Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nick A. Grim

BREMERTON, Washington – Sailors from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and other Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bremerton commands are building friendships and promoting teamwork while playing in the NBK Bremerton Basketball League.

“Not only does the league build camaraderie and promote competition, but I believe it gives the men and women an outlet for their energy,” said Reggie Mills, retired master chief cryptologic technician (technical) and a league coach from Palermo, New York.

The league provides Sailors with a positive outlet for their competitive side.

“For all the competitors out there like myself, this is when you can let that [competitive] side of you out,” said Yeoman 3rd Class Ian Riley, from Chicago.

Mills initially got involved while playing against a few of his friends in September and started discussing playing for teams in the league. Mills moved into a coaching position after initially starting as a player.

The league helps advance teamwork by providing a recreational environment where the players work as a team, and can then bring these lessons back to a professional environment.

Riley said you have to rely on your team to achieve that ultimate goal and you can take that attitude from the court back to John C. Stennis, because most of the work on the ship you cannot do by yourself.

“I believe everyone wants to be part of something special, something bigger than themselves and having a team to contribute to is essential to growth,” said Mills, “It’s about learning and having fun. When we do that, we win no matter what the final score is.”

In addition to building teamwork, the league fosters strengthening existing relationships and building new friendships that may be otherwise difficult to difficult to develop in the working environment of a larger command.

Mills said with very large commands like John C. Stennis, players can now get to know teammates and see them as more than just another person they work with on the ship.

“I already knew all the guys on the team from the ship and playing together made our relationships stronger,” said Riley, “With some of these guys it used to be a quick handshake and now it turns into real conversations.”

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