If you followed the (semi-)live blog of the 2014 National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Region VII SAFECON during the last weekend of October then you know that Bridgewater State University won the first ReviewBeforeFlight Team Sportsmanship Award… Here’s how they did it!
The RBF Sportsmanship Award was the first privately sponsored award at a Region VII competition and also the first award recognizing the team that best personifies what NIFA is all about… The award was created to recognize the team that best exhibits safety, passion for aviation, sportsmanship and team leadership. Moreover, the award was instituted to highlight the team that functions best within itself as well as with the other teams at the Region VII competition. The idea is that the award would be presented the team that has the best NIFA culture, the team that bought into being a team and working together the best.
At the end of each competition day I asked the judges for feedback on what they observed that day in regards to the Sportsmanship Award. We had example-filled discussion each day and I kept track of the pluses and minuses for each team, throughout the event. Every judge provided feedback, which was also a big positive. The judges were only a part of the winner selection process, each team had the ability to nominate one team, whether it be their own team or another team. My thought was that if a team truly believed they best personified what the Sportsmanship Award stood for, they should be allowed to voice that opinion.
On the final day of the competition, I asked each school for their nominations. Following some technical difficulties (I provided the wrong email address, my fault, I admit it…) I received a nomination email from each team. The participation of each team, I believe illustrated the value that each team placed in this newly created award.
Throughout the event the daily judging panel discussions led us to a “leader in the clubhouse” and we were all interested to see how the nominations would work out. Multiple teams received nominations, but one team received the most thorough nomination. The organic nomination was clearly an outstanding endorsement, coming from a competitor such a nomination was all the more impressive.
Delaware State University submitted their nomination of Bridgewater State University, which was aligned with the thinking of the collective group of judges. Here is what Delaware State University’s team had to say about Bridgewater’s team… I think after you read this you’ll see why this was clearly the clincher for Bridgewater…
“ On behalf of the Delaware State University flight team, we would like to nominate Bridgewater for the sportsmanship award. Throughout the entire competition, the Bridgewater flight team has shown, in our opinion, the best cohesion and cooperative attitude. This flight team is always bright spirited, greeting us every morning and cheering for us during our events. Even passing by during ground events or sitting down in the hanger, members of Bridgewater exchange encouraging words and funny moments, not interfering with staging or safety in anyway. Another reason for this nomination is that when our flight team was short on people to help stage aircraft, Bridgewater were the first to help and offer to help. This to us represents what NIFA is all about, professionally competing, sharing laughs, and working together.”
This was the final nomination to arrive and once I read it, I knew for sure that we had a winner; the judges all agreed that we had a concessions winner. On behalf of the entire ReviewBeforeFlight team, congratulations to the 2014-15 Bridgewater State University Flight Team, the winner of the first-ever Team Sportsmanship Award. In the words of the iconic Paul Harvey, “Now you know the rest of the story…”
You can view a video of the presentation of the award to the BSU Flight Team captains at: http://youtu.be/hMTLZs_vOIs
Next year the SAFECON will be held at the New Bedford Regional Airport, where the second ReviewBeforeFlight Team Sportsmanship Award will be presented to the team that again, best exhibits the true NIFA culture!
-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9