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Gold standard for father and son

Flight Sergeant PCP Davies and Sergeant Brendon Davies are believed to be the first father and son duo to hold gold badges in the same sport while currently serving.

18 June, 2024

Flight Sergeant PCP Davies

“Basketball has been a big part of both of our lives. Even from when Brendon and his sisters were little they used to come to games with me in carry cots.”

Flight Sergeant (F/S) Davies’ love of sport began in school. He made representative teams in basketball and rugby and needed to make a choice about which sport to continue.

“I realised that it didn’t matter what the weather was, I could always play basketball, but the weather would often affect rugby games. So I flagged the rugby and played basketball from there on.”

Carrying the sport on in his Air Force career, F/S Davies was chosen for the Air Force men’s team in 1977. He played in the team until he was 52, stopping about 13 years ago, only hitting the court again this year with his son at the inter-base competition for the “old-timers” team.

“Playing at the inter-base competition this year, seeing the old faces and being introduced to the younger players was fantastic and it was great to be around the basketball fraternity again.

Even off the court, despite fiercely competing in games, there is always great comradery between everyone when the games finish.

He was able to encourage his three children playing basketball by taking on the coaching role with them as they grew up.

“It was a lot of fun being involved all the way. Obviously you’ve got to have an understanding wife because with three kids all playing, I was at the stadium most nights for practices, secondary school competitions and then away for the weekends coaching their representative competition games. Not to mention my own playing, coaching and committee involvement during that same period.”

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All that involvement reaped rewards for the father and son. At this year’s Air Force Sports Awards F/S Davies asked the RNZAF Sports Committee if he could present the Gold Badge to his son.

“I appreciate the Group Captain would normally do that, but under the circumstances and the longevity that I’ve had in the services sporting arena, they saw that as a unique opportunity and it was no problem at all. It was a special moment. It definitely surpassed my previous ‘father and son’ highlight of us both playing in the Air Force men’s and NZDF men’s basketball teams in 2006.”

Sergeant Brendon Davies

Sergeant (SGT) Davies not only followed his dad’s footsteps on the basketball court, but also in joining the same trade in the Air Force as an aircraft technician when he joined in 2005.

Playing for Air Force basketball teams meant playing with pride, he said.

“There’s an intensity and comradery level greater than playing in the local leagues. I feel that when I’m playing against the NZ Army and Royal New Zealand Navy, which you can’t explain to others.

You have to be in that competition to appreciate how you go ‘all out’ for your service.

The pair excelled not just at basketball during their careers, but they have also been awarded their Gold Badges - squash for SGT Davies and water polo for his father. 

“Dad coached me a lot through my junior years and through high school.  Before I joined the Air Force, I progressed to play in the NZ U18 Development squad and also secured a basketball scholarship for my senior year of high school in Kansas USA.

“It was fantastic to be selected for the Air Force and NZDF men’s basketball teams playing alongside dad, I believe that was a first father and son achievement at the time as well.”

SGT Davies has two sons of his own, but they may not carry on the mantel of the two older generations.

“My eldest is a sprinter in athletics and good footballer. My youngest is five, so he’s just finding his feet trying everything – but he may still end up on the squash or basketball court.”

Whilst injury shortened my basketball playing days, my wife’s passion for squash convinced me to start playing, which has prolonged my Air Force sporting career.

Being presented the Gold Badge by his father was a highlight of SGT Davies’ sporting career, he said.

“I believe we are the first father and son with Gold Badges serving at the same time. It’s quite a privilege and an honour to be awarded my Gold Badge and to join an elite group of Air Force sports men and women, and to have it at the same time as dad is pretty special.”