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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

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Sailors’ fitness competition flaunts fancy footwork, fun

By Verda L. Parker | | October 9, 2014


Promoting a healthy lifestyle is routinely recommended by many health care professionals around the globe. That said, it should come as no surprise that staff at the Naval Branch Health Clinic, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, would include that as a part of their regular practice as well.

Breaking away from the traditional physical fitness training, recently, NBHC active-duty sailors gathered at the installation’s Boyett Park soccer field for a vigorous game of handball – an activity, which was co-created by fellow NBHC corpsmen, Hospitalman Carl Sweat, pharmacy technician and Petty Officer 2nd Class Kurtis Glenn, lead pharmacy technician.

In spite of the heat index and in spite of swarms of gnats competing for the same space at the park, NBHC staff met on the soccer field in their PT gear ready for their scheduled physical fitness “fun day” team challenge.

Some of the clinic’s staff commented on their purpose for participating in the weekly fun day PT activities.

“I’m here today mainly to participate in a fun day of PT and to build camaraderie with the junior troops,” Lt. Cmdr. Donald E. Mitchell, senior nurse executive, NBHC, said. “We PT three times per week as a unit and we (participate) in fun day once per week. Because we divide into teams, it’s more competitive and that’s what makes it fun.”

Petty Officer 3rd Class Aundrea Maddox, dental assistant, NBHC, talked about his reasons for participating in the handball game, which is scheduled in addition to their usual weekly workout.

“I am here to play a game of handball and to support and PT with my fellow Navy shipmates and sailors,” Maddox said. “This is a part of our weekly fun day workout.”

According to Petty Officer 2nd Class Emmanuel Melendez, X-ray technician, NBHC, who echoed much of Maddox’s purpose for participating in the activities, his teammates are always very competitive in every sport.

“It doesn’t matter what sport we’re playing, it’s just something that we do,” he admitted. “Today, we are playing handball and Hospitalman Sweat came up with some of the rules of the game. I guess you could say it’s a combination of lacrosse, (ultimate) Frisbee and soccer.”

Once the game began, the team members’ voices could be heard roaring across Boyett Park as they combined three-step fast breaks with rapid ball passing from teammate-to-teammate.

Glenn cited the general rules and tactical maneuvers of the game, which he assisted in crafting one “windy day” after a game of ultimate Frisbee with his teammates.

“The general rules are when a player is on offense, (he or she) can only take three steps before having to throw (or pass) the ball to a teammate in order to move the ball forward,” Glenn said. “The objective is to move the ball down (field) to the opposite goal pass the other team’s players. Once at the shooting line, the (ball handler) can shoot the ball, throw it or roll it to get it pass the goalie to score a point.

“If at any point during the game a player drops the ball, while maneuvering down field or passing it to a teammate, it’s an automatic turnover to the other team,” he added.

Glenn issued one final competitive challenge after outlining the official rules of the handball game.

“We would really like to challenge the Marines to come out and play a game of handball against us,” Glenn said while laughing. “Last year, they challenged us to a game of gatorball, so now we’re challenging them.”