I've never really been one to dwell on the fact that my husband comes up short in the pay department as compared to civilian counterparts with the same education and work experience. Well, yes. I know what you're thinking and yes, you're right. It's difficult to find a civilian job that is comparable to being a warrior, but you know what I mean. I've rarely -- if ever -- heard someone declare that they chose a military career for the money. Oh, don't get me wrong, there are fantastic benefits, but I'll go out on a limb and say that I doubt the salary is a big draw for most people.
I'm at peace with my husband being a soldier. The lifestyle, as rough as it can be at times, suits us. I don't begrudge his civilian counterparts one red cent of what they earn. Nor do I begrudge athletes or celebrities what they earn. But the word "earn" can have multiple meanings. You can earn money. You can earn respect. You can earn a reputation.
Soldiers earn much. None of it material. Being a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine is an honorable profession. I'm biased, but I happen to think it's the most honorable profession of all. I see firsthand, every single day, what it takes to selflessly serve your country, especially in a post 9/11 world. Duty, Honor, Country. Those are more than mere words. Military families often live in a bubble. We rarely take the time to truly contemplate and stand in awe of what our spouses do. We rarely have the time to contemplate. That's because we're so busy taking care of the homefront so they can focus on the battlefield. Or wind down from the battlefield. Or ramp up for the battlefield, whether it be the usual ones or some potential new battlefield. To think that your spouse would give his life, voluntarily, for his country. Wow. It's almost too much to take in. Even for those of us who live this life.
We know we're married to noble men and women who ask nothing in return for their courage and selfless service. Although we know it to be true, we rarely dwell on the fact that they're in a league of their own. But let someone try to butt into that league who has no business whatsoever being there and whoa boy - look out.
I wouldn't know Antrel Rolle if I were sitting next to him in a bar, but apparently he's a football player for the New York Giants. Good for Antrel. My husband lives for Sunday (and Monday and Thursday and Saturday). Antrel and his team must have had a bad week because they were apparently booed by fans. I know. Horror of Horrors. Antrel's response was, well, you be the judge:
"They want to make it that guys paid this much money for a ticket, yeah, I understand that, I understand completely. We risk ourselves out there on the field each and every day also. When soldiers come home from Iraq you don't boo them. I look at it the same way. I take my job seriously," Rolle said.Oh, Antrel! Big, fat NO NO. Where to begin....
Certainly this is the point at which I wanted to take Antrel to the woodshed like only a military spouse could. I'm sure you're feeling the same way, too. I was all wee-wee'd up and decided to offer a rather indecent proposal. A switch only a reality show, football fan, or both, could fully appreciate. I was ready to suggest that Antrel swap places with my husband for a little while. My husband would no doubt love to barrel out of the tunnel each week to the uproarious cheers and applause of tens of thousands of fans. Okay, not really, but he would love to be on the field all suited up, especially with the New England Patriots...
Antrel and I could be married (sans benefits). Just long enough for him to realize that one cannot, on any level, compare a football player with a warrior. Each has his position in the world, but they are most certainly not comparable. Just as I was envisioning my new role as Army wife to a football player-turned-soldier, it was brought to my attention that Antrel has seen the light.
Later in the day he was taking a much more humble stance.And with that, my marriage to Antrel Rolle was over, before it even began. Looks like I won't be cashing in on my indecent proposal after all. And I can tell you with absolute certainty that there's one man who should be very, very happy about this.
"I gave the analogy as far as when you have troops coming from Iraq they don't get booed. And you know, it's not even a comparable analogy," he said. "You cannot remotely compare what we do as opposed to what they do. They're fighting for our freedom, they're fighting for our country, We're out there playing a game. At the end of the day, it's a game. We get paid a lot of money, I understand that. But at the end of the day it's a game."
His name is Antrel Rolle.