MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
“They had a lot of bad judgment starting out,” said Staff Sgt. Edwin Rouson, company gunnery sergeant for Africa Partnership Station 2012 (APS-12). “I remember there was one team we played that only had five players, while we had twelve, but our team almost lost that game, because the Marines judged a book by its cover.”
Rouson, the 5/10 Marines basketball team’s coach, volunteered his spare time to coach the team, as they competed against seven other units’ teams, in the 2012 Men’s Intramural Basketball League. Despite being his first time coaching basketball, the team walked away with two trophies – the League Championship Trophy, when they won the series and the Champion of Champions’ Trophy, when they claimed victory over the Courthouse Bay Intramural League champions.
With the victories, Rouson proved that good leadership, teamwork and sticking to the basics will take you far. No matter the situation.
“I just took the same old Marine Corps leadership skills and applied them to coaching,” said Rouson.
The judgment and teamwork the team learned, during the season, was demonstrated on the basketball court as they played together, kept their focus and ultimately accomplished their mission when they won the championship, said Sgt. Michael Triplett, a squad leader with APS-12.
“I feel like building that teamwork and camaraderie on the court, that’s something that will show itself during our deployment,” said Triplett. “I mean, the teamwork used on the basketball court is just as involved when you’re on deployment, because while deployed you work as a team to get the job done and come back home.”
Although Rouson may feel he began applying his Marine Corps leadership skills after he became the team’s coach, some of his players feel he began applying them the moment he took the position.
“For him to volunteer his time to coach us and get us to where we are – it showed me how he takes initiative, which is one of those fourteen leadership traits I try to emulate for myself,” said Triplett. “To have that initiative and that drive to go out there and just take charge and he definitely did that. I’ve been playing basketball all of my life, but you always learn something new, and he definitely pushed us.”
In spite of his notable coaching abilities, Rouson attributes the team’s success to an idea he believes whole heartily.
“Getting back to the basic fundamentals is what it really boiled down to,” said Rouson. “A lot of them were like everyone else these days, meaning they were fast paced, but when it comes down to it, it’s the basic fundamentals which get you through the tough spots, not speeding through everything. That was one of the biggest things I had to keep reiterating to them. Stick to the basics and then once you get the basics down, that’s when you are going to see things start going in your favor.”
APS-12 is certain to see things go in its favor, as the unit begins preparations for its upcoming deployment, with Rouson taking on the responsibility of the company gunnery sergeant billet, putting him in a prime position to teach the importance of good leadership, teamwork and sticking to the basics.