5 tribes play ball at Poarch
Published 8:07 am Monday, August 4, 2003
By By Connie Nowlin Managing editor
Editor's note: Results were not available by press time Saturday.
Teams from Florida to New York traveled to Atmore this weekend to take part in a slow pitch softball tourney.
The teams, all members of the Native American Sports Association, were playing double-elimination rounds at Arrowhead Park on the Poarch Creek band of Creek Indians reservation.
There were 30 teams total, evenly split between men and women. Each team has 15 members. The youth tourney was held the last week in July in New York, hosted by the Seneca tribe. Atmore youth held their own against challengers from all over at that event, winning the girls' bracket, senior boys' baseball bracket and placing third in junior boys' bracket.
"The location of the tournaments rotates among the tribes," said Ray Shiver, community relations director for Poarch Creek tribe. "Last year it was in Bradenton (Fla.). We have done a lot of work at our park, and we expect several hundred people."
Those playing represented five tribes, the Seminoles from Florida, Cherokee from North Carolina, Choctaw from Mississippi, Creek from Alabama and the Senecas from New York.
"We are into softball and baseball pretty big here in the Southeast," said Ronnie Jackson, chairman of recreation for Poarch Creek.
"There is a lot of camaraderie among our people, we go there and they come here, or we have a tournament in Mobile."
Others agreed with Jackson.
"I love coming here," said Marvin Bowers, of the Brighton Seminoles. "It seems like I always have a good tournament when I come here."
"There is a first-class rivalry between us and the Seminoles. I believe they would drive halfway around the world to beat this Creek team, and they do it regularly," tribal president Eddie Tullis teased.
But Tullis said the camaraderie is only one facet of the sports program.
"We are trying to have something that everyone can get involved in, especially the kids," he said. The tribe has children involved in tennis, rodeo, the baseball and softball programs and many also show cattle.
The tournament was expected to conclude Saturday about 10 p.m.