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CAF Sports Day in Canada—an annual day of fun and respite from the regular work-a-day routine

By Martin Zeilig


There was a spin class, volleyball, grappling, badminton, pickleball, basketball, bhangra dance, Zumba, darts, and curling among the numerous sports available on Canadian Armed Forces Sports Day in Canada on October 20.

Photo credit: 17 Wing Imaging

Those sports took place throughout 17 Wing, including Building 90 (PSP Sports Centre), Building 33, Building 21, Building 61, and the Deer Lodge Curling Club.

There was even a Jets Hockey Development (JHD) Basic Skills Training, JHD Intermediate Skills Training, JHD Advanced Skills Training and an Ice Lab Goalie Clinic held at the Hockey for All Centre (3969 Portage Avenue).

Dawn Redahl, Sports Coordinator 17 Wing, who was OPI for Sports Day in Canada, observed that having 17 different sports being offered was “kind of cool” because it provided a wider diversity of activities, even darts for the first time, for the 600 or so participants.

Photo credit: 17 Wing Imaging

“It’s a team effort (to organize such an event),” she said during an interview in the lobby of Building 90.

“Even today at the opening ceremonies I said that if anyone has a sport or skill to offer please step forward.”

Ms. Redahl added that grappling, which is another name for Jiu-jitsu, a new sport on base was “being mentored” by military members.

Captain Padre Enoch Lee, a Unit Chaplain on the Wing, said having such a day devoted to sports in a non-competitive way is a great way to boost morale in general.

“I’m very happy today to be participating in badminton here in the gym,” he said between matches.

Photo credit: 17 Wing Imaging

“It’s a great way to see people you don’t normally see and have some fun with people who you work with. It’s a super event overall.”

Capt Padre Lee also noted that he maintains his fitness by playing badminton regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Building 90, and through other forms of exercise.

Kevin Roy, fitness instructor in Building 90, noted that only two courts were set aside for pickleball this year.

Photo credit: 17 Wing Imaging

“But next year, we’ll do a whole pickle ball and whole badminton in the gym,” he said, as the “bonk, bonk” sound of the pickleball bouncing off the hardwood resonated in the gym.

“It’s the number two sport in the world now behind soccer. It’s designed for rallies. It’s meant to be played for doubles but you can do singles too.”

Photo credit: 17 Wing Imaging

Corporal Felicidad Grennier, 1 CAD A-2, Master Corporal Paul Keeping and Master Corporal Jason Loboz, both of whom work at the Fire Hall, were playing pickleball.

“I played once before with my teammate,” Cpl Grennier, who’s originally from the Philippines, said between sets.

“It’s not too stressful. You’re not hurting your tendons. It’s easy to play, a lot of fun. It’s also a good way to get out of work and support your mental health.”

MCpl Keeping said that Sports Day is a good opportunity to get out of the office and interact with co-workers.

Photo credit: 17 Wing Imaging

“This is my first time playing pickleball,” he said.

“I like it and would definitely play it again. I play tennis too.”

MCpl Loboz also admitted that this was the first time he’d ever played pickleball.

“I enjoyed it,” he said just after completing his final game.

“I’ve had a good time so far. It’s fun to learn a new game, and a good workout too. Now that we have a good grasp of the rules, I would try it again.”

He also said that Sports Day is a positive activity for people.

“Everyone is having fun,” he said.

That is what it’s all about.

Photo credit: 17 Wing Imaging


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