One of the things that make Army ROTC in the North Country unique is “The Boot” competition, and in particular ice hockey as one of the events. The boot competition goes back to the arrival of Air Force ROTC at Clarkson. One would naturally expect that an inter service rivalry would surface when they arrived and this rivalry manifest itself in “The Boot” competition. The boot is awarded each year to the program that wins the majority of the games in Soccer, Ice Hockey, and Basketball. In recent years we have tried to synchronize the Soccer game with parent’s weekend and the Hockey game with the Army formal (Dining Out). This adds a unique aspect to ROTC in our neck of the woods.
The reason I bring this up now is that the hockey game will be played in two weeks. I have to admit hockey is my sport, and I play 2 to 3 times a week, and love nothing better than to talk a little puck with a prospect. The Army ROTC team at Clarkson usually skates in 2 intramural leagues and practices one morning a week to prepare for the Air Force game. Some of us also play club hockey or for teams in local men’s leagues. Most of the cadets in the Golden Knight Battalion will tell you that somewhere in their initial meeting with me I asked them if they played hockey. I have been known to go see an applicant play if I get the chance. Why do I favor hockey players? In my opinion no other sport requires the quick thinking, raw power, skill, and fearlessness that hockey does. Many quality hockey players come from a prep school, which usually means a more mature cadet prepared for college academics. Hockey players also spend more time traveling than the usual athlete, and typically have developed the time management skills required of a college student and cadet. Getting up early or skating late at night is the norm where ice time is at a premium, and a cadet who has learned to manage these demands has an advantage.
Does that mean I’m not looking for soccer players or basketball players? Of course not. Army ROTC wants scholar/athlete/leaders, and I want to be able to see “The Boot” every day when I come to work! As a final note, if you plan to apply for an Army ROTC scholarship, or plan to participate in Army ROTC and pursue a commission you should be looking to participate in a team or individual sport to make yourself more competitive. Being a member of the Armed Forces is an action sport and you should be prepared to get in the game.