Oct. 15, 2012
Cadet Q&A: Jared Hassin
Why did you choose to come to West Point?
Since the age of five, I dreamed of being a cadet at West Point and going on to earn my commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. My father, USMA '71, educated my sister and me about the institution, and we found that its purpose, its traditions, the Honor Code, and the opportunities that each cadet has post-graduation were very appealing to us both. I chose to go to West Point not because I wanted to follow in my father's and sister's (USMA '10) footsteps necessarily, but I knew that I wanted to give back to this incredible country of ours because of all of the opportunities that it has given me. I saw attending West Point, and commissioning as an Officer in the Army, as the most suitable means for me to do so.
What does it mean to be an Army football player?
Being an Army football player, and having the privilege of representing the Corps of Cadets, the Academy, and the United States Army on field each week has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Since attending my first Army football game at Michie Stadium for my father's 30th class reunion, I dreamed of one day being down on the field, wearing a No. 7 jersey and playing this game that I love in front of best fans in all of college football. Therefore, being an Army football player represents the culmination of the hard work and dedication I've put into this sport. Moreover, having this opportunity to be a member of a team that plays for far more than fame, or increasing signing bonuses once they get drafted into the NFL, is a uniquely humbling opportunity. Getting to put on the Army football jersey and going out to compete every Saturday for the Corps of Cadets, the Academy, and every Soldier in the U.S. Army is arguably the greatest honor that any collegiate football player could ever have.
How has playing football at Army shaped you?
Army football has developed me through two fundamental ways: (1)being a member of a brotherhood, and (2) representing something far greater than myself. Enduring the constant challenges of the Academy can be difficult at times for any cadet at West Point. Balancing one's time with a rigorous academic schedule and cadet life can be difficult enough as it is, but when a cadet has to balance all of the demands of the institution coupled with the demands on one's time, body, and mind that it takes to compete at the highest tier of Division I football, or any sport at the Academy for that matter, it can, at times, increase the difficulty of the institution dramatically. I would not be where I am today if it were not for my brothers on the team. Together, we endure the daily "grind" of the Academy, academics, countless hours of football and our summer military training. This fact bonds our team, arguably, more than any other collegiate football team in the country. It is the practice of waking up each day, meeting the standards in all aspects of cadet life, going to practice together, eating every meal together, and going to bed each night, only to wake up and do it all again the next day, that makes this a brotherhood. On top of all of that, we have the honor and privilege of representing some of the best people in the country each week on the football field: American Soldiers.
Describe your fondest memory of Army football.
My fondest memory of Army Football was the Armed Forces Bowl in 2010. Not only the game itself, but the entire week leading up to the competition was an unforgettable experience. The team stayed in Fort Worth, Texas. It was only my second time visiting Texas, and being able to visit the city with the purpose of winning the first bowl game in recent memory for the program was tremendous. Each day, we'd practice at a local high school; the sidelines of the field were flooded with members of the media, VIPs, and locals who came out to watch the team practice, and we practiced better as a team during that week than during any other point throughout the season. Each night, we'd have dinner as a team at different local restaurants. My favorite place that we ate was a local Texas barbeque joint, Billy Bob's Texas. The place was divided in half; the Army team and our families on one side, and the SMU team and their families on the other. There was a stage in the back of the restaurant where the hosts held a series of friendly, light-hearted competitions between the two teams. It was an opportunity to see the SMU team and to spend some time together before facing off on the field a few days later. They were a great group of guys. The game itself was the most fun I've ever had playing football. It was a dog-fight down to the end. On our last drive, we were faced with a "forth-and-short" situation that we needed to convert in order to secure a 16-14 victory. Coach (Ian) Shields called for a roll-out pass to our right, one that we had practiced thousands of times throughout the course of the season, and Trent (Steelman) delivered a perfect pass to Davyd Brooks. Davyd (now 2LT Brooks) locked in Trent's pass just past the sticks, and secured the victory for the Army team. I will remember that experience for the rest of my life.
You led Army in rushing in the Armed Forces Bowl win over SMU in 2010. Describe your feelings after that performance.
After the performance, I was filled with utter elation. I actually did not know that I was the leading rusher for the team until I was posed this question, but what I remember most about the game was our team going out onto that field, giving it everything that we had in us for four quarters against a worthy opponent, leaving nothing behind, and having the time of our lives together. I'd never felt more proud to be a member of a team before in my life. The young men, who I stepped out on the field with down at SMU that day, just as the young men who are members of the 2012 team, are my brothers, and being a member of that team is something I will be proud of forever.
What is the most important lesson you have learned while at West Point?
The most important lesson I've learned while being at West Point is that of trust. The Cadet Honor Code at West Point is great in so many ways, but the most important aspect of the Honor Code, in my opinion, is that it facilitates absolute trust within Corps of Cadets. I can trust that what cadets tell me is the truth, and they can do the same. I don't have to worry about anybody coming into my room and stealing my things. I don't have to be concerned with people cheating in the academic realm. It is, for lack of a better term, liberating. Furthermore, as it relates to football, the amount of trust that we have for each member of the team is without bound. Whether it is the trust that a teammate is going to make that critical block to open up a hole for one of our running backs or make a touchdown-stopping tackle, or it's the trust that each guy will be where they need to be, when they need to be there, putting forth 110 percent effort for the team, trust, in my opinion, bonds our team closer together than any other factor possibly could.
What do you like to do in what little down time you have?
In my down time, I enjoy doing a lot of different things. During any time I have during the day that isn't designated to homework or football related activities, I enjoy watching an episode or two of one of my favorite shows via Netflix with my roommate; that is, of course, if I'm not trying to squeeze a quick nap into my day. I also enjoy playing the piano, although it's difficult to find time in my day to pull out my keyboard, set it all up in my room and play for a while. On football weekends, after an Army victory, I enjoy spending time with my friends and teammates, as well as my girlfriend and family when they're able to make the trip. On leave, I always enjoy going back home to Delafield, Wisc., to get back in touch with my roots, catch up with some of my old friends, spend time with loved ones, and remind myself again of the reasons that I chose a life of service to our nation.