You may've heard of USC Community Outreach. On Thursday night, they put together a joint venture between U.S. troops based in Afghanistan and members of the USC Trojan football team.
The two groups battled it out online, playing Call of Duty in a quite enjoyable event. In conjunction with the Pros vs. G.I. Joe's Program, players and troops shared some valuable lessons both in video games and putting life into its proper perspective.
Led by a collection of big-name players, including quarterback Cody Kessler, center Max Tuerk, wide receiver JuJu Smith (an avid Call of Duty fan) and Soma Vainuku, the Trojans took part in some competitive Xbox action. The MVP was arguably Smith, who completed one game with an outstanding 56-8 kill to death ratio, but all in all the guys seemed to have plenty of fun drawing out their competitive juices against one another.
Starting with the combination of Cody Kessler and Max Tuerk, the Trojan captains really enjoyed the hour of video games and fun conversations. In a night Kessler called awesome and definitely worthwhile for everyone involved, the Trojans certainly had some fun in the midst of midterms season and intense preparation for Arizona State.
I wandered into the McKay Center late on a Thursday night hoping that I'd actually get a chance to play. As someone who has spent hundreds of hours playing Call of Duty, I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to feast my eyes on the great game in a fantastic venue with some fun dudes on the football team. Persistence pays off! Near the end of the session, I got an opportunity to take on our troops on the Xbox. Score one for the reporter.
While guys like Robby Kolanz, Alex Bridgford and USC Community Outreach Director Matt Ackels also took part in the festivities, it was the vibrant enthusiasm of Soma Vainuku that kept the group fired up for some intense gaming.
"I'm pretty passionate at the video games like I am on the football field," Soma Vainuku said.
The troops were certainly thrilled to get a break from their duties, spending the hour chatting, cracking jokes and relaxing in the moment. Through it all, I couldn't help but giggle watching these players get super intense at the McKay Center, a site best known for providing recruits the all-encompassing experience on those massive video boards.