Q&A With Football Senior Robert Kava




Nov. 8, 2011

Why did you choose to come to West Point?
I initially chose to come to West Point because I wanted to be in the military, the education was free, and I got to play Division I football. It wasn't until I took my oath, alongside my thousand classmates, that I truly realized that my decision wasn't really about me. It is about the 35-plus soldiers whose lives I will be responsible for when I graduate. I chose to come to West Point because I wanted that responsibility.

What does it mean to be an Army football Player?
Being an Army football player means being among the toughest group of players our opponents will face on their schedule. It doesn't matter if we're up by 50 points or down by 50 points, the first play of the game or the last play of the game, being an Army football player means we're going to get after you EVERY SINGLE SNAP. An Army football player never quits because the men and women who are fighting for our freedom to play this game never quit either. We play for them just as much we play for the men beside us. I have been given the rare privilege to be surrounded by brothers who love this game of football like no one else, who play the game the only way we know how, with an "Attack" offense and a "Swarm" defense. Being an Army football player truly is a great honor.

How has playing football at Army changed you?
Playing football here has taught me a lot about patience and humility. It has also changed my attitude and mentality towards how I approach adversity. Being poised and precise is the mentality while playing low, fast and on the edge is the attitude. If I can do these things on every snap, exam, or military training excercise, chances are I'm going to like what I see in the end. It starts with recognizing what I cannot control which allows me to focus on the things that I can control. From there its "Go, Baby Go!" and I haven't looked back since.

Your older brother, David, played football at Army as well. Did that influence your decision to come here?
Yes it did. As I was talking with my brother early on in my recruiting process, he made a very clear distinction that, though playing Division 1-A football is great, playing Division 1-A football at West Point is even greater and a priceless privilege I shouldn't take lightly. He made me promise that I wouldn't come here because of him and that I make that decision for myself, because he understood the bigger picture of becoming a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army was the more important mission. My older brother has been a huge part of my life here at West Point. There is not one thing I have done here where I haven't asked him for his advice. He has taught me everything I know, and he's the best mentor I could ever ask for.

Describe your fondest memory of Army football.
My fondest memory will be when we line up in front of the Corps of Cadets and sing our Alma Mater AFTER Navy sings theirs. Then we will hoist the Commander in Chiefs trophy and bring it on our bus back to West Point. The path to get there is harsh and unforgiving, but as the Army football team, we're committed to each other and committed to this path we have chosen. It will give us a chance to make this happen. Singing second will be a fond memory indeed.

What branch do you want to enter after graduation and why?
I would like to branch infantry because it is something I've been thinking of doing since I was a little kid playing hide-and-seek with my brothers in my backyard. Coming to West Point and learning everything I know thus far has only strengthened my commitment to become an infantry officer. But the beauty of the Army is that there are so many great opportunities to lead soldiers and become a part of a team. I would be glad to be a part of any branch that I would go into. Taking care of my soldiers and becoming a good leader is what is more important to me. I'm here to soak up every bit of knowledge I can because I owe it to my fellow brothers and sisters in the profession of arms to be the best person that I can be.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy reading a good book every now and then. Also, hanging out with my buddies scheming about how we can take over the world in a weekend is always a good way to decompress and relax. I also enjoy the Monday Feasts with my fellow offensive linemen. It is a great bonding session for us upperclassmen to get to know more about the younger guys and help them out with the rigors of West Point life. We certainly have bonded together as a strong unit.

If you weren't playing football, what other sport would you play?
I grew up playing rugby. It's a game that holds a special place in my heart, so if I wasn't playing football, I would love to pick that sport up again. I love the physicality and the mental preparation that comes with contact sports, especially the fierce competitive nature that gets displayed on a field or in an arena. But after four years of playing Army football, I think I will give my body a break and take up golf or baseball. I'm horrible at both, but I'm always excited to learn something new.

What is the most important lesson you have learned during your time at West Point?
The most important lesson I've learned here at West Point would have to be time management. As a cadet, there is not enough time in a day to accomplish all our military, academic and physical requirements, so managing our time to the minute is essential. Understanding what we can control is an important part of time management because it allows us to prioritize and decide how much energy we should put into something. This absolutely applies to what we do as a football team in that we pride ourselves in being poised, precise and determined. Focusing all our efforts and energy on what we can control and zoning everything else out is what allows us to become all those things.

Who at West Point has influenced you the most and why?
My close friends Justin Volk, Emmett Cosgrove, Jonathan Cohen, David Ford, Christopher Swain, and Broghan Carnes (to name a few) have had a huge impact during my time here at West Point. We have gone through everything together here at West Point. From grueling summer military training, tortures of the academic year, to Firstie year, we have grown a lot and learned a lot from each other.

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