San Diego

Aztecs, Marines Show Mutual Respect in Practice at MCAS Miramar

SDSU spent time with San Diego-based warriors on Friday

College football players and United States Marines wear very different uniforms … but the people inside those uniforms are probably a lot more similar than most people realize.

“A lot of the mindset is the same. You try to make yourself better every single day,” said Col. Charles Dockery, commanding officer at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. “I think ultimately we are our own biggest competitor so if you can make yourself better every day I think that’s a trait that both an Aztec football player and a Marine would share.”

They got to know each other on Friday when San Diego State made a special visit to MCAS Miramar. The Aztecs held a practice and spent time getting to know a new group of their peers.

“This morning has been great,” offensive lineman Ryan Pope said. “Just having breakfast with all the Marines, it was an honor just bouncing ideas (off each other) and talking to them like people our age because that’s what they are.”

Several Aztecs already know all about military life, such as offensive lineman Daishawn Dixon. His mother, father, and step-father all served in the Air Force. He might have, too, had he not been a larger kid and grown to be 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds.

“My first time playing football I was like seven years old on a military base in Langley, Virginia,” Dixon said.

Defensive back Jeff Clay felt right at home in Miramar since his father was also a Marine.

“It was kind of scary when he went off to Afghanistan for that year or two,” Clay said. “I was always thinking about him and worried about him because he couldn’t communicate with us that well. He had to write letters or call us at certain hours. But I’m proud of him because he retired after 21 years. I feel like he’s my hero as well as everybody else’s.”

Growing up in a military family can be tough but both Dixon and Clay took out of it some positive and important life lessons.

“Always be on time, be disciplined, yes sir, no sir, just do right,” Dixon said.

“You have to be able to take criticism and not take it personally because it’s meant to be beneficial,” said Clay, who also learned that football players are tough. But are they as tough as his dad?

“NO! No, he’s too tough.”

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