The main objective for any intramural sports program on a military installation is to help improve the morale for service members while also promoting teamwork, fitness, leadership, sportsmanship and other characteristics under the esprit de corps.
On Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the program will see major changes in 2016 that will provide more opportunities for service members, families and civilian contractors.
“We’re here to engage the service members and give them more opportunities to recreate by giving them more opportunities to be involved in unit activities,” said Aaron Jones, director of JBLM’s Sports, Fitness and Aquatics.
Among the new leagues and tournaments coming this year will be a dodgeball tournament scheduled for Feb. 6, a paintball tournament scheduled for Aug. 13 and the possibility of a combatives tournament.
Some sports will see additional tournaments and related events. One tournament expected to evolve is the intramural basketball league, which begins this month and runs tentatively through mid-March.
A special tournament will occur with the JBLM Holiday Basketball Classic, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 2 to 4.
The annual Joint Base Lewis-McChord Bodybuilding Championships is scheduled for Oct. 15, and powerlifters can look forward to bench press competitions scheduled for Feb. 20 and Sept. 10.
In addition to some of the regular intramural leagues like outdoor soccer, there will also be an indoor soccer league scheduled to run from late August to October.
Installation championships for multiple race lengths will take place; July 8 for the 10K, Oct. 21 for the 5K and Nov. 4 the two-miler run. Additionally, there will be an official JBLM track meet from May 31 to June 2.
Another major change in the world of intramurals is there will be two main leagues for units to compete within.
The major command units on Joint Base Lewis-McChord will fall under the Purple Heart Division, and battalion-level units on JBLM will fall under an independent Silver Star Division.
“Our goal is to engage the senior leaders of those battalions and brigades,” Jones said. “We want to get a senior leader buy-in to hopefully push the participation in our program.”
Company teams will earn points for their respective brigades and battalions in an effort to maximize participation. But these leagues and divisions are designed for current service members; what about spouses,
Open leagues will form so anyone 18 and older, who works or lives on JBLM, can play flag football, softball, basketball and volleyball at different points in the year. Jones said he is excited for the women’s intramural leagues to form teams as well — including basketball beginning Jan. 23, volleyball March 12 and softball June 10.
“I’m a firm believer that a mark of a good intramural program is a strong women’s program,” Jones said.
The changes don’t stop on the intramural calendar as there are also a few updates to the race calendar. While there will be the holiday-themed runs like the Shamrock ’n Run 5K on March 11, Turkey Trot on Nov. 19 and Jingle Bell Jog on Dec. 10, a special Freedom Run event is planned for July 23 to include JBLM’s own Ten-Miler race, along with a 5K fun run.
The JBLM Freedom Run will provide a fourth time trial in addition to the three that will take place in the late spring and summer, all to help build JBLM Ten-Miler teams for the national event in October in Washington, D.C.
“Last year, we had three time trials and we only had 25 people sign up for each,” Jones said. “In an effort to gain some notoriety for the team, we’re going to make it another time trial and give those people another chance to qualify for the team, while giving others a different distance.”
For more information about upcoming intramural sporting events and meetings, a memorandum of information is available on jblmmwr.com/intramural or call 253-967-4768.