SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Twenty-one was the lucky number as the 50th Operations Support Squadron defeated the 1st Space Operations Squadron 21-1 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 21.
Korey Kuykendall, coach and pitcher for the 50th OSS, gave his team a pep talk before the game, making it known his goal as a coach was for the team to concentrate and focus on getting and keeping up the intensity.
1st SOPS was the only team that beat the 50th OSS during the regular season, so it was Kuykendall’s goal to defeat them in the championship game after beating them in the second round of playoffs.
“I wanted to keep that same intensity up and wanted to show 1st SOPS that OSS is the best,” he laughed. “It’s one thing to go out there and play for fun, but it’s another thing to go out there and win. I wanted to win and playing with these guys they had the same mentality, so it was fun.”
Kuykendall’s last words before the championship game started were, “Let’s start hot, stay hot and finish hot.”
Although he walked the first batter of the game, Kuykendall ensured his team stayed hot and was appreciative of the support the team gave him.
“I’ve only walked two other players throughout the entire season, so it was really great to see the team rally,” he said. “Everybody had a hit and run. It was a total team effort.”
C.J. Thornton, recreation assistant with 50th Force Support Squadron, said the softball season as a whole was a success.
“With every sports season, we have new people meshing with the veteran players and it brings a new level of passion and sportsmanship to the sports,” he said.
Although the fitness center has seen a slight decline in players, Thornton said for the teams that did sign up, they had great player participation.
“A few teams even had fans at every game to cheer on their squadron,” he added.
Thornton began each game day at 7 a.m., driving to the softball shed to get the essentials to prep the field.
“It takes anywhere from one to two hours from start to finish to get the field game ready,” he added.
Kuykendall praised the fitness center staff for their hard work in organizing and executing the various intramural sports for the base.
“The fitness center makes all of this possible,” he said. “We couldn’t play without them.”
Thornton said both teams showed up early to the championship game, warmed up and were ready to go well before the game started.
“Each championship game has different levels of excitement, nerves and butterflies and this was no different,” he said. “For some people, this was their third or fourth championship game in a row, and with that comes a new level of nerves. Championship teams don't want to break their streak.”
Before the first pitch, Thornton had to prepare the schedule, contact all the coaches about any issues they may have and prep the field with clay and dirt.
“I couldn't have done the field without the help of the dirt boys from the 50th CES,” he said.
Even in preparation for sporting events, the 50th Space Wing vision, “One team … mastering space and cyberspace operations … now and into the future,” rings true.
With the help of base agencies and Airmen, intramural sports are made possible.
“What keeps my passion alive with sports is the camaraderie that I see build throughout the season,” he added. “Sports will always bring out the best in people, for example sportsmanship, passion, aggression and abilities they didn't know they had.”
Kuykendall agreed, saying he enjoyed seeing the camaraderie between squadrons.
“The 50th OSS is the instructor flight for the various SOPS, so the students get to see what they’re going into and the squadrons get to see what they’re getting. They’re able to build rapport and camaraderie, and we get to see people we don’t see face-to-face.”
Thornton said his favorite part about the job is sharing his love of sports with the base.
“Getting to meet new people that have the same passion I have for sports will never get old,” he said.