September 14, 2006

Army game holds extra meaning for Dodge

When Texas A&M faces Army Saturday at 8:15 p.m. in the Alamodome in San Antonio, patriotic feelings will be ever present on both sides of the ball.

Each of Army's players will serve as officers once they finish school, and A&M has a military history unparalleled by even most military academies.

But the game will have extra meaning for A&M junior linebacker Mark Dodge.

Dodge's heroics five years ago on 9-11 are well documented, especially with the five-year anniversary less than a week old. But Dodge also served for four years in the Army, that's 1,460 days that aren't Sept. 11, 2001, before beginning his college football career.

That makes the game even sweeter for Dodge is that he used to be under the command of West Point graduates. Rarely do enlisted men get the chance to take a shot at officers. Even though Army's football players aren't technically officers yet surely there will be members of Dodge's old unit, the Old Guard, watching Saturday night and living vicariously though Dodge wishing they could give a hit of their own at future Army officers.

But Dodge represents something other than a former Army officer heading onto the field. He also represents all those post college-aged armchair quarterbacks, or in this case linebackers, that wish they could step on the field.

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