News>2011 Warrior Games shows spirit to Colorado Springs civic leaders
Ohio University ROTC Cadet Matthew Pirrello (foreground) attempts to block a spike by an Army competitor during a practice sitting volleyball game May 9, 2011, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Area civic leaders were invited to participate in the game as part of an orientation during the 2011 Warrior Games training week. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt.Col. Richard Williamson)
Retired Staff Sgt. Stacy Pearsall (center) explains the rules and strategies of sitting volleyball to area civic leaders from Colorado Springs, Colo., prior to practice match May 9, 2011, with other civic leaders and members of the Army team. Teammates Ohio University ROTC Cadet Matthew Pirrello (left) and retired Staff Sgt. Matt Sanders (right) listen in. The three Air Force wounded warriors are competitors in the upcoming 2011 Warrior Games. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Richard Williamson)
by Lt. Col. Richard Williamson
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs
5/13/2011 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AFNS) -- Training for the 2011 Warrior Games has kicked off here with Air Force team members demonstrating their winning spirit in a warrior-civic leader volleyball match, with a catch. The game is played less than four feet off the floor while sitting on a basketball court with a lowered net as team members vie for the ball.
"The importance of the different sports for disabled vets is to help adapt skills," said retired Staff Sergeant Matt Sanders, the Air Force wheelchair basketball team captain.
As part of training-and-altitude-acclimatization week in the Colorado Springs area, teams from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps integrated civic leaders into their volleyball teams during an orientation about the games to be played when competition begins.
The warrior-civilian game provided an opportunity for local leaders to experience firsthand both the challenges of playing the game and the camaraderie and team spirit that warriors share with their teammates and competitors.
Officials from the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Defense Department jointly manage the event held May 16 through May 21 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center with cycling events to be held at the nearby Air Force Academy.
The Air Force is fielding a team of 23 active duty and retired wounded warriors who began their location training May 9. The teams are training to compete in swimming, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, archery, shooting, cycling, and track and field events.
"The civic leaders learned a different perspective by doing this," Sergeant Sanders said. "Sitting volleyball is a whole different game. You can't do the same things sitting down."
The civic leaders tried to do the same things from a sitting position that people do while playing volleyball on their feet. There are different techniques and strategies that have to be used in a sitting volleyball game to play successfully, he explained.
The sitting volleyball games require strategy, skill and constant verbal team coordination to keep the ball in play and win points, according to Sergeant Sanders.
During the practice game, both Air Force and Army team members and the Army volleyball coach helped the civic leaders adapt to the "new" form of volleyball.
"It was an interesting experience playing side by side with the civic leaders," said Air Force ROTC Cadet Matt Pirrello. "We had a good time teaching them the game."
Retired Staff Sergeant Tim Anderson, a competitor in the games, gave credit to the civic leaders for their efforts.
"It was great to see them come out and try (the game)," he said. "Most of the civic leaders did well. All that matters Is that they tried."
Although the exhibition game was for fun, the upcoming competition will be intense according to various team members.
Venues at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center, formerly Ent Air Force Base, are free and open to the public. Additional information about the 2011 Warrior Games and the events schedule is available on the USOC Paralympics website.
5/18/2011 8:53:42 PM ET Good Luck Trampis Miller from Walter Reed and all the other Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines...
Rob McPheeters, Frederick MD
5/15/2011 6:11:50 PM ET Kudos to all the hard working men and women who participate in these games. Their winning spirit and enthusiasm for life is inspiring. We often forget while watching these athletes playing with such excellence that they are doing it with a deficit. They make it look easy Best of luck to you all.