Rest__Sports


 


Sports


Soldier or civilian, the American male is a sportsman to the core.   The men of this regiment are no exception.  Whenever there have been "off-hours," boxing, baseball, basketball, volleyball and wrestling have come to the fore.   At Camp McCoy these interests were the impetus for developing a full-scale athletic park at which most of the regiment, either as participants or spectators, followed their favorite sports.  In the long summer evenings, on the grounds around the regimental Rec Hall, hundreds of men gathered for boxing and wrestling matches, for baseball games with other Division units, or for a casual game of horseshoes or ping-pong.   During the winter months basketball was on the schedule, and its was the 304th's team which won the Camp McCoy championship for the 1944 season.
     The athletic program of the regiment owed much of its vigor and interest to Lt. Edmund S. McCarron, who was lost to the regiment on a Tiger Patrol mission even before the push into Germany.  It was his enthusiasm and energy, combined with a love of people, which sparked the imagination of the men and made the program click.   Surrounding him were the faithful crew of enlisted men who faithfully carried on the work he began.
     During the voyage overseas on the Brazil, boxing and wrestling matches on the deck were an important point in the troops' daily recreation schedule; but the boxing gloves, the baseballs and the bats were soon to be packed away.   When the regiment crossed the Channel and moved through France toward the front lines, the athletic equipment was dropped at Reims, to remain there until the fighting job was over.
     The next big opportunity for sports was to come when the regiment turned to military government duties in Germany.   A few days following V-E Day, a full-scale athletic schedule was in complete swing, with Lt. Anthony Cemore supervising.   Swimming meets, a baseball team, track meets, softball, tennis and badminton facilities filled the drab German cities and villages of the regimental area with a life and laughter to which they had not been accustomed for a good ten years.

 





Repro: original page 319

Sports

The lessons learned back here in McCoy were multiple. Men discovered how to relax and how to enjoy themselves.  And, unconsciously, as they learned this they also learned speed, to hit hard and squarely, an accurate eye and a sure hand.






The lesson was initiative, competi-tion, love of sport--and love of life. And love of life meant to survive.  The lesson was learned the American way--that being the fashion in which these men were born and built.









And when the war was done the first thought was of sport.  It was like washing with soap and hot water.  It meant dispelling from one's brain all the cobwebs of foreign notions and impressions accumulated in six months of combat.  Holding that ball in your hands and pitching it around meant finding your feet firmly anchored to the steadying earth once again.

 


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