Team Travis builds relationships with “Golden Coast Classic volleyball tournament 2023”

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexander Merchak
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Breaking free from the daily routine of fulfilling Travis Air Force Base’s pivotal role as the Gateway to the Pacific, members of Team Travis participated in the “Golden Coast Classic” volleyball tournament November 4 - 5, 2023.

The Travis Volleyball Club, under the USAF West Coast Regional Volleyball League, battled 12 different U.S. Air Force continental U.S.-base teams in a tournament, that the club facilitated.

Team members highlighted how the volleyball club provides another avenue to connect with Airmen from around the installation and strengthen relationships between Airmen, and their families.

“There are a lot of skills (from volleyball) that we can transfer to the Air Force,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Elm, 60th Maintenance Squadron unit deployment manager and president of the club. “Most of the positions in the Travis Volleyball Club consist of the junior enlisted. This puts them in a lead role to make them more comfortable when they do eventually get to a leadership position, they will have experience on how to lead.”

Elm is a member of the team at Travis. The club is made up of 25 members, including active duty, reserve, guard, dependents, retirees and DoD civilians. He says from his experience, he has appreciated the support he received from the team. From his experience, club members are available if a member is ever in need.

“We have built this and started a great volleyball family,” Elm said. “It is important for our team to compete because it is something that the younger Airmen get to experience, and we get to travel to different stateside bases to play in tournaments.”

According to Elm, not only does he enjoy playing the sport, but he also appreciates that the team here provides opportunities for individuals to network outside of their immediate workspaces.

“Being part of this team fills me with pride and honor,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jessica Mitchum, 60th Logistic Readiness Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of ground transportation. “Sports teams can be valuable to our force, through fostering discipline, teamwork and collaboration,” said Mitchum. “They can also strengthen our relationships with other bases, potentially shifting our overall military culture toward a more steadfast and physically fit force."

The event helped people establish a connection with others, an important part in the Air Force’s ‘Spectrum of Resilience.’

“I'm a mental health advocate and strongly believe that sports can be a valuable resource for those in need,” Mitchum said. “It serves as an outlet, which is sometimes the only escape, especially for military personnel and introverted individuals.”

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Malik Brown, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron electrical power production and player for the Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, team, signed up after he saw an advertisement online for tryouts.

“I love the team aspect of the sport,” said Brown. “Especially in volleyball, we need a cohesive team to come together to pull out wins … I really see it as the power of friendship.”

Brown said he grew up playing baseball and basketball, but for the past eight years, his focus has turned to volleyball after finding the sport as a new way to pass time.

“This tournament has been exhausting but extremely fun,” said Brown. “The Air Force has some ballers and have made games difficult, but I am happy to compete at a very high level.”

The event consisted of 15 co-ed teams, 11 men’s and six women’s divisional teams. The Travis Volleyball Club’s women's team took first place and the club’s co-ed team took third.

The clubs next tournament is located at Beale Air Force Base, California, Dec. 2 – 3, 2023.