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Chief’s Corner – week of Aug. 13

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Intramural sports reaps benefits
I'd like to highlight an Air Force benefit that many of our younger Airmen over look, intramural sports.  Physical exercise through sports is good for mind, body, and stress reduction. You learn teamwork, dedication, determination and goal-setting.  It increases your leadership, communication and problem solving skills, as well as boosts self-esteem. There are even studies that say being more physically active makes you smarter and decreases the chances you will smoke, drink or get cancer.  If that doesn't convince you to get involved with intramural sports, let me give you a few reasons why it has been a career enhancing benefit I've enjoyed for 25 years. It all started at the beginning of my enlistment.

I came into the Air Force when I was 27 years old, so I had nine years in the civilian workforce prior to entering the service.  I held jobs as a supermarket checker, gas station attendant, oak cabinet maker, delivery driver, but mostly I worked in construction as a carpenter framing houses and stacking roofs.  This has given me a unique perspective on the Air Force as a career.  When, as a young Airman, I was encouraged by my supervisor to get involved in unit sports, I couldn't believe it.  Out of the seven employers I had prior to the military, never once was I asked to do anything but show up to work on time and work.  To take time away from the job to do something that was not work related, even if it helped build a better workforce, is "crazy talk" to most employers.  The Air Force's approach to job satisfaction and team building made me realize what a great place to work in the AF is. I saw this as a huge benefit and it ultimately was one of the main reasons I stayed in the Air Force after my four year enlistment ended.  However, there is another good reason to get involved in intramural sports, and it has to do with the people you meet.

The relationships and memories you make playing sports will stand the test of time.  Looking back at the 11 assignments I have had in my career, some of the things I remember most about each of them are the sports teams I've played on, and more importantly my teammates.  In a large unit like a Communications Squadron, playing on a sports team gives you the opportunity to meet people from outside your immediate work center.  It helps you get a better understanding of the mission by knowing the people doing the mission.  In addition, the intramural part introduces you to other units and allows you to network and meet Airman from across the base.  I've made good and lasting friendships with military and civilians I only know through AF intramural sports. 

Last but not least, playing a sport is fun!  It gets you out of your office, which for most of us is a windowless room, so how can that not be a good thing?  It makes your day seem a little shorter and brings our community together making us stronger.  I have never been on a championship team, and I have never been the best player on any team, so don't use that as an excuse not to play.  If you don't like team sports you can run races, bike, swim or hike...the fitness center has events year-round.  "The Great One," Wane Gretzky once said, "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take," so take advantage of this un-sung benefit and get involved in intramural sports for your health, and for your career.

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