Watching 2013 Male Athlete of the Year Maj. Nate Conkey train at JBLM

By J.M. Simpson on March 28, 2014

What do you do when you meet a man with straight answers and a crooked nose?

You listen.  Carefully.

"Don't settle for someone else's expectations," Maj. Nate Conkey said as he rested between weight repetitions at the Wilson Sports & Fitness Center early yesterday morning.

"Through your efforts you learn what you can achieve.  Through a sense of urgency you can push yourself to be great."

Then he turned and began to do push-ups.

>>>  Maj. Nate Conkey, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, works out at the Wilson Fitness Center. AUSA recently named him the 2013 Army Male Athlete of the Year. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

To that end, Conkey, who is assigned as the executive officer to 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, has worked hard to excel in rugby at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

In his sixth All-Army rugby team appearance in 2013, Conkey helped lead Army to a 19-14 victory over Air Force at the Armed Forces Rugby Sevens Championship.

The expectation and urgency to do well paid off.

Earlier this year, All-Army Sports named Conkey the 2013 Male Athlete of the Year at the Association of the United States Army Winter Symposium in Huntsville, Ala.

Conkey, who rowed on West Point's crew team, first played rugby while stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. He immediately took to the sport.

"It was one of those things I was missing," Conkey said.

"You do PT every day, but there's that extra camaraderie and extra competition of sports; that's what I fell in love with," added the native of Virginia.

He works out five days a week for about 90 minutes. Workouts vary from sprints and anaerobic exercise to weight lifting. Conkey plans on playing in this year's Army Forces Rugby tournament in August.

Conkey is married to Maj. Kate Conkey, who is assigned to the 22nd Military Police Battalion. He added that he is committed to his unit and that he appreciates the All-Army program because it allows him to play a sport he loves.

"So why not be great? Why not pursue your dream now? Why not go to work on what you want right now?

These are good questions from one who gives - and lives - straight answers.

>>> Maj. Nate Conkey, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, makes notes of his workout. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson