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Ron Harmon, a civilian contractor with the 374th Communications Squadron, throws darts Tuesday afternoon at the enlisted club on Yokota Air Base, Japan.
Ron Harmon, a civilian contractor with the 374th Communications Squadron, throws darts Tuesday afternoon at the enlisted club on Yokota Air Base, Japan. (Christopher B. Stoltz / S&S)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — This won’t be the first time the Yokota Enlisted Club has taken aim at a base dart league.

But now it’s hoping valuable intramural points in the race for the 2006 Commander’s Cup Trophy can do what cold, hard cash couldn’t — lure squadrons and units into the sport.

“We’ve advertised it before to do something through the club,” said Jacqui Maldonado, the Yokota Enlisted Club’s special events coordinator, who’ll run the league with base intramural sports officials. “We offered cash prizes as an incentive: $500 for first place, $300 for second and $200 for third. But there wasn’t much interest.”

Trying the intramural approach, she said, might “force people to get a team together for Commander’s Trophy points, plus have fun at the same time.”

Of course, they don’t have to join. Squadron representatives must deliver letters of intent or no-thank-yous to the Yokota Main Fitness Center sports department by March 27.

Each unit may enter one five-member “A” squad designated as the Commander’s Trophy team. Additional teams will be given recreational status.

A mandatory organizational meeting is planned for April 4 at 11 a.m. in the Yokota Enlisted Club’s Spectrum Lounge. Team captains and representatives will review league rules and set a date for the season opener.

Maldonado said she hopes to start the 12-week campaign on May 8. Playoffs would begin in August, followed by a league banquet and trophy presentation.

Maldonado says she and her husband, Staff Sgt. John Maldonado, helped launch a dart league a few years ago at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

“Retirees who have been here for decades told me there’s never been a dart league at Yokota before,” she said.

“There are people around here who want to play, but where do you go?” she added. “There may be places off base, but then you’ve got to deal with the whole drinking-and-driving thing. … We’re basically looking to get people back into the clubs. Instead of going downtown, we’re giving them another reason to stay on base.”

Intramural matches would take place in the Spectrum Lounge, which is being outfitted with up to 10 new dartboards. Extra lighting also will be installed.

“It’s gonna look like an actual English pub that hosts a dart league,” Maldonado said.

For more information about the league, call Maldonado at DSN 227-8820.

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