By Scott Prater
Before its varnish had even finished drying, a group of Schriever athletes had gathered around the new fitness assessment-record board inside the main fitness center here.
“We heard people say they could score higher the first day it went up (June 1),” said Col. Ed Baron, 50th Mission Support Group commander. “So show me. We’ll post the highest five scores in the push-ups, sit-ups and 1.5 mile run [segments of the fitness assessment] and also the names of everyone who scores a perfect 100 on the board for a year. Soon we’ll be posting the record for the indoor track.”
Colonel Baron said the idea for the record board stemmed from conversations he had with 50 MSG Superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Winfree last year while the two were developing plans for the Mission Support Group physical training program.
“It’s basically a brag board,” Chief Winfree said. “We’re working off of [50th Space Wing commander] Col. Wayne Montieth’s philosophy of providing the carrot as well as the stick. It’s friendly motivation. You can’t help but feel a little proud when you walk past that board and your name is up there. Ultimately, we think it pushes people to push themselves a little harder.”
The concept for the board came easy. The funding, however, didn’t.
Chief Winfree figured it would cost roughly $1,500 for a private company to manufacture the style record board he and Colonel Baron had imagined.
Through conversations with 50th Force Support Director Thea Wasche, they learned the funds weren’t available for such a concept. But during the course of a few months, they did find an unused board hanging on a wall inside the Dekok Building.
Chief Winfree eventually took the old board home to his garage, where he used portions of it to construct an all new record board.
“We just performed a little self-help and ended up with something that only cost us about 50 bucks,” Chief Winfree said. “The guys at the fitness center then ordered all of the name plates and we stuck them up there.”
Second Lt. Joana Everett, 1st Space Operations Squadron, is the reigning women’s sit-ups champion after performing 69 of them during her fitness assessment earlier this year. She also ranks second in push-ups with 36. For her, the board represents a philosophical switch in the way one approaches the Air Force Fitness Assessment.
“I think the new board is motivational and it’s a reward for people who work hard,” she said. “Sometimes people focus too much on the minimum, and while it’s important to know what the minimum is, you should also know your maximum. If you shoot for the minimum and don’t meet your mark, where does that leave you?”
She also said there are no secrets to increasing sit-ups and push-ups scores: have someone watch you to make sure you’re performing the exercises correctly and then actually practice doing sit-ups and push-ups.
“Having someone watch your form is important because it’s hard to watch yourself and still do the exercise correctly,” she said.
Colonel Baron likes to think the board serves Airmen here in the same way all-time records inside a high school or college gymnasium serve that school’s newest students.
“Walking into a school and seeing those records posted has always been motivational for me,” he said. “So why not have that here?”
Chief Winfree says it’s thrilling to watch Airmen check out the new records.
“The PT test is something we have to do as military people,” he said. “We’ve got to work out and pass this test, and there’s no reward other than you passed and you get to remain in the military. Now, people see the actual Schriever record for the run and push-ups and sit-ups and it generates interest.”