Senior lacrosse captain Bobby Fulton (Atlanta, GA/Wesleyan) recently completed an interview about being named the lone captain of the team and about how he recently enlisted in the United States Army.
What does it mean to you to be named team captain?
It is quite and honor to be the sole captain on this team, and it is also a big responsibility. When I think about the lasting tradition of the Hampden-Sydney Lacrosse program, I think of the long line of outstanding players and captains that have come before me (John Gibson, Tom Oast, Cole Hawthorne, Ryan Martin) and it is truly special to be a part of this group. All of these men that have come before me were great team leaders and have moved on to become great leaders in the professional world. They really motivated their team in their own unique way and I just hope that I can do the same this year. I know there will be ups and downs in this season (there always is) but you just have to stay focused, do the right thing, and keep moving forward together as a team.
How important is the role of captain to the team?
I believe the role of captain is very important to the team. In order to be great, I strongly believe a team needs a leader who can establish a strong connection between the players and coaches. Also, I believe that it is the captain's responsibility to monitor the team's morale. There is always going to be moments when the team morale is at a low. It is during this time that the leader needs to step up and drive the morale back up. The team leader needs to be that spark that will ignite a sense of fire in his team and always keep the morale high.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I would have to say I am a very emotional leader. I come from a big football background. I was the defensive player of the year in Georgia in 2009 and had a record high of 22 tackles in the State Championship that year. My football days taught me to embrace the emotion that is displayed during competition. I believe all athletes thrive for the emotion they feel playing their sport, whether it is a big play, big down, or big defensive stand. As captain, I try and find a way to get my team to release this emotion out on the field because deep down this emotion is what drives you to take that extra step in order to achieve victory.
What are you doing to embrace the role of captain?
This year I wanted to start a new tradition with the team. In the fall, I talked to Coach Rostan and proposed the idea of a goal chart. After his approval, I had a players only team meeting. In this meeting, we came up with a set of team goals we want to accomplish this year. These goals are hanging on our wall in the locker room so every time we take a step out onto the field we see our team goals and we see what we want to accomplish. I believe this idea of having a written list of team goals creates a sense of determination everyday. Also, a written list of team goals allows us to always see what we are working hard for and striving to achieve.
Why did you choose to enlist into the United States Army?
I have always wanted to join the armed forces and serve my country but never really believed it would actually happen once I started college and chose economics as my major. However, Hampden-Sydney allowed my to explore my interest in the military through the Military Leadership and National Security Studies Minor. During my four years here, I was lucky enough to get an internship on Capitol Hill the summer after my junior year. During this summer, I realized politics was not for me and it was after this internship where I really started to take the necessary steps to join the Army.
I have always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. I believe this characteristic has allowed me to excel in sports, and now that my athletic career is on the decline, I need something else to pursue. The brotherhood and the relationships seen in the military are so incredibly strong because they are based solely on individual sacrifice, and I want to be apart of this special brotherhood. Also, I have always wanted to serve my country and be the tip of the spear. It might sound cliché but when I was young, I didn't dream about being an astronaut or the president. I put war paint on, grabbed a stick as my gun, and dreamed I was a soldier fighting America's enemies.
What is your enlistment option?
I enlisted in October with the military occupation specialty (MOS) of 18X or 18 X-ray. It means that I have enlisted in the US Army and have a tryout spot for the army special forces, also known as the Green Berets. On June 23, I ship off to basic training At Fort Benning, Georgia. After basic training, I go to infantry school and then airborne school. Once airborne school is complete, I am moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where I go through special forces (SF) selection and try out for the SF teams. If I am selected, I begin training for SF warfare and start my long journey of earning the Green Beret.