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Base intramurals set for comeback

Wright-Patt Fitness and Sports team prepare sand volleyball courts for intramurals at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, April 9, 2021. (Contributed photo)

Wright-Patt Fitness and Sports team prepare sand volleyball courts for intramurals at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, April 9, 2021. (Contributed photo)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base fitness and sports team is planning to bring back intramurals, first by introducing the newly added 3-on-3 sand volleyball league, which will be played May 4 to June 17.

After more than a year without any intramural sports on the installation due to COVID-19 restrictions, officials have been waiting to present this opportunity to WPAFB personnel.

“People have been missing the comradery of participating in sports, which is an integral part of the Wright-Patt life for people working on base,” said John McInturf, sports director for 88th Force Support Squadron Services. “We want sports to come back to the Wright-Patt community, but we also have to be vigilant of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of everyone on the installation.”

“This will be the first time that we have done sand volleyball here at Wright-Patt. This is a way for us to get back into the intramurals scene.”

At this point, fitness and sports organizers are aiming to have eight teams in the league. Because sand volleyball is new, there will be no officials. Teams will make their own calls while staff keep score.

“Initially, we were thinking eight teams max would be able to participate,” McInturf said. “We recently started to get the word out that we need four more teams. Each team, as opposed to normal intramural rosters, can only have four players, with three playing and one being a substitute.”

Players or teams interested in joining the sand volleyball league can contact McInturf at 937-904-9409 or john.mcinturf@us.af.mil.  

All teams will play each other, with a tournament at the end of the season.

Before intramurals can go back indoors, fitness and sports officials are adamant about incorporating outdoor sports. This allows the staff to evaluate the safety and protection of all personnel concerning COVID-19.

Kevin Ball, fitness and sports manager for 88th Force Support Squadron Services, elaborated on the precautions underway to ensure safety throughout the process of bringing back intramural sports.  

“We want people to feel comfortable and safe while having fun,” he said. “Being outside and having only three people on one-half of the court are some of the measures we are taking to ensure the confidence of everyone who is involved.”

Ball said the fitness and sports team has worked hard to prepare the volleyball courts for this upcoming season, as well as added new features.

“With all of the new features that have been put into the sand volleyball courts, such as the shaded benches, picnic tables, grills, two courts with about 22 tons worth of sand, why not use them,” he said. “Although we usually have volleyball indoors, people love going outdoors and we see plenty of people utilizing the courts, so it was just the perfect opportunity.”

The fitness and sports team had planned a 3-on-3 basketball league in February but couldn’t get enough participation. However, officials are hopeful and optimistic sand volleyball will be a great way to get personnel outside and active.

“Our staff is excited about being able to bring back sports,” Ball said. “There are plenty of people on base who are passionate about sports, and our staff is absolutely the same. They love their work and they love what they do for a living. I am really excited myself and can’t wait for sports to come back for the community, for morale and mental as well as physical health.”

After evaluation of sand volleyball, the fitness and sports team plans to bring back more intramurals. Later this year, that could include indoor volleyball and basketball, flag football and other sports traditionally played at Wright-Patterson AFB.

Ball believes this plan is important so people can become more active, healthier and happier.

“We all have to be moving to be happy in life,” he said. “From my perspective, living is moving, so we really need to get people moving on the installation.”