Typhoon's effects linger to plague USFJ-AFL schedule
August 13, 2003
CAMP COURTNEY, Okinawa — Typhoon Etau’s aftermath continues to haunt the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League, at least on Okinawa.
For the second time in three days, a scheduled game pitting Yokota against Courtney-Hansen was postponed, this time because of lighting problems at the Courtney Bowl, league officials said Monday night.
The game already had been called off on Saturday, when Etau delayed Yokota’s trip to Okinawa.
“It’s just unfortunate,” said Antonio Cleveland, the USFJ-AFL’s chief of Okinawa operations. “But it couldn’t be helped.”
Lt. Col. Tony Bowman, Courtney’s deputy camp commander who also serves as the team’s coach, said they discovered the lighting problem when the Marine Corps Community Services staff tried to turn on the stadium lights at 6:15 p.m., 45 minutes before kickoff.
Power lines, transformers and other electrical equipment were either struck by lightning during the typhoon or sufficiently irrigated to the point where the lights would not function, Bowman said.
Bowman said maintenance crews could not be summoned to repair the lights Monday night, since an athletic event is not an “emergency situation.”
A work order was submitted for repairs to be done Tuesday, he said, adding that “chances are very good” the game could be played then.
“I hope they get everything fixed,” Cleveland said. “It’s tough enough [for Yokota] to make this trip. They’ve made the trip. Now, we just have to play the games.”
The Raiders made the trip with just 13 players and are scheduled to play again on Thursday against Futenma.
This week is a busy one for the USFJ-AFL on Okinawa. Defending league runner-up Misawa is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday for games that night against the Kadena Dragons and Saturday against the Titans, both at Courtney.
Monday’s postponement was only the third this season for a league that has been plagued by cancellations, postponements and forfeits. Since 2000, 31 games have been called off because of duty, transportation and weather concerns.