News: Station residents participate in Commander’s Cup Racquetball competition
Story by Cpl. Benjamin Pryer
IWAKUNI, Japan - The sound of racquets swinging against rubber balls inside a glass-encapsulated court echoed throughout the halls of the IronWorks Gym aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, as station residents competed in the Commander’s Cup Racquetball Tournament Feb. 7, 2014.
The Commander’s Cup is a year-long competition between different units aboard station that the gym hosts from January to October. An event takes place once a month and units gain points based on participation and their rankings.
The first and second place winners of the racquetball competition also earned a cash donation to their unit’s funds.
Even with bragging rights and monetary gain on the line, the Commander’s Cup challenges mainly serve as a conduit to bring units together for healthy competition.
“I will always be about unit cohesion, camaraderie and esprit de corps,” said Jason Knight, the intramural sports specialist with SemperFit. “These are the goals of not only the Commander’s Cup challenges, but intramural sports in general.”
Master Sgt. Raul Zepeda, a participant in the racquetball tournament, said that he was participating to help his unit, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, push for victory in the overall competition.
“I try to participate in as many events as I can and try to win the points,” said Zepeda. “I think I have a good chance. There’s some good guys here, but I think I can beat them.”
Zepeda said getting the opportunity to compete against people in other units was an awesome experience, especially since most of the people who participated in the tournament play racquetball regularly.
While confident, Zepeda was only able to make it to second place, as he came up short in the final match against Staff Sgt. Nathan Fisk.
Fisk humbly said that he has been playing racquetball intermittently for 20 years, proving the considerable amount of experience he has.
“It was a fun opportunity to get out there and compete and see other people that I could play racquetball with because the selection of opponents on day-to-day basis to play with is limited,” said Fisk. “The master sergeant I played in the finals with, I play against about three to five days a week.”
Overall, the racquetball tournament was another stepping stone toward each unit’s goal of coming out on top during the Gladiator’s Challenge, the final event of the yearlong competition, and in the overall 2014 Commander’s Cup.