is something about taking the hits, sweating, and bleeding for your team which instills a sense of pride and belonging within you. Having played in these arenas myself I can only imagine just how much that is amplified when you are playing at a military academy like Navy where the feeling of brotherhood is taken to the extreme.

This season now means something different for the Mids. With every hit taken, with every block thrown, and with every pass completed, they will be honoring the memory of Will McKamey, one of their brothers. It is often hard to pick up and go again after these kinds of tragedies, but the Mids will do just that and carry the memory of McKamey with them all season.

The tributes have already begun, with the slogan #IWILL being adopted by the team for the upcoming season. McKamey will not be forgotten, but you can bet that at Navy he will be honored to a level that no other school would attain.

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