New England Patriots running back Sammy Morris is in Iraq this week with a small group of NFL players and cheerleaders who are visiting the troops and will be watching Super Bowl XLIII with them. Morris, an Ed Block Courage Award recipient, will attempt to send periodic blog updates as well as photos -- if he can get his laptop connected. For now, Morris has sent two updates from his BlackBerry. Here is the second installment:
Day 2 started with a fairly early cattle call for us to meet and eat breakfast. On second thought, I honestly don't even know what to call early and late anymore because my body is wondering just where in the world did I take it and why am I eating at 4 a.m.! (There's an eight-hour time difference, so eating at noon is like 4 a.m. ET).
A large part of the day was spent traveling along the dusty, barren, camel-ridden highways of Kuwait. It's kind of funny driving along these roads and seeing absolutely nothing but the sandiest sand (if that even means anything) and then, out of nowhere, you see a Burger King! Then for another stretch of several quizillion dusty miles, you see not one single thing, then all of a sudden there's a strip mall adjacent to a large condo complex, and some guy selling beaded necklaces. Very different from what I'm used to (and by the way, "quizillion" is actually an ancient term which, in English, literally translates to "Damn, that's a lot of dirt!")
What I really found interesting was that among all this dirt, you would occassionally see these tents scattered around or sometimes in clusters varying in size and color. When we asked what they were, our security escort said they were basically families choosing to live in the desert to sort of "get back to their roots." I'm unsure of how long each family does so, but I found it amazing that people chose to bring their families out into basically nothing. I imagine there is great personal reward gained through such sacrifice.
On this day, we visited three bases: Camp Buehring, LSA and "The Rock". At each base, we were given a general overview of the history and what each base does and then given the chance to ask questions. I asked how they managed their own political views and about any disagreements they may have. For us stateside, we can oppose the decisions our government makes, namely war, but not have to go fight. I wondered how tough it was to oppose the war yet still have to fight in the war. He said the soldiers can, of course, say whatever they wanted in their pillows at night, but that they still respect the decisions from their superiors. I again saw a similarity from my world, where a player could disagree with something yet still respect the person in charge.
The meet-and-greets put on by the people from Pro Sports MVP are a fun and relaxed way to meet the troops. Although I'm quite sure they enjoy meeting, greeting and taking pictures with the cheerleaders more than Willie Roaf, Josh Wilson and myself, I still get a kick out of it when the troops ask to take pictures with me holding their guns! I'm always like, "Man, I was hoping you would ask! Can I shoot a couple rounds too?!" ... negative. Oh well, once again I took the opportunity to play tough and actually somehow managed to take a Rambo-type picture, minus the bandana, while holding two guns at the same time! I call it 'Rambro'-ridiculous. I know, but it was just too tempting and easy! To give you an idea of how small the world is, while visiting the soldiers at "The Rock", I actually met not one but two people who knew my dad back in Texas.
The drive back to our base was probably highlighted by our attempts to feed the camels while driving by. It basically turned into Josh throwing fruit at the camels while they stared at us like "stupid Americans." We also had some pretty intense games of dominoes. It was Raiderette Jovan Canada and I against Willie and Josh. We won the first series and they won the second. I will keep you updated as to how bad we beat them!
More to come...