Camp Zama bilateral softball event builds friendship between local communities
September 18, 2012
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Sept. 18, 2012) -- "Even though we don't understand each other's language, playing sports and sharing that enjoyment together -- that's the most fun part."
That is how Hiroshi Soma, captain of the Asahi Elementary School Father's Association softball team, summarized the bilateral softball tournament held Sunday at Rambler Field here.
The tournament was coordinated by U.S. Army Garrison Public Affairs to build friendship with the local community outside Camp Zama. Four Japanese teams from Zama City and an "All-Star" team from the installation competed in the event.
Each Japanese team consisted of Father's Association members from the local Tatsunodai, Hibarigaoka, Nakahara and Asahi elementary schools. This amounted to more than 100 attendees including players and their family members.
"We are glad to have this opportunity and appreciate Camp Zama for sharing their grounds," said Hiroshi Mita, a coordinator for the tournament. "Not only did the adult players have a good time, but also the children. It was a great opportunity to interact with Camp Zama community members, and we would love to continue this."
In the final game, the Zama All-Stars shut out the Asahi Elementary team 18-0. An award ceremony was hosted by the installation's Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division, followed by a picnic lunch at Dewey Park here.
"I think our team did very well," said Bryan Zechman, assistant coach for the Zama All-Stars. "I want to thank all the Japanese teams that came out here; they played very well. I think they adapted well [to our playing style] and had a good time."
The Zama All-Stars were comprised of players from the installation's intramural softball league, who were chosen based on tryouts in July. The team will represent Camp Zama in various exhibition games, tournaments and official competitions in the future.
"They are very good and strong team," said Soma. "We are used to fast-pitch softball and baseball, and this was our first time to play slow-pitch style. We will practice and get payback next time."