By Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Staying active, good sportsmanship and team building are just a few benefits of participating in intramural sports. Having fun and meeting new people is what keeps amateur athletes coming back year after year.
The Peterson fitness center organizes a wide variety of intramural sports like flag football, basketball, racquetball, volleyball, soccer, softball, inline hockey, tennis, ultimate Frisbee and dodgeball.
“Softball is the biggest, then basketball and volleyball right behind that, but softball is definitely the most popular sport here,” said Michael Coats, 21st Force Support Squadron intramural sports director.
As the director of intramural sports, Coats is responsible for overseeing play for all of the leagues happening throughout the year at Peterson.
“I organize all of the sports and make sure that all of the venues are setup,” said Coats.
The competition and camaraderie of IM sports motivates many of the athletes to get out of the gym and onto the field.
“I like playing intramural sports because it is a great way to stay fit and the healthiest way I can think of to relieve stress,” said John Robillard, Headquarters Air Force Space Command Information and Technology Management chief and avid soccer player. “I am more easily motivated to exercise via competitive sports than exercising on some indoor machine while staring out the window or watching TV,” he said. “Plus, I love team sports and friendly competition.”
With softball being the most popular intramural sport on base, every squadron is playing for bragging rights that come along with being the installation champion.
“Force support has a team, security forces has a team, the fire department has a team, comm squadron has a team; I’ve got about 30 softball teams, all squadrons (at Peterson),” said Coats. “We have four diamonds (softball fields) here and we use them. Thursday nights especially, we run four diamonds, three games per diamond so we’re running twelve games a night,” he added.
“No matter what your skill level, you are always welcome and your family will appreciate you doing something to get healthy and stay healthy,” said Robillard.
Some changes have been made to the IM program due to budget cuts, but bragging rights are still up for grabs.
“This year we don’t have trophies, but normally they would get a team trophy and their picture taken,” said Coats. “I just ordered trophies for next year so we will have trophies again, right now it’s just a pat on the back and ‘good job guys,’” he said.
It’s not always about the trophies. Playing group sports has many added benefits including staying active, team building, being social, sharpening your skills and helping to keep you mentally fit.
“It’s mostly for fun; some are more competitive than others but it’s more of a squadron morale booster,” said Coats. “Alright! We get to play ball tonight!” is how Coats described many people’s reaction when looking forward to playing a game after work.
Some of Peterson’s extramural sports like inline hockey spill over into neighboring Colorado Springs leagues, which serves more than 35,000 adults per year at various locations throughout the city.
For more information about intramural sports at Peterson, contact the intramural sports director at 556-7708 or 556-4462.