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CAMP ZAMA, Japan – While DODDS Pacific offers a variety of activities in various academic and arts disciplines, sometimes those events conflict with key sports events.

And that’s the case this week, when many league finals in various sports bump up against the Far East Music Festival.

That event concludes Friday at Osan and Humphreys in Korea – the same day that soccer finals are taking place in Japan and Korea, along with DODDS track and field finals at Humphreys and Robert D. Edgren in Japan.

But while coaches would prefer to have all their key performers available for tournament play, it’s tough for a coach to stand in the way of somebody desiring a career in music.

Mark Lange of Matthew C. Perry boys soccer, for example, traveled to Zama for this weekend’s DODDS Japan tournament without three members of his back line, including Jon Cadavos, who leads the Samurai with 11 assists.

“Music is important to them, and we are a very small school. It does affect us,” Lange said. “Really, it comes down to scheduling.”

“The kids are lucky to have so many opportunities, but I can see how it could have a negative effect on smaller schools (which) have trouble finding enough students to fill the slots of everything that is going on at once,” Nile C. Kinnick track coach Luke Voth said.

Much goes into the planning of Far East activities, and often times such as this week, they can’t be scheduled apart from league finals, DODDS Pacific activities director Missy Gingrich said in an e-mail.

They can’t be scheduled the same weeks as semester, Advanced Placement and other standardized tests, nor during accreditation visits. Some activities are held at local universities that can only support DODDS when their own students are out of school.

Other impacting factors are major Japanese, Korean and Chinese holidays, inclement weather and availability of on-base facilities and billeting, Gingrich said. “Students may have to choose which event is most purposeful for their own college and career ready goals,” she said.

Thus, coaches press on and make do without some key people. Troy Purdin of Humphreys is another example; he’s without one of his key soccer players, Takao Elliot. “He’s one of our main dudes,” he said.

DODDS Japan soccer is already under way, boys at Zama, girls at Yokota, and the boys began with what Lange referred to as a “classico,” a pool-play draw with Kinnick, Perry’s biggest rival. “Always the same,” Lange said. “Different season, same thing.”

Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Blue Division tournaments begin Friday, with Osan’s girls holding the top seed after capturing the first KAIAC regular-season title in the school’s 20-year history.

But while Seoul American’s boys swept the season series from Seoul Foreign, the Falcons enter their KAIAC Blue tournament as the No. 2 because the Crusaders earned more regular-season points, 30 to 26.

“It is what it is; the kids knew that going in,” Falcons coach Steve Boyd said, adding that for a team that lost seven starters and was thought to be rebuilding, the Falcons have grown much over the season. “We’ve done a good job, we have a lot of good chemistry,” he said.

The last weekend of long-haul DODDS Japan trips also included baseball and softball visits by Kinnick, Yokota and Zama to E.J. King, Edgren and Perry, respectively.

But it also means every long-haul bus owned by the district was put into action – and some schools had to share buses to travel to the DODDS Japan track finals, “therefore, we can’t bring all our athletes,” one coach said.

And because Edgren doesn’t have throwing pits, the shot put and discus have to be held separately at Yokota.

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