FORT STEWART, Ga. - Rain or shine, hot or cold, one thing remains constant for some 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division soldiers: their love for the game of football.
It's playoff time for troops participating in Fort Stewart’s intramural flag football season and Nov. 5 was the first day of the single-elimination tournament. Team “Man-up,” comprised of soldiers from 3rd Sustainment Brigade, was one of four teams who made the playoffs with a conference record of 10-1.
“It was great to be able to make the playoffs because you have to earn it,” said Spc. Robert Washington, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade. “Not everyone makes it this far, so it increases the level of competition for these games.”
As the sun set, rain gently covered the field, and team “Man-up” pitted against the 385th Military Police Battalion for a shot at the upcoming championship.
“We have been practicing at least three times a week for at minimum of two hours each day,” said Staff Sgt. Renaud Cooke, “Man-up” team captain assigned to the 24th Financial Management Support Unit, STB, 3rd Sustainment Brigade. “We run plays, practice drills and really focus on the fundamentals because that is what ultimately wins games.”
The soldiers’ military occupational specialties vary from human resources specialist to financial management technician, but after duty hours they team together in hopes of a flag football win.
“Many teams assumed we couldn’t play,” said Cooke. “But, we showed all of them up by focusing on each game, one by one, to control and win throughout the regular season.”
“Man-up” is more than just an intramural football team: they share a brotherhood. Pfc. James White, a human resources specialist with HHC, STB, said that the flag football practices made these brothers in arms even closer.
“Playing intramural sports builds unit cohesion by teaching us to stick together no matter what happens in the game,” said Staff Sgt. Brandelen Smith, also assigned to HHC, STB. “We always tell each other to keep our heads up. We win as a team, and lose as a team.”
Unfortunately for Team “Man-up,” the game ended, 12-13, in favor of the 385th MPs who move on to compete for the championship title. The 3rd Sustainment Brigade soldiers said they will remain focused, however, as they hope for redemption during Fort Stewart’s Marne Week, Nov. 18-22.