MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 and Combat Logistics Company 36 faced off against one another at Penny Lake field here Sept. 16, in a best-of-three series earth ball game.
CLC-36 won both games with a total score of 2-0.
Earth ball is one of several events scheduled throughout the year as part of the Commander’s Cup Challenge.
The Commander’s Cup is a series of annual, year long fitness events, which are open to all units on station to increase unit cohesion and bolster a sense of friendly yet competitive sportsmanship between the various squadrons.
“Today was all about fun,” said Barbara Roman, Semper Fit fitness coordinator. “This is just a good way to come out, let loose and get away from the workplace. It’s our job to do that. That’s what we’re here for.”
The different events that comprise the Commander’s Cup include basketball, soccer, swimming and many other group sports and activities.
Earth ball was the next in the procession of events to crown the Commander’s Cup champions.
Earth ball is similar to soccer except, instead of a small 28-inch soccer ball, a gargantuan 6-foot soccer ball took its place. Each game lasted a total of ten minutes with 30 second breaks every two minutes to allow players to substitute into the game.
Both teams took to the field in an attempt to bring home the win to their respective squadrons, bragging rights included. The majority of these players came out to not only take the win but show their support for their unit.
“I love representing my unit,” said Cpl. Lonnie Wells IV, a MALS-12 consolidated automated support systems technician. “I love being out there, doing stuff for my command.”
With a drizzly, overcast sky, MALS-12 and CLC-36 continually jockeyed for control of the ball for several minutes as they kicked and thrust the ball high into the air to get the ball into the goal. Several near misses followed before CLC-36 landed the first punch in their low-scoring battle.
Both teams shifted their focus from not just launching the ball into the air but also working together to roll the ball down the field.
“We had a height advantage over the other team,” said Sgt. Robert W. Stone, CLC-36 water support technician. “So every time the ball was popped up, those few inches helped out.”
MALS-12 started the second game down one. CLC-36 kept to its tactic, using their height to thrust the ball close to the goal before rolling it in. They repeated this process until they finally scored late in the second game. CLC-36 closed out the second game 1-0.
The low-scoring game did not surprise either group of players.
“Last year’s team told us this game was not a joke,” said Stone. “You don’t really know that until you get out and start playing with the ball.”
CLC-36 is second in the race for the Commander’s Cup after this win, with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 in the lead. MALS-12 falls into third place.
The last event for this year’s Commander’s Cup, Gladiator, is slated to take place Oct. 16.