SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.
Fourteen teams tested the five D’s of dodgeball: dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge, as told by legend Patches O’ Houlihan in the movie Dodgeball, at the Eighth Annual Dodgeball Tournament at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, April 20.
The Sexual Assault Prevention Response program office hosted the event to raise awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
This year’s tournament with a turnout of 140 participants, is the biggest to date.
“It gets bigger every year,” said Cecilia Smith, sexual assault victim advocate with the SAPR office. “It’s a fun competition and a bragging-rights thing.”
Out of 14 teams, the 50th Operations Support Squadron’s team proved victorious, triumphing over the 4th Space Operations Squadron and the 6th Space Operations Squadron with five 50th OSS Airmen still standing.
“It was a very close match that went into an extended period,” said Seth Cannello, fitness center director with the 50th Force Support Squadron. “I wasn't surprised to see 50th OSS come away with the victory. A lot of 50th OSS's team members dressed up for the occasion and they seemed to be a little more into the event than their competition.”
Cannello added the tournament seems like all fun and games in the beginning, but once the bracket narrows, the tournament inspires a more competitive nature.
“This year's tournament held true to form,” he said. “The participants laugh and joke at the beginning but the end of the tournament is a much more serious battle.”
Because of the constant play action, Cannello said it was hard to officiate, and he relied on Airmen to self-monitor.
“Most of the time, people know when they have been hit and are honest, but there are times you don't realize you get hit or you don't see the chain of events that happen like the officials do,” he said. “It's these instances that cause chaos and you see tempers flare. However, once the games are over, people get hold of their emotions and calm down.”
With this year’s SAAPM theme of Protecting our People Protects our Mission, Smith said uniting Schriever AFB through SAPR events helps bring light to a serious issue.
“We’re here for the serious stuff but also the fun stuff as well,” she said. “If you have one man down, the whole unit is down. Everyone is in this together.”
Smith added SAPR merchandise, like T-shirts and coffee mugs, also help spread the word about sexual assault prevention, and Capt. Portmann Werner, chaplain with the 50th Space Wing, agreed.
“The important thing is that people are wearing the shirts, they know why they’re here and they know the purpose of the event,” Werner said. “You can tell it’s having an effect.”
Cannello also appreciated the amount of participation.
“It was great to see so many people at the event and the SARC always does a great job supplying the participants with swag,” he added.
Werner enjoys events like the dodgeball tournament because of their capability to increase camaraderie.
Sexual assault is a difficult topic to address, so he added events like these bring attention to important issues while uniting the base in a fun way.
“The event is good for morale,” he said. “We get to see people doing some absolutely amazing plays.
Smith hopes events like these will strengthen Airmen bonds, and in turn, support one of the 50th Space Wing priorities, take care of our Airmen and families always.
“If we are strong together, we can conquer this battle,” she said.
The final SAAPM event is the Foam Bullet Battle, Friday, in the indoor running track. The competition begins at 9 a.m. for adults and 3 p.m. for children.
For more information about upcoming SAPR events, contact Smith at 567-7634. For more information about upcoming fitness center events, call 567-6628.