Softball team goes to "BMT" for the weekend

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Saphfire Cook
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The University of Arizona Women's Softball team is no stranger to greatness. The Wildcats played in 22 of the last 23 Women's College World Series, brought home eight national championships and this year's team won more than 70 percent of their season games. In keeping with their tradition of excellence, they teamed up with the world's greatest Air Force for some motivational training. The team attended a two-day Leadership and Confidence Course here Jan. 13-14.

The course was essentially a fast version of basic military training. Fifteen softball players were driven out to Tent City where they were met by Tech Sgt. Tibetha Pascal, 355th Fighter Wing Staff unit deployment manager, and Tech. Sgt. Carrie Nunez, 355th Force Support Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge of the First Term Airmen's Center, both former military training instructors.

For 22 hours, they were taught the customs, courtesies and basic principles of military life the way only an MTI can.

"Teaching anyone the basic concepts of leadership is very important to me," Pascal said. "Leadership is not just something confined to the military. It's in every aspect of our lives and I wanted to be a part of this and share my experience with them in my own unique way."

After the girls became acquainted with their instructors and new living quarters, they were taken to the obstacle course. There, members of the United States Marine Corps demonstrated how to complete the course. The teammates were encouraged to motivate each other and each girl was expected to complete the entire course.

"We thought this would be a great way to find out more about each of our players," said Mike Candrea, U of A Women's Softball head coach."Watching them perform out here would give us a better idea of their strengths and weaknesses. We also wanted our girls to get comfortable being uncomfortable, and I couldn't think of a better way for them to learn that than what we're about to go through for the next 22 hours."

After the course, the girls marched back to tent city in formation where they enjoyed a filling dinner of meals ready to eat. Mentor sessions were given just before lights out.

At four the next morning, the team awoke to the lively notes of Reveille and suited up for some early morning physical training.

"I have so much respect now for the military and all the stuff that they have to go through," said Kenzie Fowler, pitcher for the U of A women's softball team. "We didn't even get a taste of what it's like, but from what we experienced I know that it's so hard because we were struggling with everything."

Once the players were released from their pseudo BMT, they celebrated with a barbeque and a friendly softball game against some of D-M's finest. The game ended in a tie, the final score being 2-2.

The team wore shirts proclaiming "22-hours of Hell", along with a combat boot graphic on the back, given to them by their instructors and the First Sergeants Council.

"It was an honor for us to train them and we wanted to give them something to thank them and for them to remember us by," Pascal said.