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A New Battlefield
Updated: Wednesday, September 11 2013, 10:58 PM CDT
Fielding a football team for the first time in 63 years, Southwestern University's squad is young. Real young. 89 of the 95 players on the roster are freshman. But just because the Pirates don't have experience, doesn't mean the team is without a veteran.
"It adds an awful lot to the maturation of our football team," said SU head football coach Joe Austin.
Daniel Say is a 25 year old sophomore. Before he was a wide receiver for Southwestern, he was a specialist for a different team.
"It's a bond you just can't explain," explained Say.
Say really can't say what motivated him to enlist.
"I just decided I needed to do something with my life," Say admitted.
But as an 18 year old freshman at Broom community college, Say left school and signed-up for the Army. But that's not all.
"I volunteered to go on the tour," admitted Say. "I got a call from one of my sergeants and he said they needed someone to go on tour to Iraq for a year. I felt like I needed to go and serve over there, serve during the war."
As our nation remembers the dastardly acts of September 11th, Daniel - a New York native, does too. Now a husband and a father, he says 9/11 was a driving force behind his decision to fight for our country.
"There were kids crying because their parents were flying that day, and I just don't want my son to have to experience something like that," Say explained. "So for me, to do my part, was to serve in the military."
Daniel served a year in Iraq and three total in the Army. And although he fulfilled his commitment to the military in December 2011, Say still wanted to wear a uniform.
"I've always wanted to play college football," Say admitted. "I've always wanted to do it, and I'm so happy I'm here playing and living my dream."
"The least I can do is give a veteran that's got such a great attitude the chance to chase his dream a little bit," said Coach Austin. "He's doing a great job."
So as Southwestern, the oldest university in Texas, brings back football for the first time since 1950, its veteran wide receiver - who's also been around longer than the rest, gets his second chance, too.
by Adam Winkler