Warriors of the North make the cut

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez
  • 319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D.— Making the cut for any Air Force sports team is just a dream for hundreds of Airmen who never see their names on any sort of final list of selected members. For Airman 1st Class Justice Graham and Senior Airman Michael Higgins, that dream became a reality in 2017.

With self-motivation and support from their supervisors, Graham and Higgins made it to the Air Force basketball and softball teams, respectively.

“I am a very competitive person,” said Higgins, high frequency global communication system radio operator with the 319th Communications Squadron. “I thought this would be the best way to represent the Air Force at the highest level.”

Higgins initially didn’t think he made the team after trying out in September of 2017.

“I told my wife and dad I didn’t make it,” he said. He explained how shocked, yet proud, he was to find he made the cut.

Higgins and Graham both shared their desire to earn a spot on the exclusive teams in order to do something bigger than themselves.

“I saw the opportunity to keep moving forward,” said Graham, traffic management apprentice with the 319th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Graham credited his accomplishment not only to his experience with basketball, but to the help of his supervisors.

“We knew he had the ability, drive and persistence to make the team,” said Tech Sgt. Ruben Zamora, cargo movement section chief with the 319th LRS, and Graham’s supervisor. “We figured out the logistics and the requirements, and we made it happen. We made sure he had everything he needed, from equipment, time to train and recover, and everything in between.”

Although the sports seasons collectively didn’t last more than four months, Graham and Higgins mentioned the lasting bond they established between their teammates and coaches.

“I made plenty of friendships that I will hopefully continue to build on, even through the end of my career. It’s always a good thing to have a network of friends,” said Higgins.

Higgins and Graham feel that getting the chance to play a sport they love while representing the Air Force was a great opportunity, and they encourage anyone wishing to try out to do so.