Competition tests mettle


Fatima Carrasco / The Advocate

Zachary Frappier (left) strides as he crosses the finish line during the 800 meter run at the Armed Forces Day event in Comet Stadium on May 3.

By Fatima Carrasco, Advocate Staff

As the bright sun shined and the cool breeze hit everyone’s skin, participants of the Armed forces event stretched and chatted as they prepared for the vigorous exercises they would soon be engaging in.

Veterans Club President Joey Conway said, “I’m out here for the student veterans and the civilians. This is for us all to mingle and to have kind of a field day, like we did in elementary school — you know, a just for fun day.”

Even Though the event was deemed successful, participation in the physical challenges was low.

“So far we have eight participants,” Air Force recruiter Kate soldier said.

The participants were all somehow involved with the United States armed forces although most were from different military branches.

Some students were currently enlisted, others were veteran leaders on campus and the rest retired service veterans.

The event was divided into four main components which were done consecutively to properly demonstrate to the participants the level of exhaustion that can occur during real training.

First, participants did what is called the maneuver under fire.

One by one, contestants would get in a plank position and crawl across a certain distance. Surprisingly, a civilian participant took the crawling-crown by inching across the turf faster than the other participants.

The most grueling event of the competition required contestants to perform twenty burpees which when completed would follow-up by an 800 meter (two laps around the football field) run.

A burpee requires a person to rapidly move from lying flat on one’s stomach, into a push-up, then to standing position to perform a jumping jack before returning to lying flat and repeating as needed.

As the participants came in from their second lap around the track, they made their way to the turf to continue the competition by completing 30 air squats.

The leg workout was not the end of the competition.

As everyone wrapped up the run and others their squats, they followed up for their two minutes of crunches, with the goal being to do as many as possible.

The exercises were concluded with participants doing push-ups until they maxed out.

As Conway tallied the scores and winners were poised to be announced, people continued to use the time to meet and get to know students who may have shared experiences.

The Veterans Club provides students who may not feel comfortable with civilian students and events like these show vets they are not alone on campus.

The event was “a collaboration of people and ideas,” Conway said.

According to Conway, different groups attended to support the event.

Longtime veterans club member Leon Watkins said, “I am here supporting the event representing the walking ghost of black history.”  The group is an organization dedicated to telling stories of African Americans in Military History.

Other groups that came out in a show of support included the Air Force recruiting office and the Concord Vet Center which offers veteran counseling services.

The Army recruiters were in charge of offering the first-place prize, a fitbit, however, since they didn’t show up, other prizes were given to contestants.

“The army recruiters did not show up,” Conway said.

So instead other prizes were given to the contestant with the most accumulated points.

Every one of the participants received a black Jansport backpack because of their participation, however, only participants who competed in all of the categories received the top prizes.

First place received a $100 gas card and grocery voucher, along with some movie vouchers while second and third both received a $50 gas card and grocery voucher with a movie voucher.