Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christian B. Martinez

PACIFIC OCEAN – Bouyant, unwieldy bodies collided against each other amid a chorus of shouts and cheers during the Sumo My Chief Petty Officer (CPO) event aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) May 7.

The Chiefs Mess-sponsored event raised funds and gave Sailors a rare opportunity to wrestle with their chiefs.

“It’s a great way to raise morale after being on the ship for 30 days at a time,” said Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Abraham Gonzalez, from Los Angeles. “There is a lot of pent-up energy to be spent.”

Despite a smaller stature, Gonzalez was excited to challenge his own chief. He managed two rounds before losing, but that did little to dampen his overall experience.

“I did my best and got two rounds off of him, so I am proud of that,” said Gonzalez. “Just the fact that I got to sumo wrestle my chief in the first place is out of this world. I never thought I would be able to do that.”

Chiefs and their junior Sailors competed in best out of four rounds with an occasional tiebreaker. Contenders scored points when they shoved or tackled their opponents to the ground, landing on top of them as a finishing blow. Afterward both contenders required assistance to stand up, due to the bulkiness of the sumo costumes leaving them like upside-down turtles.

Sailors listened to music and comical fight commentary, enhancing the spectacle of watching their peers take on prominent chiefs from around the ship. There was no animosity from either side, just laughter and good humor every time a sumo body spiraled to the ground.

“Whether you are a blue shirt or a khaki, it is always one team, one fight,” said Chief Operations Specialist Wayne Doyle, from New Orleans. “Both parties can compete and walk away with pride. There is no ill will, and we can all joke about it and have some fun.”

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