“Ironman”…Traditionally a test of endurance through the likes of swimming, biking and running. Not here in Kosovo. We have created our own rules, or own games and our own contestants.
The crowd gathered by the gym, hundreds of soldiers just to watch the afternoon activities. The Polish competing against the soldiers from North Dakota, the army women against the Turks, the LMT’s against the Defenders. What a show we were to see, the energy was contagious and spirits were high. The tire roll started the games. The “Ironman Games”!
The teams had to work together to get a rhythm, lift..heave..flip..push. In many languages you could hear grunts, yelling at each other for motivation and cheering when victory fell upon them. The crowd would keep a constant chant, it didn’t matter which team was doing the task, everybody cheered for every soldier with enough courage to join a team and give it their all.
It was brutal, sheer muscle against the elements. The tire roll not only took team coordination, but it stressed the heck out the leg muscles. But apparently the soldiers had more to give. The sandbag run had half the team running 50 sandbags 200 feet
and restacking them on a pallet and then as soon as they finished with that, the other half of the team had to run those same 50 bags back to the end they started on and restack them on the pallet.
The next event went much faster than I imagined. These tired soldiers each took their turns pulling a hummer up a hill from a dead start. Some made it look easy and ripped through the course in 21 seconds, others weren’t quite as fast and then there was even one team that stopped just shy of the finish line which created a saddening roar from the crowd.
The all girl team named “Princess This”, gave a good showing in all the events and plain and simple were the crowd favorite as they put all their might into each event. The respect came when they lined up in the sand pit for the intimidating tug of war. Eight on each side. Determined looks, gloves pulled tight and a competing force on the other end of that thick rope. The domineering looking Turks went eye to eye with our team of women and were in a battle that lasted
much longer than many believed possible. They pulled and tugged and went back and forth for nearly 30 seconds and managed to take the smirk off those guys staring them down. The crowd went crazy, and then the women finally backed off and let those guys take the entirety of the rope across the finish line. It’s the least they could do! Tee Hee!
You see, our ironman isn’t all about glory and who get the winning medals. It was about hours of fun giving everyone in attendance something to cheer about. Allowing us all to show good sportsmanship and have a healthy bout of competition amongst countries.
And no outdoor summertime event would be complete without a dunk tank. All good soldiers will always take their turn at trying to get an officer drenched!
This holiday weekend we had talent shows, the ironman contest, a 10K Memorial Day run and even a rock concert. Thanks to our wonderful civilian MWR support team for all that they do to make our deployment here at Camp Bondsteel just that much better.
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