Sports: A key to character

LT. Barron Lacy takes a free-throw shot in the 1st quarter of the Base Alameda instrumental basketball championship game, Thursday, April 4, 2014. Photo by PA3 Adam Stanton

LT. Barron Lacy takes a free-throw shot in the 1st quarter of the Base Alameda intramural basketball championship game, Thursday, April 4, 2014. Photo by PA3 Adam Stanton

Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Davenport, photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Stanton

The word “contend” is used in a number of ways by members of the Coast Guard.  Some religious adherents contend for spiritual reward while lobbyists contend for more cash.  Ambitious Coast Guard enlisted personnel contend for the highest marks on their employee evaluations.  Whether for spiritual reward, cash, or 7s on their evals, contending is the process of competing for something.  Coast Guard Island intramural sports provide an additional venue for Coast Guard members to seek improvement of their character. 

For the third and fourth quarters of 2013, Coast Guard good order and discipline reports showed that junior enlisted members accounted for 93% of the reprimands for failure to uphold Coast Guard values.  This statistic may lead some to believe there is need for the sharpening of junior enlistees’ adherence to Coast Guard core values.  I suggest that the perfect tools for overcoming these challenges are intramural sports leagues.  The soccer, basketball, softball, football, and volleyball intramural leagues on Coast Guard Island are positive examples of using competition to strengthen adherence to Coast Guard values.  

The league is a space for junior and senior Coast Guard members to interact and build relationships, which may result in positive character growth for everyone.  Having a senior enlisted or officer friend to share life experiences with may help spur the character of personnel in the right direction.

“I am a huge fan of team sports for building camaraderie, character and healthy competition,” said Rear Adm. Karl Schultz, commander of the 11th Coast Guard District.  “Coast Guard Island intramural sports leagues provide a terrific opportunity for me to meet and get to know many Coasties I might not otherwise have much opportunity to interact with.”

Schultz said interacting with senior enlisted members is a great way for the junior workforce to stay on track and become more productive patrons, and mentioned the physical aspect of playing intramural sports.

“Being one of the older players, it doesn’t help one’s ego chasing the younger players up and down the court, always a few steps behind,” said Schultz.  “But, I absolutely think all Coast Guard Island’s intramural sports are fun and both a physically and mentally healthy outlet.”

There are spiritual wellness benefits Coast Guard members receive by playing in intramural leagues.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Munger, a junior enlisted Coast Guard member stationed at Base Alameda, said he joined the intramural league this year to get out and meet new people.

“It keeps me in shape, and it helps me improve my communication and coordination abilities with other units, ultimately resulting in me being a better person,” said Munger.  “Sports are a great way for me to interact with members of our own District 11 team outside of the office or meeting setting.  You learn a lot about folks from how they comport themselves in sport.”

Intramural sports are an amazing tool that can be leveraged to increase the virtuous character of the work force.

Schultz expressed his thanks to the key players of the 2014 Coast Guard Island basketball league.

“I’d like to compliment all the b-ball players on a great season, both for their competitive play and their sportsmanship.  And equally important, let me recognize all those that served as league coordinators, referees, score keepers, and clock operators,” said Schultz.  “There’s no league without you.”

Do you know of a local intramural league?  Do you have time to participate?  If your answer is yes and yes, then maybe intramural sports play is just the tool you need to sharpen your adherence to Coast Guard values.

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