Who’s side are you on?

By Brian Belford

The NIU ROTC cadets had to have seen this coming for some time now.

As the Army football team rolls into town Saturday, one would think the cadets on campus might be conflicted over who to root for.

Will they root for the team that represents the United States military, for which, at some point in their careers as officers, they will all be serving?

Or will they be rooting for the Huskies, who caught NIU’s attention last year with their school-record 11 victories and win in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl?

The ROTC cadets and officers were not deterred by this loaded question, and answered firmly without conviction.

“I think that we all feel some allegiance to the Army team, but this week it’s different,” said Lt. Col. David Dosier, the U.S. Army Chair at the College of Health and Human Sciences for NIU. “The fact they play Northern has us all leaning toward the Huskies.”

Other cadets were much more staunch in their assessment of who they thought their peers would root for.

“I’m part of the Huskie Battalion; I’m not a part of West Point,” said junior MS3 Cadet Gim Reo . “I expect all of the cadets here at NIU to root for the Huskies going into the game,”

The NIU ROTCs will one day be serving for the Army, perhaps even taking orders from cadets who went to or played for Army at West Point. But the Huskie cadets said they have no contact with West Point.

“Generally ROTC cadets don’t meet a lot of West Point cadets,” said senior MS4 Cadet Randa Hamadeh. “The ROTC cadets are required to go to a leadership assessment camp every year, but the West Point cadets are the exception to the rule. They go to a completely different camp, so we have no contact with them.”

This might give the impression that the men and women of West Point are off in their own little world in New York, which carries the negative connotation that they may be a little arrogant.

“I wouldn’t agree or disagree, but I have heard that before,” Hamadeh said.

At least it seems the NIU cadets have no problem rooting against the Black Knights of Army, but what about the NIU football team? Do they feel strange about wanting to beat up a team that represents our country and our G.I.’s?

“Absolutely not. At least for me, it’s not,” said NIU starting strong safety Tommy Davis. “You just want to go out there and win. Off the field, those guys fight for our country, and we’re very fortunate to have them. But on the field, you’re trying to get the W.”

One thing is certain; if NIU wins, and the Huskie Cadets ever meet a West Point cadet or officer, they will own the right to gloat.

“It would definitely be a topic of conversation, and we would have the bragging rights,” said senior MS4 Cadet Cooper Westvig.