Comradery & Unstoppable Competitive Spirit: Warrior Games 2015
Engaging in recreational and leisure activities is vital for everyone's overall quality of life and health. Throughout my career as a Recreation Therapist and an Assistive Technology Professional I have seen the many benefits that come from incorporating recreation into not only the rehabilitation process, but into everyday life of individuals who have a congenital or acquired illness and/or disability.
For as long as I can remember, sports have played an integral role in my life, so I jumped at the opportunity to serve as a volunteer at the 2015 Warrior Games. The Warrior Games is an annual sporting competition put on by the Department of Defense that brings together wounded, ill, and injured active duty service members and veterans from across the United States and the British Armed Forces. There were six teams: Army, Marine Corps, Navy/Coast Guard, Air Force, Special Operations Command, and UK. Participants competed in eight different sports: wheelchair basketball, cycling, archery, swimming, seated volleyball, shooting, track, and field. This year's games were held at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Northern Virginia June 19-28.
While Team Army took the most medals and won the Chairman's Cup, each athlete participated with a tremendous amount of heart and determination. Below are a few of the highlights from my experience volunteering at the Warrior Games:
High Temperatures & Intensely Heated Competition
As a lifelong Virginian I am well aware of just how hot and humid the weather can get here in the summertime. The week of the Warrior Games brought temperatures in the high 90's with the humidity levels off the charts, but that did not weaken the spirit of any of the competitors. One of the events I had the opportunity to assist with was the Seated Discus Throw which of course was held outside in an open field. Even though the unforgiving sun was beating down on the competitors, spectators, and volunteers, I did not hear a single complaint related to being too hot. Every person on that field was dialed into the intensity of the competition, not what the thermometer read.
Flying Water Bottles & Towels
When I received my volunteer schedule, I was excited to see that I would be at Quantico during the gold medal game of wheelchair basketball. I was positively elated when I was asked to serve as the water girl for Team Navy in that game! The excitement in the gym was electric as Navy faced off against home team, Marine Corps. The action on the court was intense and so was my job during the time-outs. I flung towels and water bottles to the players, and cleaned-up when it was time to start playing again. Serving as a water girl was like a dream come true for this former middle and high school basketball player.
All for One & One for All
One of the key points that the Department of Defense team members reiterated during the volunteer training was the importance of the roles of family and collaboration with others were to the competitors. I not only had the opportunity to meet many active duty Marines who were also serving as volunteers, but I also was able to talk with the competitors and their families. It was inspiring to see all of the teams feverishly cheering on athletes no matter what colors they were wearing.
Volunteering at the Warrior Games was a fantastic experience and I hope to be able to participate in the 2016 games.
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Posted by: Date: 7/16/2015 12:00:00 AM
Filed under: Angie