Enter the Intra … mural sports

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Airmen from the 509th Civil Engineer Squadron flag football team face off against the 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron team here Sept. 21. The CES team won with a score of 35-21 over the LRS team. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Charles Larkin Sr)

Intramural sports, such as flag football, provide Airmen and other community members with an opportunity for camaraderie and morale building, as well as a way to come together as a unit and compete in a friendly sport.

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- All year Whiteman Air Force Base offers intramural and extramural sports to the community through the 509th Force Support Squadron fitness center and associated force support units.

"The design behind intramural sports is to provide Airmen and other community members with camaraderie and morale building, but it is also a way for people to blow off steam from work, come together as a unit, and compete in a friendly sport," said Staff Sgt. Brian Heim, 509th FSS sports director, or the man who designs and implements all sports programs on base.

Intramural sports are leagues built to provide unit competition in the five primary sports, which are football, basketball, baseball, volleyball and soccer. Extramural sports are any sports that fall outside the primary, and according to Heim, the 509th FSS does its best to have legitimate leagues for extramural too.

"My job is to ensure everyone on base at least has the opportunity to participate in a sport they enjoy," said Heim. "We coordinate extramural leagues for golfing, bowling, and depending on the interest in it that year, fishing."

Where intramural sports are run strictly by the fitness center; the extramural sports require other force support agencies such as the gold course for golfing and the bowling center for bowling.

Intramural sports depend highly on the participation of the community, according to Heim, who said, "The season length and number of games is wholly dependent on how many squadrons submit a team.

"Once I find out how many teams are participating I create a round robin season
schedule," Heim added. "If there are enough teams I might split them into two divisions and each team will play round robin within their division."

According to Heim, there is a lot more that goes into scheduling intramural sports then slapping teams together. He handles sport official contracts and tends to any fields or courts used in intramural play.

"Referees are important to ensure the fun games are also organized," said Heim.

Setting up the fields also ensures organization and entails marking the yardage and boundary lines on a football field to dragging and chalking the baseball field. Heim also manages a sports representative program to make the leagues more efficient.

"Monthly meetings are held with each sports rep and the sports director to help coordinate intramural seasons," he said. "The sports council is also responsible for determining bylaws for each sport and a set of general bylaws for all sports."

"I work an office job all day, so intramural sports allow me to get out be active and meet new people around my squadron and base," said Staff Sgt. John Proen, 509th Comptrollers Squadron sports representative.

"I guess getting to take out some frustration through friendly competition is a plus too." According to Proen, he chose to be a representative to make it easier for others to sign up for similar satisfaction.

With the support of many devoted sports reps and the wing, Heim said the 509th FSS is fortunate enough to provide a great sports program to the base.

Heim recommends those interested contact their unit sports rep to find out more information.