For service, family: Military runs deep for McBride
Douglas McBride Jr. wasn’t there to see his son Tre McBride earn his first career start for William & Mary against Maryland, and he wasn’t there to see Tre set a career-high 137 yards against Delaware.
But the Brigadier General and 55th Quartermaster of the United States Army was watching from afar when Tre, whose real name is Douglas McBride III, registered six catches for 97 yards against the Terps in 2012 and when he racked up nearly 250 all-purpose yards a few weeks later against the Blue Hens.
Stationed thousands of miles away and tasked with leading brave servicemen and women never stopped McBride from serving his family.
For the McBrides, the military is a family business.
“I have served for over 30 years, and the only reason I’ve been able to do that is because of my family,” Brig. Gen. McBride, whose father served in the Vietnam War, said during a recent phone conversation. “My family has bought in to service for country. They understood that dad wasn't going to be there physically, but dad would be there spirituality.”
It tested the McBrides' resolve, but the family never flinched. They never even thought to.
When he was deployed to Iraq in 2007, Tre, still a teen in his formative years, was tasked with being the one to step up for his sister and his mom. But a strong will and the discipline to know role and responsibility were always there.
“I remember going into eighth grade sending my dad to Iraq," Tre said. "I remember seeing the plane land when he came back from overseas. It’s that in-between time when you just wonder if everyone is OK. But we had each other. I had to step up for my mom and sister, and my mom had to step up for my sister and I.”
When the elder McBride was deployed to Afghanistan in June 2012, he was unable to watch the entirety of Tre’s sophomore season, in which the 6-1, 190-pound wideout was named Offensive Team MVP and hauled in a career-high 10 touchdowns.
But the McBrides are unwavering. They are a family of dedication, loyalty and responsibility. It’s the backbone of not just Tre’s athletic career, but his entire life.
“Discipline, responsibility and expectation. That’s what my dad passed down to my sister and I,” the former seventh-round NFL Draft pick said. “Whether he was physically here or not, he always had a good way of balancing his message. Never unrealistically hard, but not complacent.”
When asked to name his most memorable accomplishment, Tre glosses over the gaudy stats and skips past the highlight-reel touchdown catches.
‘Graduating from leadership training. That was the best feeling in the world,” he said. “I will never forget that day. It was something I've never been through before and no matter how many games, training camps and practices you do, it can’t prepare you for that.”
Tre was not alone in those sentiments.
“Tre’s basic training at Fort Knox," the elder McBride said. "The pride he had when he graduated from basic training when he stood on that field, it humbled him.”
Both McBrides speak with a calm but confident cadence. They spoke separately but spoke as one: 'Take care of your responsibilities so you afford yourself the time to do what you want.'
That isn’t lip service or a catchy family motto. It’s what a life of devotion to family and country has instilled in them.
When Tre wanted to question himself, wanted to wonder if his time as a pro football player was running out, he never wavered.
“Be the beast you know you can be," he said. "Work ethic. That 'never quit.' It’s a mindset, it's mind over matter. Things always looked like they were over. but I was able to keep my head down and trust the process. And I found a way to get another opportunity or to come from behind or make a big play. It's never over.”
It's not over for Tre. In fact, it’s only just beginning.
“We have a saying among people in military communities,” he said. “Once you're family, you're family for life. Stay in the fight. keep your head up. Work hard and lead those around you and everything will fall into place.”
Everything will fall into place for McBride when the Defenders begin minicamp in early December.