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JBLM Basketball tournament a real slam

Three-on-three event good for ‘mental health’

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Divided in half, Wilson Sports and Fitness Center screeched with sounds of tennis shoes in motion on both ends of the court Saturday. The buzzer sounded after every round during the "Summer Slam" three-on-three basketball tournament as a new team took over the court in a unified effort not to be eliminated.

Two matches were held simultaneously on both ends of the court until four of the 12 three-man teams remained for the final round.

Service members needed to display more than physical stamina to succeed in the intramural tournament.

"It's a huge part of their mental health to be in shape," referee Aron Bryant said. Bryant also served in the Marine Corps for nine years and knows the mental benefits of physical fitness.

Trash talking, on the court and off, became a tournament tactic used by some competitors to gain an advantage.

Although distractions can cause opponents to lose focus, it can teach service members how to be prepared when engaging an enemy in combat by training them to focus on the mission instead of mental interferences.

Adapting to tensions during the game was second nature to some players who remained tough-minded on the court, Bryant said, suggesting that the mentally tough teams seemed to find their way to the late rounds.

"They are disciplined and were able to stay focused during the games by controlling their emotions, which makes them more of a Soldier to me," Bryant said.

"People that never show emotion, show it out here on the court," Better Opportunities for Single Service Members Representative Spc. Sable Myers said.

Players demonstrated their physical fitness by pushing, shoving, throwing and jumping for the ball. Some 593rd Special Troops Battalion players went a step beyond the competition while physically challenging their bodies by running several miles the morning of the tournament. Sergeant Bryant Hollaway said one team member ran seven miles before competing in the Summer Slam.

Another, Spc. Trustan Rice, was forced to be a spectator, still supporting his team after suffering an injury during his morning run.

Confidence appeared to win the day, with Team Rachett, whose members play after work most days. Team members shouted they knew they would win and they did.

The Raiders placed in second and The Filthy Few third during the final games of the tournament.

Myers said BOSS, the host of the Summer Slam tournament, will host future basketball tournaments in the fall and is excited to contribute to Soldiers' morale by providing a productive outlet.

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