First Responders ceremony

Opening ceremonies for the First Responders Cup tournament.

A neat and now long-standing sports tradition in Arlington is the annual First Responders Cup girls softball tournament, which honors those local first-responders involved with the Sept. 11 terror attack in 2001.

Originally started in 2002, the event has been held every year since (except 2020 when it was canceled because of COVID). The two-day competition is held on Arlington fields, this year at Barcroft Park, and occurs in September as close to the  9/11 anniversary as possible. This year there were 20 teams in the 19th event, played Sept. 11 and 12, consisting of three age brackets.

The teams were from throughout Northern Virginia and the D.C. area, which is the case each year. The well-known Virginia Glory and Virginia Stars programs had multiple teams entered. The Impact and Sage teams from Arlington participated.

The competition is top-notch – with the championship teams having to play well to win the title – and the event is run well. The opening ceremony is heavy on patriotism. Jack Belcher has been a tournament organizer for all 19 First Responder Cups. So he deserves big props.

Good travel softball teams now want to enter the late-summer competition, instead of having to be asked to come like in some past seasons.  So a job certainly well done by Belcher and all involved, and for working toward a great cause to honor incredibly invaluable first responders.

Another local annual summer sporting event, also heavy on patriotism, is the American Legion District 17 all-star baseball game, played at the popular urban Waters Field venue in the middle of Vienna. Unfortunately, COVID forced the classic’s postponement this summer and last.

A concern among some is the game may not resume. That would be awful. Patriotic summer sporting events like that all-star game and First Responders Cup should always occur.

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