VICENZA, Italy -- The Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program here offers midnight sporting events called "Midnight Games" and encourages single and geographically separated military personnel to participate.

What started in 2016 as the "12 days of Sports" in the 12 days leading up to Christmas has turned into a monthly event that gives Soldiers something healthy and fun to do outside of the barracks.

BOSS first held a one-night sports tournament that included soccer, basketball, ping pong, plunger darts and more. In 2017, the organization condensed it to a three-night Winter Classic that included the three most popular sports from the previous year. That has morphed into one Midnight Game per month.

United States Army Garrison Italy Command Sgt. Major Mason L. Bryant is a strong supporter of the games.

"The Midnight Games are an excellent way to get Soldiers out of the barracks to enjoy some camaraderie and participate in a healthy activity," said Bryant. "This is a much better alternative than sitting around consuming alcohol or otherwise getting in trouble. I'd encourage all Soldiers to participate or at least stop by to watch the games. There is a true sense of competition and fun at each event."

A variety of sports have made up the games, to include dodgeball, basketball and indoor soccer. While most people think the Midnight Games falls solely under the BOSS pillar of Recreation and Leisure, it also falls somewhat under the auspices of Quality of Life, as the activity is also a way to increase morale.

The goal of the games is to provide single Soldiers a healthy alternative way to reduce stress and blow off steam. Instead of some of the typical choices of going out and partying or sitting in a barracks room, BOSS is providing that other option. By providing physical sport as an outlet, the organization promotes resiliency by finding productive ways to relieve stress so Soldiers can get back in the game.

The Midnight Games are always free, with no registration fees, and there are usually prizes for 1st and 2nd place.

BOSS is also interested in taking sports requests for upcoming games.

If there is a sport that Soldiers are interested in, they are encouraged to post a message to the BOSS Vicenza Facebook page, www.facebook.com/BOSSVicenza.

The next Midnight Games event is three-on-three basketball. The games take place April 20 at 7 p.m. at the Caserma Ederle Fitness Center. For more information, call DSN 637-2712.