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Intramural basketball season begins

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The all familiar sounds of whistles blowing, squeaking tennis shoes and leather balls rebounding off the wooden floor of the Vandenberg Fitness Center were heard Monday as the start of this year's intramural basketball season got underway. 

"Intramural basketball is very beneficial to fitness," said Isea Jones, the intramural sports coordinator for the base Fitness Center. "It's a sport that requires split second reactions; players spend much of the game running up and down the court. The constant movement of basketball improves cardio fitness, agility and builds teamwork." 

The season will run from from January through March of this year. All intramural games will be played in the gym of the Fitness Center. Five players from each team match up against each other and play two 20-minute halves. The winner is determined by the team who scores the most points before the time expires at the end of the second half. 

The underlying goal of intramural sports is to get everyone, from novice players to the experts, involved in friendly competition (For tips on how to improve your game, see the "How-To" article). The Vandenberg league is comprised mostly of teams forming within squadrons to compete against other squadrons. 

"Intramural sports are sporting events designed for military members, their dependants and base affiliated civilian contractors," Mr. Jones said. "Sometimes we have people come to us who would like to play intramural basketball, but do not have a team. The Fitness Center has set up a 'players' pool' for the interested individuals without a team to play. Given a team in the league has available space, the players' pool will place an individual on a team." 

Once a player is on a team, all they need to bring to the games are a pair of shorts, T-shirt and tennis shoes. The Fitness Center will provide the players with the basketballs, jerseys and mouth guards needed to play the game. 

"Intramural basketball keeps me active and gives me something to do in my off time," said Airman 1st Class Ryan Marshall, an intramural league player from the 30th Medical Support Squadron. "Playing intramural basketball with people I work with increases morale in the office, no matter if we win or lose. In the game of basketball you have to pass the ball a lot, which involves communication, and communication is what ends up building teamwork on and off the court." 

There is still time to join a team. Players must be 18 years old to play. If a player is 17 years old, they can still play if they have their squadron, parents or guardians sign a release-to-play waiver form at the Fitness Center. For further information on intramural sports call the Fitness Center at 606-6962.