One of the reasons I have such a deep appreciation for the Olympic games is having competed in the World Police and Fire Games. These games, as the name suggests, are an Olympic-style venue for police officers and fire fighters. But don’t think of the competition as equivalent to a pick-up basketball game or the local police-fire summer softball league. The games draw 10,000 athletes from across the world, and at the medal levels, the competition is world-class. Each year the games see entrants that have also competed in the actual Olympic games.
I had the privilege of playing indoor men’s volleyball in the 2001 World Police and Fire Games in Indianapolis. We played teams from Russia, France, Germany… and American teams from Hawaii to NYC. In fact, we lost to FDNY, and later that same year, some of the very fire fighters we played against would lose their lives in the World Trade Center.
I also competed in indoor men’s volleyball in the 2005 World Police and Fire Games in Quebec. We didn’t medal in either games, but the experience and the people we met were unbelievable. I even picked up a little French. (Referring to the language, not dating practices.)
Life has gotten in the way of competing in subsequent games, which are played every odd year. Next year they will take place in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to go. But if I don’t, it will be because of life circumstances, and not lack of desire.
If you are a police officer or fire fighter, I couldn’t stress enough how enriching an experience competing in the games can be. If you have a sport you enjoy, even recreationally, you owe it to yourself to give it a try at least once in your life. And if Belfast is beyond your travel means, 2015 will be in Fairfax, Virginia. Make it a road trip, if you have to. You’ll know, just a little bit, what it feels like to be an Olympian.
And now, women’s 3m springboard diving is on. I have to get back to the games.
The tennis club’s lighted sign is advertising the start of indoor season soon. The high schools have begun student registration. The water park is announcing back-to-school hours.
But I’m not done with summer yet.
From time to time I grab one of my officers and ride with them for a bit, mostly to keep a connection that extends beyond the office.
Me: (tired, looking out of the squad car window) Wow, tonight’s dragging.
Her: (straining to look out of my window) Where?
Me: Where what?
Her: Nice dragon?
On New Year’s Eve, my sergeant and I confronted a man who was a firing a gun into the air. We recovered nearly 50 spent shell casings as evidence.
I had a letter in my mailbox today which stated that he plead guilty and received 2 years…
Writing my master’s thesis, work, and side jobs at the one end, and time with the Hero and the Sun, trying to keep fit, and watching the Olympic games on the other. That’s what’s been keeping me away from the blog lately.
This weekend marks the end of a two-week vacation for me. We had a blast during that time, spending every day but one at either a pool or a beach, some days even hitting both. But staying in the local area, and people at work knowing it, meant not really being away. I got a phone call when my sergeant had a problem with an Investigation’s Lt. I got a phone call from a Deputy Chief over a disciplinary matter with one of my officers. I later got a call from the Chief of Police for the same matter. I also got a phone call from a DC about a probationary officer still in the FTO program. I’ve also spoken with several of my officer about smaller matters, though no less duty-related. And despite a “I’m away” auto-reply on my work email, the stream of messages did not even sort-of slow down.
And I’m not complaining about any of that, really. It’s nice to feel an integral part of the place.
Though one fact does put the responsibility in perspective.
The new union contract has been signed, and my sergeant (one rank lower) now makes more than I do.
A little less than a week of this vacation left. While I’d much rather be living on the West Coast somewhere between San Diego and Seattle, with LA excepted, it is nice still being within driving distance of water where fate has found us. Some day we will get out to where the real waves roll.
In this pic, day is done, and it’s time to pack up and head home.
While I’m off for two weeks, I did pick up an overtime detail assisting with supervising community service. This morning the juvenile delinquents painted fire hydrants. I explained to them that just last week we had a fire in a multi-family housing complex where two people died. And I explained to them how important the fire hydrants are for firefighters doing their job, so while painting them seemed menial, it served a purpose.
One of them, 17 years old, asked me how the fire fighters used the fire hydrants. I thought it was common knowledge, but I explained it anyway.
“Oh, I thought those were just there to turn on in the summer when it gets hot”, he replied.
And there, in a snap shot, is the future of America.