'Guardians' face off in Pig Bowl at Fort Riley
November 30, 2012
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- "Let's go defense," came cheers from the sidelines as two teams from the 97th Military Police Battalion faced off in the championship game of the "Pig Bowl" flag football tournament Nov. 21 at Sturgis Stadium.
With three minutes left in the game, the 977th Military Police Company, 97th MP Bn. was up by two points and the 300th Military Police Company, 97th MP Bn. had possession of the ball near the end zone. A late turnover and touchdown led the 977th MP Co. to victory in the final seconds.
The Pig Bowl is a tradition in many MP units. Teams compete in various sports like football, basketball and softball. While the tournament competition is fierce, the focus is on fellowship.
"This is a chance for everybody to decompress a little bit and kick off the holidays," said Lt. Col. Kevin A. Comfort, commander, 97th MP Bn. "The units are always on different schedules. They really don't get to see a lot of each other. So, it's also a chance for people to see their friends, hang out and spend the day (together)."
"It brings the Family and all the members of the units together as one (for) some good competition and good teamwork," said Sgt. 1st Class Steve Clason, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 97th MP Bn.
"There's always trash talk," Clason said. Pig Bowl is "all about the bragging rights."
That was evidenced during the final and most hotly anticipated game of the day between the officers and the noncommissioned officers.
Last year, the NCOs trounced the officers 39-0. Comfort donned his cleats in hopes that the officers could "regain some of the ground lost last year."
"That was a bludgeoning, sir," said one NCO leery to give his name after the NCOs took home another victory with a final score of 26-0.
The Pig Bowl marked the first combined tournament with the 97th MP Bn. and the Directorate of Emergency Services.
"Because the partnership has been created between (the MPs) and DES, it's (an even) better event. We have some of the civilian employees for DES who are out here to compete and participate. It really is an organizational day, not only for the battalion, but also the DES," Comfort said.
While Soldiers and Families said they were thankful for the opportunity to relax and spend some quality time together, thoughts turned to the unit currently deployed.
"Because the companies are always deployed separately, it's rare to have the entire battalion together," Comfort said. "We only have one unit that's deployed, (but) when you don't have everyone home, it's not quite the same."
Sgt. Tempest Davis, 97th MP Bn., said she was grateful to be outside enjoying lunch on a warm day.
"(It's) a relaxed atmosphere," she said. "The (Family readiness groups) put together all this food for us."
Families, friends and even dogs relaxed and cheered the units on during the football tournament.