THE CANADIAN PRESS
MISSISSAUGA -- Tangling with 300-pound linemen and running sideline to sideline to track down a speedy running back is the easiest job Robert McCune has ever had.
The Toronto Argonauts linebacker isn't mocking the physical demands football places on a player. But they simply don't compare to the rigours and real-life threats military personnel serving overseas deal with on a daily basis.
The six-foot, 240-pound McCune knows this first-hand. After graduating from high school, he spent three years in the U.S. National Guard, a component of the United States Army, and served overseas in Korea, Kuwait and Afghanistan.
McCune spent eight months in Afghanistan fuelling planes and an assortment of other military vehicles. Working long hours in sweltering heat was a big enough challenge, but it paled in comparison to living with the constant threat of an attack on a fuel compound located in a hostile territory.
|Gaining Perspective |
|"It was a wonderful learning lesson to make you appreciate the small things we have here like clean water and a roof over your head with air conditioning because over there people aren't always fortunate enough to have those."
- Argos LB Robert McCune regarding his experience in the military
"There was always that threat," McCune said. "There were nights you'd be lying in bed and you'd hear shots being fired or missiles blowing up or you'd wake up scared silly.
"Yeah, there were nights I woke up scared wondering 'What's going on?' and you'd have to throw on a gas mask and be prepared for some sort of gas attack or anything like that. But the military does a good job of preparing you for those type of situations and after a while it became like second nature to do what you had to do."
The 33-year-old McCune was hoping to play university football after high school but opted for military life when no suitable scholarships came his way. With his father and sister both having served in the military before him, McCune said it wasn't a hard decision to follow in their footsteps.
"Military life taught me discipline, it taught me to not only be on time but be places early," McCune said. "It also taught me the importance of a work ethic and doing what you're supposed to do.
"It also taught me how to work with different people who come from different backgrounds and ethnic groups, how to get along with one another and coming together to become a team to achieve a task. It didn't matter if one person didn't like the other or if someone had a bad attitude because you had to put that all aside to become a team and accomplish your goal."
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