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Sports Day: an early winter boost

Members of the 354th Force Support Squadron compete in a tug-of-war competition during Sports Day Nov. 21, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Sports Day was held to build team work, camaraderie and friendly competition within teams and units on base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

Members of the 354th Force Support Squadron compete in a tug-of-war competition during Sports Day Nov. 21, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Sports Day was held to build team work, camaraderie and friendly competition within teams and units on base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

Members of the 354th Operations Support Squadron and 354th Logistics Readiness Squadron square off in a dodgeball competition during Sports Day Nov. 21, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The annual event gave Airmen the opportunity to participate in several individual and team sports throughout the day boosting team morale. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

Members of the 354th Operations Support Squadron and 354th Logistics Readiness Squadron square off in a dodgeball competition during Sports Day Nov. 21, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The annual event gave Airmen the opportunity to participate in several individual and team sports throughout the day boosting team morale. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

Members of the 354th Operations Support Squadron prepare to launch dodgeballs during Sports Day Nov. 21, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Sports Day was designed to improve teamwork, boost morale and help increase the awareness of fitness and sports. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

Members of the 354th Operations Support Squadron prepare to launch dodgeballs during Sports Day Nov. 21, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Sports Day was designed to improve teamwork, boost morale and help increase the awareness of fitness and sports. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

Members of the 354th Fighter Wing participate in a basketball competition during Sports Day Nov. 21, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Sports Day included flag football, volleyball, a 1-mile race, basketball, tug-o-war and dodgeball.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

Members of the 354th Fighter Wing participate in a basketball competition during Sports Day Nov. 21, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Sports Day included flag football, volleyball, a 1-mile race, basketball, tug-o-war and dodgeball. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

Members of the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron hold up the first place trophy as the champions of Sports Day Nov. 21, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The 354th CES took the trophy after winning the most first place positions throughout the competition. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

Members of the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron hold up the first place trophy as the champions of Sports Day Nov. 21, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The 354th CES took the trophy after winning the most first place positions throughout the competition. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Icemen crowded the Baker Field house and other parts of the fitness facility for a chance to be crowned winners at Sports Day Nov 21.

Airmen competed in different events, engaging in fitness and friendly competition throughout the day.

The 354th Force Support Squadron coordinated the all-day event, helping instill a sense of esprit de corps before the long weekend.

Sports Day commenced with Airmen forming up for an early warm-up in preparation for later activities. A member of the fitness staff led the formation in a series of stretches and moderate calisthenics to ensure everyone was physically ready for the long day ahead.

A few of the competitive events included five-on-five basketball, a 1-mile race and tug-o-war. However, flag football had a noticeable showing of participants as did basketball and several others.

Airmen also enjoyed a complimentary lunch provided by the 354th FSS while cheering on Sports Day favorites and witnessing other members of the Iceman team participating in friendly competition.

Dodge ball was also one of the day's highlights, especially when the Chiefs competed against the Eagles for bragging rights. Both teams did their best to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge for a win, however, the winner has yet to be determined.

An award presentation concluded the eventful day and celebrated the winner of Sports Day - the members of the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron, who accepted the award like they played in all the events -- as a team. A close runner-up was the 354th FSS, who also performed well in each of the events.

Col. Jay Aanrud, 354th Fighter Wing vice commander, presented trophies to the winners. Speaking on the importance of competition, Aanrud quoted Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who was well-known for his successful leadership in the defeat and eventual occupation of Japan during World War II, saying, "On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seed that on other days and other fields will bear the fruits of victory."

Highlighting the parallels between the day's competition and MacArthur's quote, Aanrud's comparison was clear, describing Sports Day as not only a day of friendly competition, but one that embodied the Iceman team's core values - a foundation to build from and look back on in later successes.

Sports Day may have been about fitness and fun, but it also gave the Iceman team much to learn from and look forward to in other forms of competition.