Commander's Cup levels the playing field for WTU Soldiers
October 17, 2013
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- It was a serious competition. Bragging rights were on the line.
"It's all for the glory," joked Spc. Aaron Clark, Bravo Company, Warrior Transition Unit, Vilseck.
Soldiers from Warrior Transition units around Europe gathered at the Grafenwoehr Physical Fitness Center, here, Oct. 15, for round three of the annual Commander's Cup competition.
Battalion leaders created the competition two years ago to offer a physical outlet for WTU Soldiers who are recovering from medical issues that limit their mobility.
The round-robin competition pins Alpha, Bravo and Charlie companies against each other in five rounds over a four-month span. Soldiers participate in numerous adaptive sports including wheelchair Ultimate Frisbee and basketball, track and field events, recumbent cycling, seated volleyball and water polo.
The idea behind these adaptive sports is to involve all Soldiers within the WTU to focus on their ability, not disability, according to Elizabeth Thometz, a rehabilitation therapist for the WTU who helped organize the tournament.
"Adaptive sports allow all Soldiers to participate, regardless of limitations," she said. "It also levels the playing field."
The event was also aligned with the Army's focus on creating a Ready and Resilient force, which seeks to improve Soldiers' health and discipline, and is part of a larger network of services that supports leaders in maintaining readiness.
While none of the players currently needs a wheelchair off the court, the Soldiers suffer from varying degrees of mobility. Many cannot run, jump or participate in high-stress activities.
"These type of sports are a way for us to get back into the swing of things," said Sgt. Sam Frazier, WTU Alpha Co., Wiesbaden. "We are able to test ourselves physically."
While Charlie Co. held a strong lead through the Ultimate Frisbee round, the Commander's Cup is still up for grabs. The competition will continue next month in Bamberg, with the final round in Baumholder the following month.
Only one company will be crowned victorious. According to Frazier though, winning isn't everything.
"It's about bringing our unit together, keeping us Army Strong."