By Staff Sgt. Patrice Clarke
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Twenty-five jammed fingers, 10 rolled ankles, at least 20 blisters, numerous sore shoulders and a world record. Twenty Team Schriever members got all that and more after playing dodgeball for more than 40 consecutive hours March 22 — 23, beating the Guinness Book of World Record for the longest dodgeball marathon by eight hours and raising more than $1,000 for the Air Force Assistance Fund.
Battling on the dodgeball court for 40 hours straight is no small feat according to Col. James Ross, 50th Space Wing commander. Doing so required all four pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness to accomplish.
“These Airmen certainly displayed the social aspect by getting the entire wing to rally around them to complete this undertaking,” said Ross. “They displayed the mental and spiritual pillars to make it through the entire 40 hours and they certainly displayed the physical aspect most of all.”
What makes a person decide to spend the next 40 hours of their life playing dodgeball? For most of the 20 players, raising money for the AFAF was a big motivator second to setting a world record.
“The AFAF is a great tool to give back to Airmen; Airmen helping Airmen at its best,” said Senior Airman Allen Orozcocasteneda, 50th Comptroller Squadron. “I couldn’t think of a better cause and of course I wanted to set a world record.”
For Master Sgt. Cliff Wagner, 50th Security Forces Squadron and the most senior enlisted person on the court, the challenge of playing with the younger guys drove him.
“This was a personal challenge for me,” said Wagner. “I really wanted to see if I could compete with a bunch of young guys. I also wanted to help out the organizations we were contributing money to. I really believe in those organizations.”
To qualify for the record, the 20 team members had to be on the basketball court the entire 40 hours save the five minutes an hour break time they were allotted. Schriever volunteers were on hand throughout the duration, setting up cots, providing food and most importantly, moral support for the players.
That support proved to be the one thing that got the players through the 40 hours.
“[Participating] seemed like a good idea at the time and then it actually started and I realized that it wasn’t a good idea at all,” said Staff Sgt. Neil Kozack, 50th Space Communications Squadron. “I hit my wall 12 hours into the event. We still had more than 24 hours to go. I was extremely sore and I knew that I wasn’t going to get a second wind anytime soon.”
Kozack commented that his team support and the wing support is what ultimately got him and his teammates through the event.
“The second to last hour I was sick and I seriously thought that was it,” said Kozack. “Then more folks started showing up and the adrenaline kicked in and I was going like it was the first hour.”
“The people helped me power through It,” said Orozcocastenda. “It’s a team event, our team members got each of us through. We picked each other up. My wife was a big support as well. She was here with me most of the time. The squadron came out multiple times. When people started showing up the adrenaline would kick in and get me through.”
The experience is something none of the players will soon forget.
“It was horrible and fun, but I would not do it again,” laughed Wagner. “It took a lot of physical and mental toughness to get through it, but the cause was well worth it. Anytime we can do something that helps our fellow Airmen in need is worth it.”
Airmen were able to make cash donations or pledge money based on a variety of factors. Pledges ranged from number of hits taken to hits made, to total number of hours played. With 40 hours of playing time, the donations were abundant. The teams played a total of 859 games with the Black Team edging out the Red Team 440 wins to 419.
“The Black Team won the competition, but really the entire base won,” said Ross. “I’m so proud of all the support; the families, coworkers, leadership, volunteers and sponsors support. This is just another example of how Team Schriever can come together and excel at anything they put their minds to.”
Continuous video of the event will be sent to the Guinness Book of World Records for validation before Schriever is officially awarded the record.