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photo by Priscilla Hammon/Fort Wainwright PAO
Greg Yabsley sets the volleyball for teammate Johnny Melgza as Casey Lasota watches during a Warrior Transition Battalion practice match March 10 at the Fort Wainwright Physical Fitness Center.
The intramural volleyball season has kicked off at Fort Wainwright's Physical Fitness Center.
"I love volleyball so much. My husband is deployed, and he said I needed a hobby," said Maggie Eickbush, wife of 1st Lt. Andrew Eickbush of 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment. "Some of the other 3-21 spouses and I decided to get a team together."
Intramural sports are offered throughout the year at the PFC.
"We try to provide an environment that is conducive for family members and active-duty Soldiers to participate in a wide variety of sports," said Intramural Sports director Frankie Wallace.
The PFC uses the National Federation of State High School Association Volleyball Rule Book.
"Each game consists of three possible matches. We count the best of three and rally to 25. The teams have 60 minutes to play," Wallace said.
That means the team that wins two of the three games wins the match. A maximum of 25 points can be awarded during one game, and no match exceeds one hour.
Teams are either male or female, although they may have opposite gender members on their teams.
The women's league began March 2 and has seven female teams participating Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.
"Throughout the week, women come in the PFC to practice. The women are competitive. Volleyball and softball they seem to take seriously," Wallace said.
Qualifications for playing on a team may make it easy for most to participate.
"If women are interested in playing, a few teams are still accepting players, Wallace said, adding participants must be older than 18 and must have a valid Department of Defense or AAFES ID card to play.
The men's league began March 10 and has four male teams that are full participating Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Safety is a PFC ideal, and Wallace said players may not wear jewelry while playing volleyball. Participants are also highly encouraged to wear court shoes, as running shoes have more traction than court shoes and make court activities much more difficult on players' knees and ankles.
Bassett Army Community Hospital's outpatient dietitian Elizabeth Anderson said eating prior to a game and remaining hydrated can go a long way toward playing well also.
"Make sure to not skip dinner," she said. "A light dinner with carbohydrates and protein will help keep your energy levels high throughout the game and encourage muscle development and recovery.
"It's important to stay hydrated," she continued. "(A) good way to remember how much water you need when playing is the '40 ounces in 40 minutes' (rule). Staying hydrated aids in recovery, (and creates) less soreness."
Spectators are welcome to watch the games, Wallace said, adding the PFC staff sets up the bleachers for audiences to come out and encourage teams during the free matches.
"Anyone is welcome to come out and support another wonderful PFC pastime," Wallace said.
Playing or watching games independently or with friends and family may be a positive way to cope with winter in the Interior.
"Volleyball is great excuse to go to the gym, to lift a little and (to) get that spiking arm developed," Wallace said. "Stretch out and play on a team with coworkers, friends and spouses from the unit or active-duty Soldiers."
Wallace said other intramural sports are scheduled to begin following volleyball season.
"Our next big intramural sports event is the upcoming basketball tournament in April," she said.
Additional future intramural sports include skeet season in April, softball from June through August, soccer in June and flag football from July to September.
For more information on intramural sports, call 353-7223 for Fort Wainwright or 384-1304 or 384-1312 for Fort Richardson.