News: Strongman Competition fosters friendships through struggles
Story by Pfc. David Walters
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan - Marine Corps Community Services hosted a strongman competition at Penny Lake fields here, May 18, 2013.
Twelve competitors, spread throughout four weight classes, competed in five events - a tire flip, farmers walk, steel log press, crucifix, and Humvee pull.
Coming out on top of the 190 pound plus weight class was Lance Cpl. Michael J. Young, Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting crew chief.
“The main reason I came out was to have fun,” said Young.
Young said when he first arrived on station two years ago, he weighed 205 pounds, but through hard work, dedication and the gym, he is now 265 pounds.
“I decided to do this to see where I was and compare myself to others,” said Young. “Also to see how far I’ve come in the past two years.”
The Humvee pull was the last event and drew more attention and brought the competitors together through cheering, motivating and hyping each other up.
“My favorite event was the Humvee pull because that took the most energy,” said Young.
Mai Tajima, MCCS Recreation Specialist and organizer of the Strongman Competition, said she was pleased with the outcome of 12 competitors compared to last year, which had 10 competitors.
Tajima wants to create an atmosphere which allows others to meet new people and build friendships through friendly competition.
“What’s most important is, people coming out here, the staff, volunteers, participants, and at the end, all coming together,” said Tajima.
Tajima said her favorite part about events like this is seeing people’s attitudes change throughout the event and watching them enjoy themselves.
“In the beginning, they are all kind of quiet, but at the end, they all come together,” said Tajima. “That’s friendship, and I’m so happy I can be the bond of those friendships.”
Young had some words to encourage more people to come out to these events.
“I think everyone that goes to the gym should come here,” said Young. “Not only for the fun, but to see where they are at compared to others.”
The Strongman Competition is an annual event that allows residents to test their physical and mental limits to prove who is the strongest aboard station.