FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- One day after falling short of an undefeated flag football season by losing in the championship game, the Soldier-athletes of the 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception) had reason to celebrate.

During the ninth annual sports banquet Tuesday at the Solomon Center, the battalion was awarded the 2011 Commander's Cup for racking up the most points during the sports season, which comprised a variety of events, such as basketball, golf, softball, swimming, bowling, darts and flag football.

Lt. Col. Michael McTigue, commander of the 120th, said he is proud that his Soldiers are being recognized for the effort they put forth all season, especially given the high demands of the battalion's mission.

"Although the operational tempo is high, we ensure, with the multitude of missions that we have, that the commanders and first sergeants try to give those Soldiers the opportunity to go out and participate in these sports, because we truly feel it brings the unit together," McTigue said.

He said that as a commander, his highlight of the season was not a victory, but a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the MEDDAC flag football team Monday.

"I was really proud of the flag football team last night," McTigue said. "They were undefeated going into the finals. And even though we lost, 7-6, those guys left everything on that field. They played professionally. They didn't lose their tempers. They were good sports. And this is really what this is all about."

Maj. Gen. James Milano, who presented awards at the banquet, said he believes that physical activity is an important part of a balanced lifestyle.

"Physically, the benefits of an active life are obvious," he said. "I think, mentally, activity is good in terms of self esteem and morale. And I think competition is good because it raises everyone's game."

This year's guest speaker was Ray Tanner, head coach of the University of South Carolina baseball team, winners of the 2010 and 2011 College World Series.

Tanner spoke about his team's road to winning consecutive national championships and described his players' selfless attitude as key to those victories. He also took the opportunity to express his gratitude for those serving in the military.

"I grew up in the greatest country in the world. And I realize that," Tanner said. "Because of my baseball involvement I've had the fortune of going to some other countries, to Third World countries. And there is no question: Despite a lot of issues we may have, ... we do live in the greatest country in the world. And I thank you. I thank you for your commitment and your sacrifice and what you do to make this country what it is today."

About 1,500 Soldiers and 500 civilians made up the more than 120 teams that participated in sports on Fort Jackson this year. Cindi Keene, the installation's intramural sports coordinator, described the 2011 season as awesome.

Keene said she hopes for a similarly successful 2012 season, which will start with active-duty winter basketball in January and will introduce beach volleyball as a new sport for active-duty and recreational teams.

2011 Sports Banquet Awards
Commander's Cup
Winner: 120th
Runner up: 4-10th
Third place: 1-61st

Champions: SSI/TSB
Runner up: 2-39th
Player: James Baker, 1-61st

Champions: 4-10th (undefeated season)
Runner up: 1-61st
Player: Eric Jordan, 1-61st
Player: Tim Sorum, Task Force Marshall

Champions: 187th

Golf (summer and fall leagues, active duty)
Champions: 120th
Runner up: 3-34th

Flag football
Champions: MEDDAC
Runner up: 120th
Player: Thomas Davis, 187th
Coach: Willie Parker, 1-61st