3rd annual Friendship Softball Tournament
Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi’s Fire Department will host their 3rd annual Friendship Firefighters Softball Tournament on July 12 at Ranger Park.
The participating softball teams are made up of firefighters from Yokohama City Seya-Ward, Zama City, Yamato City, Ebina City, Ayase City, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Atsugi, Commander, Naval Region Japan Fire Department Atsugi, and NAF Atsugi Naval Security Force.
The tournament provides a relaxed atmosphere where the firefighters can build relationships amongst one another outside of work.
“The purpose is to generate camaraderie among our Mutual Aid Fire Departments,” said Commander, Fire and Emergency Services Regional Deputy Fire Chief Gifton Lawrence, Jr. “Often times when we get together, it’s during a training event, or an actual emergency. Spending a fun-filled day playing softball is what’s needed to de-stress and enjoy each other’s company.”
The tournament will consist of one-pitch games to allow every team a chance to play against each other. The team with the most homeruns at the end of the day will take home the trophy.
In a one-pitch game the innings go by quickly and require the players to be great hitters and fast runners.
With the previous two years being a success, this year is expected to be the same, with the softball field echoing with chants, laughter and teasing.
“Relationships are built on trust, mutual respect and admiration for one another,” said Lawrence. “In order to achieve it, you have to feel comfortable with that person. So, what better way to achieve that comfort level than enjoying a friendly game of softball?”
The tournament also allows the firefighters to bring their families to enjoy the games, eat American BBQ with the occasional Japanese dish mixed in and strengthen intercultural relationships.
Family members can sit on the hill in the shade under the trees to watch the games or even participate in a game or two themselves.
The tournament’s goal has always been to build camaraderie and further strengthen professional ties both on and off the installation with the fire departments, and every year continues to highlight the success of that goal.
“This softball tournament not only benefits our Fire Department at Atsugi, it benefits the region as a whole, and is an integral part of our Regional Fire and Emergency Services’ community outreach program,” said Lawrence. “This is our 3rd annual softball tournament, so the plan is to continue with this initiative.”