Sailors knock out stress
Bowling is one of ten different sports played throughout the year in the Captain’s Cup tournament. Whichever team holds the highest number of wins in all sports at the end of the calendar year is awarded the Captain’s Cup.
“Captain’s Cup has been a tradition for Sailors aboard NAF Atsugi since the early 1960’s,” said NAF Atsugi Lanes Manager Joseph Joly. “Bowling is not often thought of as an event on par with softball, track and field and other events, but it draws larger crowds, and greater participation than most events throughout the year.”
Bowling was added to the list of events during the 1963 Captain’s Cup tournament when Sailors felt that an indoor event needed to be added during the colder, snowy times of the year.
“Bowling used to be during more of the traditional winter months, but with the addition of sports like basketball, flag football, and softball, it has been moved to the spring time,” said Joly. “Really any time of year is the best time to come out and play, it really doesn’t matter if you’ve bowled once or a thousand times, just coming out to play and have fun is the goal for us.”
It’s not just Joly that feels this way, according to the National Institutes of Health, junior enlisted military personnel have the highest stress with the lowest physical rewards.
“I tell all my people whether it’s bowling, basketball, softball, just get out and do it,” said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Sherry Barfield, a Branch Health Clinic Atsugi Captain’s Cup bowling team member. “Work is always going to be there, it will be difficult and stressful, but it’s so important to find some way to de-stress.”
According to Navy Fitness, the U.S. Navy’s source for all things health related, just thirty minutes a day can help to not only reduce stress levels but also improve a person’s immune system and help boost endorphin levels within the brain to help a person feel better for longer.
“For many Sailors aboard NAF Atsugi physical activity is an absolute must,” said Barfield. “Whether it starts with command physical fitness or with a weekly bowling session, getting out there and just doing it is the best thing you can do for yourself.”
As stated on the Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) website, the Navy has allotted several million dollars for an increase in events like Captain’s Cup for its junior, single and geobachelor Sailors. “We’ve seen a huge influx of money from both Commander, Naval Forces Japan and from CNIC,” said Joly. “All this money is helping us to not only put on events like Captain’s Cup, but to increase the number of events we’re able to host here on the base.”
The Atsugi bowling alley has taken its share of the money for junior Sailors to get free services and products, games, shoes, soda and food on designated nights.
“It was in the spirit of togetherness and friendly competition that Captain’s Cup was founded,” said Joly. “In that same spirit we’re here trying to help give back to the community that gave me just as much when I was wearing the uniform.”
At the end of the day, the true prize is not the gleam of the trophy. It is the physical and mental fitness of our Sailors.