One of the less solemn events in the lead-up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11 has been the World Police and Fire Games, which wound up in New York City yesterday.
Claiming to be the “second largest multi-sport event in the world” after the Summer Olympics (not sure how the organizers of the World Games or Commonwealth Games feel about that), the Games are held every two years, with the next event set to take place in Belfast in 2013.
I actually went along to watch a mate from back home compete in the dodgeball event at the Javits Convention Center near Penn Station. Christening themselves the ‘Drop Bears’ (after the Australian urban legend commonly used to trick tourists) the boys from Sydney quickly became a crowd favourite with their light-hearted warm-up routines.
With beer available for purchase and a number of competitors getting hit in the face with balls, I regretted not looking into the event sooner.
The most enjoyable thing to witness, however, was the genuine camaraderie between the teams. Far be it from a pencil-pushing office type like me to fully understand the special bond between those who put their lives on the line as a profession – a reality which no doubt is felt more keenly on weeks like this – but it was a nice display to bask in, all the same.
See you in Belfast.