Chiefs vs. Eagles — more than just a softball game

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Greg Touhill
  • 81st Training Wing commander
As you read this commentary, you're probably wondering why you have seen Keesler's chief master sergeants limping around the base all week. Some may even note a sense of fatigue, sore muscles or stiff backs. Please go easy on them as they are merely recovering from playing in the Chiefs vs. Eagles softball game on Wingman Day. Yup, those Chiefs are likely to be mighty sore after belting the ball over the fence so many times and running around the bases so often. We want a rematch! 

Activities like the Chiefs vs. Eagles softball game are important parts of fusing the team together and are a part of our heritage. During recreation and competition, you can see a side of your colleagues you've never seen before. For example, who would have known that Col. Prince Gilliard, commander of the 81st Training Group, is a diving and throwing machine at shortstop? For a couple of innings, you would have thought Ozzie Smith was playing out there! The Eagles were also reminded of the power of those young Chiefs as Chief Master Sgt. (select) Kyle Watkins from the 85th Engineering Installation Squadron was pounding shots over the left field fence. Even the older Chiefs were pounding them over the fence! The game was a reminder of key Air Force attributes including preparation, team work, strength, humility and humor -- attributes you can use for your personal success every day. 

Why did the Chiefs win? Was it because they are younger and stronger than the Eagles? I think they won because they invested in their preparation. They practiced! Are you prepared for success? Do you make the investment to prepare and be ready for the tak at hand as well as the task that is coming? Remember what Knute Rockne, the famous Notre Dame football coach said, "Practice makes perfect!" To accomplish any task successfully, you need to invest the time to prepare and practice. 

Did the Chiefs win because of one guy? Nope. Lots of them hit the ball over the fence, but many of them didn't. They worked as a team to get on base and advance each other through timely hits and on-target coaching. You can learn from them. Do you work as a team? Do you and your co-workers complement each other to leverage everyone's strengths and compensate for weaknesses? Not everyone can be a home-run hitter, yet the singles hitters are just as important. As long as the whole team is scoring runs, your team will win. A good wingman works for the whole team, not himself! 

Did the Chiefs win because they were stronger than the Eagles? Perhaps they did use their relative youth to their advantage, yet they demonstrated the strength and stamina to eradicate the Eagles' early lead and triumph. Do you demonstrate the strength and stamina for the rigors of the day? Do you train for your physical fitness? Do you eat right and take care of yourself? Are you caring for your spiritual self as well as you are your physical self? 

Do you think the Eagles learned something about humility by getting shellacked by the Chiefs? You're darn right we did! Nonetheless, we're not giving up. You can't win everytime, yet that doesn't mean you stop trying. The noted American philosopher, Rocky Balboa said, "It isn't how hard you hit. It is how hard you get hit and get back up that makes you a champion." 

Did everyone learn something about humor during the game? You betcha. Great teams take time to laugh and smile together. As you execute your duties with precision, make sure you give others reason to smile. Thank great performers for their efforts. Coach folks who need help. Hand out smiles like they are free ... because they are. I'm sure you'll find they multiply quickly. 

Folks, it is your season to shine. Make sure you are prepared, you work as a team, you stay fit, never take yourself too seriously and treat everyone with dignity and respect. If you do, you'll be a winner!