Guest Author - Traci Falb
One of the many advantages of belonging to an elite organization such as the Air Force is the chance to represent them in the softball field. As a veteran of not only the Air Force but also the sport of softball Master Sgt. Tony Patrick has been playing for his team since the year 2000. He played baseball throughout high school and started playing softball for the Air Force in 1993. Patrick started out playing for the USAFE team, which is in Europe, when he was stationed there. When he was 25 year old, he flew to Japan to try out for the Air Force Team.
Every year, only roughly 50 men and women are invited to try out for teams in the Air Force, which entail two practices and games daily. Coaches watch a player's every move during this process and only the best are chosen to represent their team. Airmen who make the team are honored to wear the blue and black softball uniform, signifying their talent. Most are chosen once or twice in their military careers. Master Sgt. Tony Patrick has made it ten times. Although he is the exception to the rule, he uses his position to help other players.
Members of the teams form tight-knit bonds with each other, on and off the field. The teamwork on the field builds characters in the players and they take that with them into their working and personal lives. Veteran players, like Patrick, are good examples of leadership and successful unity of a group. There are so many advantages of their team and it boosts morale. Patrick also finds the playing atmosphere helps him organize his professional life a little better because of the skills attained on the field. He also feels that he is an advocate for the team, therefore he spreads the word about its success and the effect playing for the Air Force has had on him.
Patrick's team won five gold medals and three silver medals at the armed forces championships, held in September every year. He has received much support over the years, from his wife and family to superior officers. They know how important it is to represent his country and his team. He is a pitcher and shortstop and he is hoping to get to play one or two more years, before retiring from the military. Although he is retiring from the Air Force soon, it will be a long time before he retires from playing the game he loves - softball.
Staff Sgt, Charles Broadway. Face of Defense: Airman Continues Long Run of Softball Success. Lanham, United States, Lanham: Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc, 2012. ProQuest. PROQUESTMS. 18 Mar. 2013