Photos and story by Sgt. Laurissa Hodges, Frontline Contributor

Participating in intramural sports places children in situations where communication is key to learning the athletic fundamentals as their minds and bodies develop.

The Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Directorate of Morale, Welfare and Recreation Child and Youth Services understand this and offer youth athletic program for beginners.

By providing a child with a focus through sports it also gives them additional life skills such as how to deal with anger and frustration, how to make friends, cope with the disappointment from losing a game, and working with others towards a common goal - winning.

Parents often use sports as an outlet for the extra energy their children have. Others see intramural sports as a way to help break their children out of their shell. This is why Lea Williams, a military spouse, involved her son with sports. She explained that her four year old son, Terrence, really blossomed while playing soccer and running track.

"When he was younger he was shy, but now he's a social butterfly," Williams said. "He's ready and willing to meet with kids he doesn't know to make friends."

1st Lt. Anthony Spadoni, 6-8 Cav played sports throughout high school and college and now volunteers as a CYS soccer coach.

"As I've gotten older, giving back to the community has become more important to me," Spandoni said. "And my son was the main impetus for me becoming a volunteer coach."

Spadoni said, as a volunteer, he learned quickly, that younger children understand game play and strategy on a much lower level. It caused him to get creative.

"Stop the bad guys from destroying your castle" is a technique Spadoni uses routinely for his 4-6 year old goalies. While playing sports [it] teaches the children how to protect their goal by using a concept they can easily understand, Spadoni further explained. "Sports enables children to work hard and demonstrate dedication," he said. "As long as you try your very best, you will be rewarded."

To learn more about Fort Stewart's CYS intermural sports programs, contact Parent Central Services at 767-2312.