Air Force’s Reid never thought about military, but now embracing it
Playing college athletics and serving in the military is in A.J. Reid’s blood.
His dad, Alan, was a Division I football player and his uncles graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Today, Reid finds himself in a similar situation as both his dad and his uncles. He’s currently a Division I athlete with the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and he is serving the in the United States military at the same time – only his path is vastly different from those family members that came before him.
Reid, a junior forward out of Lakeville, Minn., grew up playing football, which was easy since his dad was able to coach him. But when high school came, Reid decided to exit the life on the gridiron.
“I always had a choice on what sport I wanted to play,” Reid said. “I liked hockey a little bit better and my mom saw some of the injuries that my dad had from football, so she obviously wanted me to go the hockey route.”
So that’s exactly what he did.
Initially, it looked like Reid was going to follow in his family’s footsteps and attend West Point, but it took some time for him to even reach that decision. Growing up, he wasn’t sure that military service was the life he would seek.
“I never thought of myself doing that even though it had a strong presence in my family,” he said. “It was scary at first for me and it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, but it started to look like it would be a great thing.”
He also happened to fall on the radar of the coaches at the Academy. Initially, Reid had decided he was going to play for Army and had to turn the Falcons down twice. But Air Force coach Frank Serratore didn’t give up in his pursuit.
“The coaches showed that they really wanted me,” Reid said. “They kept coming back, so I decided that if they wanted me, I should come here.”
That instinct has played dividend for both the Falcons and for Reid. In his freshman campaign, Reid made an immediate contribution to the Falcons, scoring five goals and assisting on five others.
Things only got better last year as Reid finished fourth on the team in scoring with 10 goals and 20 assists. His six power-play goals were good for second-best on the club.
His success is a result of lessons that he learned early from his father, who said that work needs to be done in order for results to be favorable.
“The one thing that my dad always stressed was effort,” Reid said. “He always said if you’re not going to work in the game, then you’re going to work when you get home.”
Long before there were any thoughts of joining the military, Reid found himself on the receiving end of lessons that were appropriate for his aspiring sports career and for life in general.
“When you’re a kid, sometimes you tend to pout and then you stop trying,” Reid said. “So when those times came about, I got to do some work when I got home. It was always about the work effort. It was never about whether I was good or I was bad.”
Now that work effort has paid off. While some only have one family avenue to follow, Reid was able to have two choices, but rather than make one choice, Reid decided to have his cake and eat it, too.
And the lessons he learned when he was a kid have made him successful in both realms.
— Dan Mohrmann