NORFOLK (NNS) -- Maintaining optimal physical fitness is essential to Sailors in both their personal and professional lives. Sailors from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and Sailors from Naval Station Norfolk and the surrounding areas have an opportunity to participate in an exciting and competitive flag football league that pits command against command.
This year the George Washington's flag football team emerged from the competition victorious by winning the league championship.
"A lot of teams come from around the area including Newport News and Portsmouth," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) 1st Class Johnny Penigar, the coach of George Washington's team. "We also play against Marines, Coast Guard and some of the squadrons from all over the area."
The duration of the season and the number of games played is based on the availability of the Sailors on each team.
"It really depends on the schedule," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate, Fuels 3rd Class Joshua Grajeda, George Washington's team captain. "We schedule our games based on availability. Our seasons begin every fall. The season starts in July and ends in October. We'll get a few practices in before the season starts, and then it's strictly games. We generally do about two games a week."
Like Grajeda, Penigar is passionate about achieving success on the field, and he is cognizant that his players capabilities of handling their professional obligations take precedence over football.
"These guys come out here and they know that we have a standard of how we play, but all shipboard responsibilities come first," said Penigar. "If we have a guy that [is delinquent] on warfare or maintenance material management (3M) then he won't play. These guys make sure that they take care of their ship work before they come out here and put in work on the field."
Any George Washington Sailor that is interested in playing on the flag football team can speak with Penigar and begin practicing.
"If you want to play then come on out," said Penigar. "When we first started there were about 25 or so people, but due to limited playing time as the season went on people phased out, but the guys who really wanted to play kept coming.
George Washington defeated Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) Mid-Atlantic from Naval Air Station Oceana 7-0. Grajeda shared a few words following the team's victory.
"I want to say it was too easy," said Grajeda with a smile. "This year there were 16 teams and we were the number one seed. We played 25 games and finished 23-2.
The team may enjoy their triumph for a time, but say they hope to be back to work in an attempt to repeat as champions and defend their title in the following seasons.
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