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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Armed Forces Softball Championship promotes camaraderie

By Heather J. Hagan | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | October 30, 2014

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The Marine Corps clinched fourth place for both the Women’s and Men’s 2014 Armed Forces Softball Championship, but for Sgt. Candice Clark the biggest win was the friendships formed with her teammates.

“Not only did I get to play softball and represent the Marine Corps for a month, I also made lifelong friends who are also my sisters in arms,” Clark, with Marine Corps Systems

Command, said.

The All-Marine Sports Program promotes combat readiness, physical fitness, resiliency, esprit de corps, leadership, healthy lifestyles and overall quality of life enhancement.

Each season begins with training camps that are an outgrowth of installation-based intramural and varsity sports programs.

Marines are selected for training camps through an application process and train every day for a week and a half.

This is where Clark developed her athletic skill and built strong bonds with her teammates.

“Although I went to Oklahoma in pursuit of playing competition softball, I gained much more than that, a lifetime of camaraderie, friendships and motivation,” she said. “That was the most rewarding thing I received from All-Marine softball and the most rewarding thing I’ve received from the Marine Corps.”

Two other female All-Marine softball players, Cpl. Mariah Hammond and Cpl. Nicole Sanchez, joined Clark as part of the U.S. Armed Forces Women’s Softball Team that competed in the 2014 Association of America Slow Pitch Women’s Open National Championship.

In addition, two All-Marine men’s softball players, Staff Sgt. Brian Gardner and Staff Sgt. Matthew Faircloth, were selected as a part of the U.S. Armed Forces Men’s Softball Team, which competed in the 2014 ASA Slow Pitch Men’s Class A National Championship from Sept. 26-28, in Edmond, Oklahoma. All-Marine sports teams can go on to compete in U.S. Armed Forces National and International competitions.

The majority of sports hold annual All-Marine and U.S. Armed Forces championships for both male and female athletes.

These championships provide a high level of competition for the accomplished athlete while serving as an incentive for athletes to improve their performance.

“This experience did reiterate my belief about softball being the ultimate team sport,” Gardner said.

“Individually you can do great things, but you will not be successful without the other players on your team,” he added.

For more information about the All-Marine Sports programs, visit www.manpower.usmc.mil/familyprograms.
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