COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Warrior Games kicked off Saturday with a volleyball match between the U.S. and the U.K. with guest players Prince Harry and Olympian Misty May-Treanor.
The U.S. Olympic Training Center stands were filled with spectators and media.
"Prince Harry was a lot of fun," said SFC Keoki Smythe, a member of the Army team. "He interacted with us really well and was having fun with it. It was a great time."
Smythe got a surprise when the third in line to the throne reached over the net and playfully tickled the top of his head between points.
"I didn't think I'd be giving him high fives and stuff," said Smythe, whose 16-year military career has left him with degenerative knees and a lower back injury. "You know, he just got down into the game and had a good time."
The volleyball game was played with players sitting on the court instead of standing.
"It's just that we play a little bit different, "said Sgt. Delvin Maston. "That's how our life is, we do things a little different.
Maston's leg was amputated above the knee after a hit-and-run in 2009.
"It meant a lot to me to be able to be picked to be a part of that (volleyball match)," he said. "That meant all the world to me, so my Warrior Games is probably made in the first 24 hours."
Maston said he has competed in nine different sports at the Warrior Games. He and Smythe agree that the competitions this week are much more than just games.
"I think for a lot of us, it's very inspirational," said Smythe. "Because you could be down on yourself and be like, 'Look, he's got it worse than me. He's missing both his legs and he can do it, why can't I?' It really stands out in your mind that you can do anything."
The soldiers said, after many deployments, the Warrior Games feels like a big welcome home celebration. They hope southern Coloradans will come celebrate with them this week.
The games run through Thursday and are free to watch. For a schedule click here.
Prince Harry will attend the cycling event at 12:30 Sunday afternoon before leaving Colorado to tour areas of New York and New Jersey impacted by Hurricane Sandy.