Community connection helps sustain our resiliency

  • Published
  • By Chaplain Wilson Joa Yu
  • 412th Test Wing

I have been in the Air Force for almost 21 years, but only recently I came to learn something about myself – wherever I am, somehow, I connect with my community through sports.

Growing up, I always enjoyed playing sports at the park with friends and in school. PE was my favorite class. Sports was my way to expend all my energy while having fun. Coming out of high school and joining the Air Force at the age of 17, I thought my days of playing sport were coming to an end. I thought being an adult meant life was going to be boring. After basic military training, I went to Keesler AFB for tech school, and I found myself playing flag football and competing with another flight. Arriving at my first duty station in good old Wyoming, I found myself playing in an amateur off-base soccer league. When I joined the Air National Guard, I thought my days of playing sports were over for sure, but no, I started playing in an amateur flag football league, as well as basketball with soldiers at the Joint Force Headquarters. When I was commissioned and became a chaplain, I figured I was a little too old to be playing sports, especially with young Airmen on active duty. Well, you guessed it, I joined the Edwards varsity volleyball team and have traveled throughout California and Arizona with the team.

Recently, I asked a friend what her hobbies are. She told me she loved to dance. She said wherever she went in her military career, she would find a studio that offered dance classes, and she would take lessons. Her comment sparked my thought process, and sure enough, as I evaluated my career, I did the same thing through sports. That led me to the question of why I play sports. I realized playing sports was my way to connect with a community. I was searching a for a place to belong. I took advantage of what sports were offered and just showed up. While I played, I made friends and connections. I am glad to have joined communities throughout my career because it kept me fit, and it has been fun to make new friends and learn their stories. To that end, shout out to the Edwards varsity volleyball team and cheer them on in their next season.

My encouragement is to ask yourself what you like to do or what hobby brings you joy, then find that group and get connected. It does not matter if the hobby is unique! There are unique people everywhere who enjoy doing the same thing you do. Simply go and find the community. We all yearn to be connected, no matter the culture, race or location. The fact remains the same, humans need connection in a community because we are social creatures. When we are in a community, we feel we are secure and protected; we feel like we belong. Being connected to a community improves Comprehensive Airman Fitness resiliency. This is why CAF has “social” as one of its pillars. Though we all belong to the Air Force community, we need to find a local community, the Edwards community. Let’s get connected!