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JBSA intramurals promote competition, fitness, camaraderie

| 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Dec. 12, 2016

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — Active-duty members, military retirees and Department of Defense civilians are staying fit, competing and experiencing unit camaraderie by participating in intramural sports programs at Joint Base San Antonio.

Each year hundreds of JBSA members participate in intramural sports programs offered by the 502nd Force Support Squadron at JBSA locations, including flag football, basketball, volleyball, softball and soccer.

Intramural sports programs are open to DOD cardholders, including active-duty, Reserve and National Guard members, and military family members 18 years and older, military retirees and government civilians.

JBSA members compete in intramural leagues with the unit they are assigned to or work with. Units can compete in several sports, with intramural leagues running year-round.

Participating in intramural sports helps service members stay fit and reduce stress, said Dwayne Reed, 502nd FSS chief of fitness and sports at JBSA-Lackland.

“It provides that outlet for the four dimensions of wellness, whether it be spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s about being fit to fight and doing their duty.”

Reed oversees an intramural sports program at JBSA-Lackland in which 30 to 36 teams – with 20 to 25 players each - participate in each sport, making it the largest at JBSA. He said the intramural leagues are very competitive, but help bring the base community together.

“Sports brings everyone together,” Reed said. “Especially during the softball season, you will see the (base members) bring the kids out. We have installed barbecue grills at the picnic tables (near the fields) and we allow them to bring canopies. They are making barbecue and they are having a good time. It’s a very family-friendly atmosphere. We want people to come out and have a good time.”

At JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, there are two intramural programs – one for active-duty, military family members and retirees and government civilians, and the other for students at the Medical Education and Training Campus.

Earl Young, 502nd FSS sports program manager at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, said intramural sports on the post are competitive and foster esprit de corps among unit members who compete on their teams.

Each of the intramural sports leagues at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston have an average of eight to 16 teams competing in them, with 12 to 15 players per team for flag football, 11 players per team for volleyball, 13 to 14 players per team for basketball, 10 to 12 players per team for soccer and 17 to 18 players per team for softball.

In addition, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston has intramural leagues for bowling and golf, with six to eight players per team for bowling and eight per team for golf, which can have 20-plus teams competing in the sport.

Brian Hartzell, 502nd FSS METC Sports and Fitness Center sports program manager, heads up the intramural program for METC students, who on average are at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston for 10 to 12 weeks.

Hartzell said participation among METC students in intramural sports leagues is strong with 140 participating in each sport. Intramural programs offered to METC students include flag football, basketball, softball, soccer and volleyball. Each sport averages between nine and 10 teams, with 10 to 14 students on each team roster.

Intramural sports help METC students who have just completed basic training to fit in within their units and develop leadership skills, Hartzell said.

“It’s amazing to watch them develop as leaders on the field,” he said. “They start to communicate with each other and work out the problems on the team. At first, they don’t know how to fit in and then they will start to fit in. It’s unique to watch them develop.”

Rikk Prado, 502nd FSS Rambler Fitness Center sports program manager at JBSA-Randolph, said volleyball and softball are the most popular intramural sports at the base with 12-plus teams participating in each sport.

Flag football and basketball average five to six teams in their leagues each year.

Prado said intramural sports are for the benefit of JBSA members, particularly active-duty members.

“We offer it for the morale of the troops,” Prado said. “It helps give that Airman who has never left his hometown integrated into his unit.”

Participants in intramural sports at JBSA-Randolph are determined to win for their units, but show sportsmanship after each game, Prado said.

Each of the intramural sports leagues at JBSA locations has a season schedule with the installation champions being determined in a playoff format. The top two finishers at each JBSA location advance to a tournament to determine the JBSA champion in their sport. METC teams do not compete in the JBSA tournament, but have their own playoff system that determines a winner in each sport.

JBSA members who want to participate can join a team by calling the one of the sports programs: JBSA-Fort Sam Houston at 808-5710, JBSA-Randolph at 652-7272, or JBSA-Lackland at 671-1632. METC students can call 808-5707.