Camp Zama airmen left out of flag football grudge match
CAMP ZAMA, Japan — Flag football teams representing the Army’s Camp Zama and Yokosuka Naval Base will meet at Berkey Field at Yokosuka to play in a traditional Army-Navy grudge match.
But a team of Air Force players will be the ones holding the grudge.
Traditionally, the champions of each installation’s intramural league represent the bases.
This season, however, the best team at Camp Zama was one made up of airmen who live and work at the Army base.
The team represents the Air Force’s 374th Communications Squadron Operation Location Charlie.
During the regular season, it went 12-0 and continued its undefeated streak into the postseason, eventually defeating a team from the Army’s 88th Military Police Detachment to win the base championship.
After the win, confusion started about who would go on to the Army-Navy game, said Airman Cory Buchman, a cornerback and lineman on the 374th’s team. Because the squad had beaten every team on base, it made sense it should represent the base against the Navy team, he said.
One idea proposed was to create some sort of all-star team composed of the best players on Zama regardless of their branch of service, said Tech. Sgt. Shahid Muhammad, a cornerback on the 374th’s team.
The idea was tossed around, said intramural sports coordinator Andy Abear, but the decision was that the Zama team should be all soldiers.
The choice was made not to exclude the other services stationed at Zama but more to mirror the longstanding Army-Navy football rivalry played each year by the service academies at West Point and Annapolis, Abear said.
Muhammad said he understands that reasoning, but he’s still not happy with the outcome.
“It’s still a little unfair to us because we are all part of (the) Camp Zama community,” he said.
“We wouldn’t have gone down there to represent the Air Force. We would represent the Army and Camp Zama.”