Perseverance And Pride: Cultivating Resilience At West Point Through Rugby And COVID
Anthony Melendez grew up outside of Los Angeles, California. His parents’ industrial polishing business was started by his great-grandmother following WWII. The eldest of four children, Anthony enjoyed sports, and his grandfather coached him in football for much of his youth. He was days away from sending in his deposit for the University of Hawaii when two close friends introduced him to the idea of attending the Military Academy. He decided to attend West Point, but was too late to apply with his friends. He then completed a semester at Northwestern Prep and a semester at Cal Fullerton before being accepted at the Prep School. After two years of preparation, Anthony reported for R-Day and Cadet Basic Training. At West Point, he has found that he has to work diligently in academics, but he enjoys the military aspects, and finds the physical challenges fairly easy. He is on the Rugby Team and is thankful for his teammates, who push him to be better every day. The Rugby team has developed a culture of “Pride in the Jersey,” endeavoring to pass on the reputation of the team better than they found it. During the COVID pandemic, Anthony returned home to California, and felt that the quarantine was “kind of frightening.” Returning to West Point, he describes the recent semester under COVID conditions as “challenging,” noting that restrictions are impacting morale. Reflecting on his experiences at the Military Academy, he offers the advice to “come in with an open mind, ready to be humbled,” but notes that West Point has been instrumental to his development, and he is proud of that.