Sunday evening, as I was prepping a couple of slabs of baby backs to toss on the grill for Mother’s Day dinner, my attention was drawn from my barbecue basting to an unfamiliar sight in my periphery. Off in the distance, gracing the horizon, was a group of Apache helicopters. Then another group. And yet another. In the course of a few minutes, at least 10 of them flew south. Quiet strange.
Was it a military training exercise? The end of the world? Not quite.
Those unmistakable birds in the sky were heading to the opening ceremony for the 2016 Invictus Games at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex.
The Invictus Games, founded by Prince Harry in 2014, are a Paralympic-style, multi-sport event whose participants are wounded, injured or sick veterans. Sports such as wheelchair basketball, powerlifting and track and field highlight the four day slate of competition.
The Invictus Games are immeasurably important. In the month where Memorial Day falls, recognizing and celebrating the athletic accomplishments of military personnel from around the globe is no finer tribute. These men and women risked their lives for their countries, and now they’re showing the world through sport the heights of their achievement. Setting records in cycling. Hitting bull’s eye after bull’s eye in archery. Proving that physical and emotional wounds do not have to be limitations on the field of play.
These warriors never give up, and their feats will be on display this week. If you’re interested in watching the games (and I highly recommend that you do), ESPN’s broadcast schedule can be viewed here.