Friday, August 26, 2011

Running with Hoses

Today my prayers go out to the Chicago firemen injured in last night's southside blaze (see Chicago Tribune story).  The families and friends of these firemen are also in my thoughts as I can't imagine a more terrifying phone call to receive about someone you love. 

Ironically, the planned topic for today's blog was: Silly things firemen dream up when they go too long without an emergency.  I debated whether or not to proceed with this post.  Yet I felt that there was no better time to show how goofy and real these guys are. 

There are people in the "established" media who will always paint firemen and policemen in broad strokes: they are either heroes or villains.  Any time there is the slightest bit of scandal, they're all lumped together as bad apples.  Whenever one of them is injured or killed, suddenly all firemen and policemen walk on water and perform daily miracles.  In all actuality, they are normal guys with normal flaws who like normal things.  It just so happens that in-between planning wheelchair relay races, they may get called to run into a fire or perform CPR on blue people.  After that, they come home and get yelled at by their wives for leaving their underwear on the bathroom floor.  Again.  I mean, the basket is right there.

With no wives or girlfriends around to check them at the firehouse, the fellas recently hatched a plan to race aerodynamically-engineered wheelchairs at their yearly softball tournament.  They called up the competition and set the ground rules.  It was not a project meant to offend anyone, but rather an exercise in making something go super-duper fast.  If they were still little boys, they would build Go-Karts.  But most firemen are just way too big to fit into Go-Karts.  So wheelchairs were the next best thing.

Some images from the big race:

When I got a look at the competition, I figured Joe's house was doomed.

Our chair looked a tad amateurish in comparison.

They're off!

My husband: relay-race hero or firehouse scapegoat?
While I initially viewed our chair as a dismal failure in comparison to the tricked-out competition, I should have known better.  Have I mentioned that Joe's firehouse includes a former pilot who makes MacGyver look like a hack?  Nothing like bringing your own ringer to the race.  'Round and 'round they went and the Little Chair that Could provided a sound victory.

I have since heard rumblings that next year's race may include pogo sticks and a unicycle.  I'll be sure to bring the camera.  And extra bandages.

Thank you, guys.  For everything. 


  1. Someone in the firehouse must have checked the wheelchair Oil level.

  2. I love these guys! They know how to have fun.

  3. Anonymous - oil, schmoil. It was genius.

    Anonymous #2 - No kidding - I want to be a fireman when I grow up.