News: Athletes swing to win during Memorial Weekend Softball Tournament
Story by Pfc. David Walters
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan - Cheers, laughs and the sound of softballs hitting bats rang through the air May 25-27, 2013, at Penny Lake baseball field and the field behind the parade deck during the Memorial Weekend Softball Tournament, hosted by Marine Corps Community Services.
Jason B. Knight, MCCS Intramural Sports Coordinator, put together and managed the tournament to help give Marines something to do during Memorial Day weekend.
“There is not much to do. Especially for the young Marines who are just getting here for the first time,” said Knight. “A foreign country can be kind of intimidating. A little bit of this helps remind them that home is not that far away.”
The Memorial Weekend Softball Tournament was a way for Marines to get together during the holiday and participate in an activity that was of common interest.
“It’s also vital to their morale,” said Knight. “Events like this build camaraderie among the units. It takes their mind off work and allows them to de-stress.”
This year, more teams participated in the softball tournament than last year. Knight said he appreciated that more teams are coming out and playing.
“I’m more than ecstatic because last year there were 13 teams,” said Knight. “We had 18 teams show up this year.”
Among the teams that participated through the three-day tournament, The Reapers of Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 came out as the champions with a record of 6-0.
Nathan J. Bromagen, MWSS-171 motor transportation operator, played outfielder for The Reapers. The team had been practicing for three months in preparation for the tournament.
According to Bromagen, something as simple as competing in a tournament together helped tighten unit camaraderie.
“Our moral was already up just by playing softball with each other,” said Bromagen.
Knight enjoys hosting events to show Marines someone is there and trying to provide them with something fun to get out of the barracks and have a good time.
“I do enjoy what I do,” said Knight. “I like doing it and I like seeing them have a good time, having fun, getting together, joking and laughing.”
No matter the outcome, or score, all the players competed to show they are Marines bound by fellowship and camaraderie.