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Grassroots ‘league of their own’ forms at Fort Knox

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By G. ANTHONIE RIIS

Five teams have formed the first-ever Fort Knox Women’s Softball League.

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Introducing the Diamond Divas, the Fort Knox Gold Vault Ballers, The Knox Outs, the Bat Intentions and the Dirt Angels.

Tiffany Bender, founder and president of the new woman’s intramural league, said it all started with one question.

“It was a question posted on Facebook asking if Fort Knox had a softball team,” Bender said. “The answers were either no or ‘I don’t know.’”

Bender took the question to the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation intramural athletic director, Adrian Bogle, who confirmed there was indeed no Fort Knox softball league, but that one might be started.

Bender took that answer back to her Facebook friends.

“I asked if I could put something on Facebook to see if there was any interest. That was 5 o’clock in the evening. By 8 o’clock that night, I had over 70 women interested in softball. By the next morning, I had enough women to suit out five teams,” she said. “I [now] have enough women interested for two more teams that I’d like to start in the fall.”

The momentum continues to grow, and while the enthusiasm might be tough for her to explain, Bender speculates it’s easy to understand.

“We have women from all walks of life, from spouses, to lower enlisted, to officers, to retirees, to contractors. They want to de-stress from bills and kids, and they want to get out of the house,” she said. “Some women come because they’ve played softball for years. Some women come because they’ve never played before. Some come to exercise without the intimidation of the gym. Some come to lose weight. We encourage them [all to] come on out.”

Bender said the enthusiasm has been enjoyable to watch.

“They come out, they hit a ball and run some bases, and they have fun,” Bender said. “Seeing these women come together and helping each other out at practices is so important because it brings everyone together. That’s what we need. That’s been the best medicine.”

Bender said one of the first questions they had to answer when kicking the idea around was whether they should include men in the league.

“That was an option from our first meeting, whether or not the league should be co-ed. They wanted to keep it segregated,” Bender said “They wanted to keep this just for women and to keep it fun and to just play each other. They spoke; I listened.” n