People won’t have to wait until Freedom Fest opens to start having fun. The Chiefs vs. Eagles softball and dodgeball games unofficially kick off the holiday events Saturday.
Chiefs vs. Eagles is a friendly competition between the chief master sergeants and full bird colonels in the KMC. The game started as a friendly challenge in 1993 and has escalated to an annual event preceding the Freedom Fest.
“It’s a good morale builder, watching leadership get out there and take each other on,” said Isaac Melendez, Ramstein Southside Fitness Center director.
Chiefs vs. Eagles used to only consist of a seven-inning softball game, but this year the two teams will compete in a dodgeball competition as well.
“Dodgeball is sort of the Soup De Jour right now, so we thought by layering it on, it would get a little more people involved and build a little more camaraderie,” said Chief Master Sgt. Dale Buckholtz, 435th Air Base Wing command chief.
The games will kick of this year with softball starting at 9 a.m. at the Ramstein Southside Field and dodgeball at 11 a.m. inside the southside fitness center.
The chiefs will be looking for a better showing from their squad this year, as the Eagles walked away with the trophy in last year’s event.
“We are determined to turn it around,” said Chief Buckholtz, who will be playing in his second Chiefs vs. Eagles at Ramstein. “We have been practicing a lot and I think we will be victorious.”
Although official stats are not kept for the games and the Eagles were victorious last year, it is believed that the chiefs hold a slight edge in the win column for the event’s 12-year history.
“Chiefs vs. Eagles is a good way to start off the Freedom Fest events because they will be playing an All-American pastime in softball,” said Melendez.