By 'Mark Wright'
LDS Linebacker Chosen Team Captain at Navy
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND -- The United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD is a
place that trains young men and women for a career in the service of their
country. It prepares the minds and bodies of the young midshipmen to serve a
cause greater than themselves. While the concept of service to others is
foreign to some of these trainees, others have already learned many of
life's lessons about service. In the case of Annapolis senior Jake Bowen,
football player and recently returned missionary for the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, service was a way of life for two years.
Bowen served his mission in a remote, impoverished area of northeastern
Brazil and learned first-hand about helping other people while sacrificing
your own ambitions. His objective was to spread the gospel to poor,
illiterate people and change them inside. He spent his days working without
pay, trying to help the people of Brazil rise above their personal
challenges and improve themselves. According to Bowen, "It was a
life-altering experience. It really changed my priorities in life." After
successfully completing his mission, Bowen had serious reservations about
returning to the Naval Academy with its demanding and regimented lifestyle.
However, after some serious soul-searching, he decided to finish what he'd
begun and he returned to Annapolis last year to complete his degree.
This year, Bowen hope to close out his collegiate football career by
reversing the fortunes of a team that finished last season with a dismal
1-10 record. That's a far cry from Bowen's first year at the Academy when
the Midshipmen went 9-3, winning the Aloha bowl to cap off a very successful
season. After returning, Bowen needed little time readjusting to the
football field, registering 72 tackles as a Junior and being selected as
co-captain of the football team by his teammates for his Senior campaign.
The selection as a captain caught Bowen by surprise. "I had been in Brazil
for almost two years while the guys who chose me had been bonding through
plebe summer and everything else. I was shocked. It was the best thing that
has happened to me so far at the academy."
So now, sporting the number "1" on his jersey, Bowen believes that he can
have yet another crack at helping others to find the best inside themselves
and rise to the challenge. An acknowledged leader among his peers, Bowen
firmly believes that his mission prepared him well to be a captain. He
already knows about serving other people and making them better at whatever
Bowen rewards teammates' faith in him
Baltimore MD Sun 28Aug01 S2
By Kent Baker: Sun Staff
Navy captain missed 2 years on mission