From zeroes to heroes

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Typically, Airmen are no strangers to sacrificing their time and energy to volunteer causes greater than themselves. Once in a while, however, an opportunity comes along that is equally fun and charitable.

A group of Gunfighters recently had such an opportunity when they clawed their way to victory in the "Kick Balls, Save Lives" Kickball Tournament at Ann Morrison Park in Boise. Their journey began as simply another good deed for their life's resume, but ended with a display of underdog courage and determination.

"We just threw a team together and called ourselves the 'AlcoBALLics' " said Staff Sgt. Brandon Joyce, 366th Medical Group noncommissioned officer-in-charge of radiology. "No one had any experience whatsoever. We were just trying to contribute to something greater than ourselves."

Originally, the tournament's proceeds were to be distributed to various local families affected by cancer, but when one of the victims passed shortly before the tournament, the funds went directly to her relatives instead. Learning of the tragic fatality, the significance of the event resonated with the team, inspiring them to band together and become more focused than ever.

"It was sad to hear she had passed, but it made me excited to be a part of the tournament and realize how important it was," stated Staff Sgt. Anissa Magwood, 366th MDG NCOIC of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program.

With heavy hearts and determined minds, the AlcoBALLics began rolling through teams, winning their first game with a 14-point deficit and eventually taking the championship title after five more consecutive victories.

"It was surreal," declared Magwood. "When I realized we won, I was extremely excited. It was the best day I have had in a very long time."

The AlcoBALLics' surprising triumph against teams with superior experience can be partially attributed to players who are profiles in courage -- like Lisa Hall, school-age coordinator with the MHAFB youth center.

"She twisted her knee and continued to play," said Joyce. "We told her she didn't have to, but she went through the pain for the team."

Even amidst the intensity of competition, each player from MHAFB kept a firm grasp on their number-one core value - "Integrity first."

"At one point, a player from an opposing team went down with a pretty severe ankle injury and since most of us are medics, we immediately dropped what we were doing and helped her," said Joyce.

The members of the AlcoBALLics not only had a memorable time, but were also able to contribute to a bigger picture in the process.

"It is important to be involved with these kinds of things because it really helps foster good community relations," said Magwood. "When the public sees us participating in good causes like this one, it puts the whole Air Force in a good light."