MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The lights were dimmed, a movie was playing on the big screen television, Marines where scattered throughout the chairs. Other Marines played pool on a couple tables available under four dim lights.
“Rack them up,” Lance Cpl. Vinny A. Maltese said. “I want to play again.”
The billiard balls cracked together as a powerful break sends the 15 balls over the worn pool table. Maltese lined up his next shot after sinking one on the break.
“The Recreation Center is great,” said the Marine with Weapons Company, 2nd Marine Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. “It gets me out of the barracks, and it helps me save money. Me and my friends come out and play pool. If there isn’t a table open there is always a movie playing, so we relax and watch a movie.”
The room was filled with the low rumble of the big screen television. Marines were playing video games on four smaller televisions provided by the Recreation center
The Hunington Station, N.Y. native said that it helps him meet fellow Marines who like to do similar activities he does. There are always people looking to play a game of pool or watch a movie there.
“I come here to check my e-mail, look up friends on internet sites and just be with people outside my shop,” said Pvt. Lewis C. McCormick. “It really helps break up my day-to-day routine of work, physical training and being in my room. The best part about coming here is every thing is free; the pool, the internet and the television.”
The night was winding down around 8:30 p.m. but the recreation center still had Marines on the computers and watching the movie. Three of the four pool tables were being used. The aurora was a friendly welcome to any who wish to enter.
“This is a place where I can go after work to relax and not have to worry about the stresses of work,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel W. Sanders, a Motorman with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. “I know that when I come here, I can just sit back and watch a movie any time I want, or play pool against a friend, or talk to my family back home with the free internet access they provide for us.”
The glow of the computer room slowly dimmed, the lights around the room turned off one by one. The few Marines that occupied the Recreation Center were finishing their last games of pool.
The ladies working ask for everyone to leave, because it was time to close up for the night. The Marines walked out the door still laughing and talking about their day. Just before the door closed behind them, the Marines asked one last question of the ladies working that evening.
“If we agree to close up could we play just one more game ma’am?” one of the Marines asked.
With a slight laugh, the ladies said that if they could they would let them, but they can’t so they will have to just come back another night. The door closed behind them.
“Same time tomorrow night guys,” Sanders said.