Ivy Week brings tests of strength to Fort Carson

Soldiers across the 4th Infantry Division competed in a combative tournament during Ivy Week at Fort Carson. Ivy Week is an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of the division, but it is also a time to celebrate the past, present and future of the Ivy Division.

Dozens of Fort Carson soldiers gathered under what felt like the first sunny days in months to participate in Ivy Week, a four-day event last week that allows soldiers to show off their athleticism.

Ranging from an obstacle course gauntlet to a martial arts-style competition, soldiers are encouraged to compete as well as support their fellow soldiers in the hopes of winning the division’s Commander’s Cup.

“It’s both a friendly rivalry and a team-building competition,” said 1st Lt. Wendy Martin.

The first athletic test was the obstacle course. Six teams attempted to conquer nine obstacles in the shortest time.

Speed is important, Martin said, “but you also have to be proficient at the obstacles as well because for each obstacle that is failed, there is a penalty.”

Penalties ranged from burpees to pushups, with the entire team joining in. Martin said the group punishment helps solidify the unit mentality of each squadron.

“It’s a friendly competition, a competition to get everyone out there and see everybody’s different athletic performance and abilities, but it also keeps in mind our military lifestyle,” she said. “We are a fitness-minded lifestyle for a reason. In our job we might be in dangerous situations, and we might need these skills someday.”

Martin said the activities help show soldiers that they can overcome literal and theoretical obstacles, and that their teammates will always be there for them. Even if someone can’t make it through an obstacle, Martin said “a team is only as strong as its weakest link.”

“The purpose is not to put an individual on the spot to make them feel bad or put the pressure on them in a negative manner, but we want to show them that when it’s a struggle, when it’s one person, that it’s not just them,” she said.

Although winning the Commander’s Cup would be the ultimate bragging right on the post, everyone gets to cap off the week with a bang.

“At the end we have a divisionwide barbecue, and we kick it off with a DONSA day of no scheduled activity and everybody gets a Friday off,” Martin said.

“So it’s a win-win situation for everybody.”

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