NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. –
What happens to a hoop dream deferred? Does it dry it up like a raisin in the sun? In this case, it finds a new approach by ascending the basketball ranks from unit intramural, varsity and then Armed Forces Basketball.
Outstanding Service members from all over the fleet and the field meet on the court to compete at the 2019 Armed Forces Men's and Women's Basketball Championship. Army, Marine Corps, Navy (with Coast Guard) and Air Force teams square off at the annual Armed Forces Basketball Championship through six days of double round-robin action, followed by championship and consolation games to crown the best men and women players in the military.
“This is definitely a dream deferred for me because I’m older. I’m not fresh out of high school, but I still get the chance to compete with collegiate athletes,” said Navy Petty Officer First Class Kristina Farmer.
Her coach agrees that this competition means a lot to the players and coaches alike.
“This is an awesome opportunity to be able to compete against other services and have a good time,” said Navy Women’s Head Coach Lieutenant Virgil Ricardo Stobridge. “They already get that sense of unity from being in the military and this experience will return them to their command as better leaders and team players.”
Limbs and tempers flare on the court as each player attempts to impose their will on the opposition.
“My players love basketball and they love the Corps,” said Marine Women’s Basketball Head Coach Master Gunnery Sergeant Jeff Gibson. “ The other Services brought athletes, but we brought warriors. This game gives us an opportunity to compete and have real live opposition outside of training.”
Air Force Women’s Basketball Head Coach offered a similar sentiment.
“The main thing I tell my players is we have to push, push, push each other. Challenge each other because that’s how you grow,” said Sherman Vernon, Air Force Women’s Head Coach.
“We are competing for bragging rights and camaraderie among Service members, but also using sports as a vehicle to build life-long relationships.”
Armed Forces Sports is a real competition but off the court each player knows it’s one team, one fight for the country.
Follow the action throughout the week at www.armedforcessports.com for complete coverage to include live video stream, live stats, photos and more.