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Rampage vs JBSA-Lackland: Hockey team meets AF fitness challenge

Posted 12/17/2011 Updated 12/17/2011 -- 12/17/2011 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Spurred on by the constant shouts of "Atta boy", "Way to go", "You can do it", or "Just one more," a group of San Antonio professional athletes got a sample of the Air Force fitness assessment Wednesday morning at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

The sounds of encouragement reverberated through the aerobic room at the Warhawk Fitness Center, overflowed into the adjacent gym, and then moved outside to the adjoining track as the San Antonio Rampage professional hockey team competed in a modified fitness assessment challenge against Air Force Special Operations entry-level trainees from the 342nd Training Squadron.

The Rampage vs. Airmen challenge included chin ups, sit ups, push ups, and a four-man, 1.5-mile relay, and the athletes came away impressed and enlightened by the experience.

"This was a very, very, very, very small taste of it," said Bracken Kearns, a Rampage center, after he completed a one-lap relay leg that substituted for the 1.5-mile run. "You can tell they're in great shape."

The fitness challenge was one part of the Rampage's morning-long, team-building exercise hosted by the 37th Training Wing. It also included a C-5 Galaxy aircraft tour conducted by the 433rd Airlift Wing, a military working dog demonstration by the 341st Training Squadron, and lunch with basic trainees in the 323rd Training Squadron.

The visit and fitness challenge grew from a conversation between Lt. Col. Jeffrey Greenwood, 323rd TRS commander, and his honorary commander, Ryan Snyder, director of business operations for the Rampage.

"Ryan called me about a month ago and said Coach Weber (Chuck Weber, Rampage coach) wanted to do a team building event," Greenwood said. "It manifested from there.

"Then it spiraled into eating lunch with our trainees, the dog handling demonstration and the C-5 tour before Chief Rubio (retired Chief Master Sgt. Bob Rubio, 37th Training Wing public affairs) suggested we show them the fitness assessment and said, 'Let's make it a challenge.'"

The goal was to have fun with the challenge, but also show the Rampage a snapshot of the various missions at JBSA-Lackland, military teamwork, and the Air Force fitness standard.

"It was a chance for us to be together in an environment away from the rink, to build camaraderie, to see what another group goes through in their training. It's great," said Weber, before adding with a chuckle, "They've loved it, but I don't think they're enjoying the fitness test so much."

Rampage goalie Dov Grumet-Morris said even though the professional athletes were outperformed by the Airmen, there's a similarity between the two competing groups.
"The common ground is learning to push through your own mental barrier," Grumet-Morris said. "Physically, you're much more capable than you think."

His teammate Kearns agreed.

"I did very average, as expected," Kearns said. "But I made it through and that's what counts."

And in the spirit of friendly competition, the Rampage coach has a plan if there's a rematch.

"Our guys did a great job by just jumping off the bus," Weber said. "My assistant coach and I were joking that if we do this next year, we get to pick the five (fitness) events."