SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Chaplains office executed their third iteration of the Amazing gRace as a class for Team Schriever members to enjoy during the “May the fourth be with you” Wingman Day, Thursday, May 4.
The Amazing gRace, a scavenger hunt created to test all factors of Comprehensive Airman Fitness, included eight stations filled with rhymes, riddles, trivia and obstacles for the 56 participants to compete in pursuit of commanders’ cup points and Wingman Day bragging rights.
However, not only did the 14 teams of four face the struggles of deciphering riddles to get to each station, they also had to decipher a secret meaning given to each station based on the nature of its challenge.
“They had to discover what each station meant in terms of virtues,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Portmann Werner, 50th Space Wing Chaplain. “And one thing I added this year was for every wrong answer they gave, they would either have to take a one minute penalty, or do 100 push-ups or sit-ups.”
The penalty further emphasized the physical fitness pillar of the event.
The lack of balance between the CAF pillars lead to the ultimate loss for teams that otherwise could have been crowned champions, according to Werner.
“There was a team that was very smart. They burned through all the questions and tasks very easily. They even ended being the second team to cross the finish line, but ended up in third because they kept taking the minute penalty. They were also the team that walked,” said Werner.
The course, in its entirety, was mapped out to be a 2 ½-mile trek; however, because participants would arrive at stations at varied times and orders, the overall distance travelled varied from team-to-team. One team, having gotten lost, covered the most ground with six miles during the race.
Each station was hidden a good distance from its counterparts, all with its own frustrations. However, one station proved to be the greatest challenge of them all: the virtue of love, embodied by the Lego station.
“It was the most devious creation I think I’ve ever seen,” said 2nd Lt. Joe Babitsky, 3rd Space Operations Squadron orbital analyst and Amazing gRace volunteer. “I helped Chaplain Werner come up with a couple of the other stations, but none of them were as bad as my station.”
Unlike the other stations where participants generally understood the purpose and would move to their next challenge as quickly as they could, teams found themselves at a standstill. Only one team was able to discover the truth behind the mystery of the complex Lego heart on their own, according to Babitsky.
The challenge was only so difficult because participants were limited to a single way of constructing the heart, and all teams were required to use all the Lego pieces given to them to complete the challenge. Because Chaplain Werner, having worked in a Lego store in the past, created the heart to be put together in a way foreign to participants who faced the challenge, it proved to be the most complex of virtues.
The other stations in order by their virtue were: compromise, courage, humility, perseverance, sacrifice, self-control and unity. Each station was tied to its virtue in a funny and challenging way, but it also tied in the serious reality of the importance of each CAF pillar and their role in Airmen’s lives.
“That’s what I went for with this, I wanted to make sure the person who won was going to be the person who worked the hardest,” said Werner. “I think that was the take-away, you can’t just have one wedge of Comprehensive Airman Fitness, you really need to strive for all four.”