Dodgeball: an exercise in resiliency

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The 88th Air Base Wing Chapel community of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base recently hosted a resiliency event under the guise of a dodgeball tournament.

Twelve teams of six to eight players from across Wright-Patt signed up to dodge-duck-dip-dive-and-dodge their way through the double elimination tournament, all while getting a better understanding of the importance of resiliency.

The Air Force, by order of then Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, officially launched the Comprehensive Airman Fitness program in April 2014 when it published AFI 190-506.

CAF is comprised of targeted programs and activities and emphasizes the wingman concept. It also gives commanders the flexibility to facilitate a variety of events with the goal of building and sustaining a thriving and resilient community that fosters CAF’s four pillars: mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness.

“The dodgeball tournament was meant to be a fun and morale boosting resiliency event,” said Senior Airman Daniel Reskey, one of the event coordinators. “There are four pillars to comprehensive fitness, also known as resiliency, and the dodgeball tournament addressed all of them.”

Capt. Valdon Jensen, one of the 88th Air Base Wing chaplains and host of the tournament, explained the importance of resiliency prior to the start of the event by sharing a personal anecdote.

“As you know, we’re here with an excuse to get out of the office, to play some dodgeball, but also to talk a little about resiliency,” he said. “As you also know, resiliency has many parts to it. There’s the whole person concept—physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual—and dodgeball has all those things. Besides, what says resiliency more than chucking stuff at each other?”

Jensen thanked all of the teams for coming out to participate in the event.

“I needed this as well,” he said. “This has been a bit of a rough week for the Jensen household, and this has given me something to look forward to all week. My wife was almost 15 weeks pregnant, but we lost the baby late Sunday night. It was not a fun time, to say the least. I tell you this to illustrate the point that none of us are immune to life happening, which is why it is important for us to do stuff like this dodgeball tournament. We need to fill our tanks so that when life does come at us, we have enough fuel in the tank to get us through it and to bounce back.”

Reskey went on to explain how the tournament’s structure played into the concept of resiliency.

“Winning a double-elimination tournament of any kind embodies the whole definition of resilience,” he said. “Just because you lose one match doesn’t mean the fight is over. You get right back up and fight your way back to the championship. Teams: Juan Direction, Nerd Wars, 2 Easy, Hangar 18, and Team Sweet Thug all displayed resilience as they all lost a match, but they still fought their way back to the quarter and semi-finals.”

“I think the tournament went very well. I have heard nothing but positive feedback on it,” said Reskey. “The tournament was a great opportunity to work with our coworkers in a different environment to achieve a different goal. We had teams, both military and civilian, from all over Wright-Patterson, so this was a chance to meet and interact with people from all over base.”

The tourney champs were the Sandbaggers, a team of Explosive Ordinance Disposal technicians from the 788th Civil Engineering Squadron. They beat team Juan Direction in the Championship game and walked away with the trophy and an undefeated record of 4-0.

Besides giving participants the chance to dodge-duck-dip-dive-and-dodge some balls the tournament hosts held a best dressed contest as well.

“There was so much team spirit all over and everyone did awesome in dressing up,” said Reskey. “They really gave the chaplains a hard time in judging the uniforms.” Team Hurl Scouts, from the Air Force Research Lab, took home the best dressed trophy.