No Payne, No Gain
By Amanda Lowrance
McNairy Central’s defensive lineman Joseph Payne returned to the Bobcat lineup last Thursday ready to fight after spending more than 80 days in combat training at Army boot camp.
When the community greeted, hugged, and welcomed him home after a summer of Drill Sergeants yelling and commanding, the transition was awkward and uncomfortable according to Payne.
Fellow students and players have assigned him the nickname, Major Payne.
“Boot camp is very hard,” said Payne. “It is everything everybody said it was going to be.”
Raised by Johnny and Sherri Payne of Bethel Springs, Tenn., Payne was not raised in a military family except for an uncle who was in the Navy.
“I’m proud of him,” said Payne’s mother Sherri, who was so excited and glad to have him home safely.
“She cried,” said Payne, referring to his mom. “She is very supportive.”
Payne’s reason for joining the Army was simply for patriotism and for the love of his country.
Friday night, Payne joined the Bobcats on the field against St. Benedict after only attending a few practices in the spring before enlisting May 31.
“Coach respects it a lot. To get out of practice, is not a good thing, but to still get to play is real good.”
Payne compared the Army and football with the activity that is involved in each.
“If you’re going into the military, you’re going to boot camp and I know you will be in shape when you come back,” said Coach Jim Glover before the Jamboree at Meet the Bobcats.
Something that Joseph brought back from boot camp other than being in good shape is a strong sense of discipline, which he wants instill in his teammates.
“I admire this guy,” said Glover. “Joseph hung in there and kept digging and working until he found a home at defensive end. One of the things that we noticed this spring is all the tackles and the hustle that Joe Payne had. He is that kind of kid that you know you can depend on. We are fortunate to have him.”
When asked what he would say to someone thinking about joining the Army, Payne responded, “Do it. We need people to join the army. Only one percent of the U.S. is in any military, whether it’s the Army, Marines, or whatever branch. We need more people in the military.”