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Torii Station Maintains the Spirit of Army-Navy Encounters

By: Marie W. Conway

Date Posted: 1999-12-10

Although the US Naval Academy won the 100th Anniversary Army vs. Navy game 19 to 9 back in the United States, the story was different on Okinawa. Here, the Army took revenge and won the 10th annual game by 19 to 15.

During a hard fought match that took place on Army’s Torii Station Diamond last Saturday, Army and Navy fans alike greeted the traditional battle with much fanfare and enthusiasm. Both sides had die-hard fans and more than a few boasts were made on behalf of both teams. It was Navy Commander Susan Sander’s birthday on Saturday, and she jokingly said she was out there celebrating it with the Navy team. She added that she was also there to “train the cheerleaders.”

Master Gunnery Sergeant O.B. Moore, the former coach of Okinawa’s Navy team - and still a vocal fan - announced to the crowd: “Navy will beat Army as usual!” But, ironically, Army went on to collect their 7th victory out of the 10-game series. According to Army fan Kelvin Ezell, “Army is the team of the decade and of the millennium.”

Michael Collins, Torii Station’s Athletic Director, told Japan Update that the game is inspired by the famous stateside Army-Navy football confrontation. It was 10 years ago that they also began to uphold and honor that tradition of peaceful rivalry. Collins also expressed the hope that future confrontations will always provide a good time to everyone and that the Okinawan tradition will live on through the millennium. The outcome of the encounter did not matter much to anyone; the crowd just seemed happy to watch Okinawa’s own version of the Army vs. Navy football game.

During half-time, many people enjoyed sampling cookies, cakes, chili, and hamburgers while checking out the Krist-Kindlemart Craft Fair inside the Torii gymnasium. The craft fair had over 50 vendors displaying various handmade items including: wine bottle covers, baked goods, African wood sculptures and underwater photos. There were also many Christmas decorations for sale such as wreaths, placards, wooden reindeer and dolls. With Santa Claus on hand to listen to their Christmas wishes and pose for photos, children as well as parents had a magical time. Aiko Miller, Torii’s Arts and Crafts Center Director hopes that Torii’s fair will one day be as big as the festival held annually in Northern Europe.

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