Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Demolition Derbys and Firemen

Last fall was a lot of fun, we covered a lot of country fairs, generally one every weekend. Many of these had a demolition derby, which were always the most popular event. I really enjoy them, there's just something so cool about seeing people smash up cars - I guess that's the country in me. The biggest one was in a rather wealthy little town-turned big-city suburb, which was also the most fun. I was recently reminded about it, and since school has settled down a bit, I can now tell the story.

John and I are covering the demo derby as Roy and Janice cover the rest of the fair. The organizers always have a medic team at the derby along with the firefighters, just in case something happens to the drivers. John and some of the others who have been around for a while are not all that fond of these events, they complain about the noise, the dirt, and the firefighters. Medics and firefighters don't always have the greatest relationship; it's some sort of twisted rivalry I guess. Personally, I love them, they are usually great guys and I have never had a problem with one. They have always been nice to me and treated me well, so I feel no need to make sweeping generalizations about hose monkeys....I mean firemen.

I love how close we get to stand, the gates of the fence are open and the only barriers between the cars and us are the concrete blocks edging the ring. I remember when I first came to university; I came to this with my cousins, sitting up in the stands. I looked over across the field to where the medics and fire were standing and sighed....I wanted to be doing that soooo badly. I can't help but grin now, standing there in the dark night, standing there as a medic. I look up to where I was sitting 2 years and thank God for the opportunities He has given me. I just love doing this.

John hangs out back at the ambulance, but I want to be right in the action. My little medic uniform offers very little protection for the muddy spray that covers us every time the cars spin by, but it's only mud, right? Hmm, wrong. A sharp stinging pain on my leg provides a quick wakeup call - rocks and other debris flies just as easily. This requires a rethink. I grab a pair of safety goggles off John and pull my baseball cap down tight. My face more or less protected, I turn to look at the three firemen. They are in full turnout gear, giant pants, coats and full helmets ensure that they wouldn't feel half a car if it were to fly our way. The next time a car sprays by, I lean slightly behind Rick, the nearest one. That works well - I don't have to move out of the action, and I have my own personal shield. After a few passes, he notices what I'm doing and just laughs. He offers me his helmet, and as tempting as that is, I decline. Instead, he starts to cover me every time the spray flies, taking all the mud for me. The rest of the night is hilarious, we talk and joke non-stop, and since his protective instinct had kicked in like crazy, he makes sure I don't get another speck of mud on me.

So you see, I have no reason to dislike firemen. That is only one of many incidents in which they have proven, on the whole, to be very nice guys. It's a lot of fun to see another perspective on duty, and talking to cops or firemen give that. I won't hesitate to tease them as mercilessly as they do me, but I'll not perpetuate the negative relationship that many of my partners have with them. They can quite easily liven up a dull shift.

They're useful for carrying stuff too :D

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