This Fourth of July, a mere month before the Summer Olympics start and with our national Track Trials in full swing, I’m reminded of how sport brings people together. One of my favorite parts of spending over 10 years in the Army was the opportunity to compete for the US Armed Forces team against other military teams from around the world in both cross country and the marathon. The US team, selected from the top finishers from each of the services at the US Armed Forces Championships, goes on to compete against other military teams at the World Military Championships (CISM).
This is unique in several ways. Cross-service rivals became my teammates, many of whom became good friends as we saw each other year after year at the Armed Forces Championships and the CISM. What’s interesting, and I think even more readily apparent in a military environment, is the emphasis on the absence of politics at these competitions. We all participated in the same activities, devoid of any status or ranking. Fitting, because the motto of CISM is “Friendship through Sport.”
To get us in a patriotic mood, I thought I’d share a little more about CISM.