FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the presentation of the Commander's Cup on post. In case you are unfamiliar with the sports award, the Commander's Cup is an award that is presented each year to the unit that accumulates the most points throughout a single year in intramural sports.

The Commander's Cup is the post's highest and most coveted sports award, because it requires a great deal of teamwork and willpower from all competitors in a number of different sports and over an extended period of time. Personally, I am a big supporter of intramural sports in general, because they complement the Army's mission so well.

Intramurals should be promoted and grown, not only here on Fort Jackson, but everywhere. In today's Army, competition is extremely important. For starters, sports competitions build fellowship, camaraderie and self-esteem.

They keep us sharp, both mentally and physically. On Fort Jackson, we had more than 1,500 Soldiers and civilians participating in intramurals last year. That is good turnout, but it could be even better.

FMWR does a great job across the Army in organizing installation Army sports programs to provide Soldiers an opportunity to participate in a full range of team sports. Here on Fort Jackson, we have competitions in flag football, basketball, volleyball, golf, softball, track and a few other programs.

All of these programs help build group morale and the development of a high state of mental and physical well-being. They also assist in the development of important assets of teamwork, the will to win, confidence and aggressiveness, as well as complementing the required unit physical training programs. I have always said that a great team is all about great communications and great team members. Everyone who is on the team must execute his or her role so that the team can succeed.

Much of what we are talking about here relates to the basic ingredients of what it takes to attain mission success. I think athletes really understand this concept better than anybody, because competitions themselves are microcosmic examples of how Soldiers function on the battlefield. The big difference is that the Army doesn't rest any Soldiers on its sidelines.

Every Soldier has a position to play and is required to contribute at all times.

This is the only way in which we can effectively accomplish our goals. But that's the epitome of teamwork, which at Fort Jackson is the main ingredient in making things happen. We are entrusted in the tremendous responsibility of transforming civilians into Soldiers, so we have to stay on top of our game at all times. I am confident we do that and will continue to do so.
But that's another column, for another time. For right now, I commend all of the participants in the intramural programs as well as the organizers and sponsors. Let me also congratulate this year's winner of the Commander's Cup, which is Task Force Marshall. Great effort by an important part of our Fort Jackson team - well done!!

Army Strong and Victory Starts Here!