By D.L. PERRIN
The auxiliary gym at Lakeland High was a busy place this past Sunday. Firefighters from across LaGrange County showed up to toss a basketball around and warm up their skills for the second annual Police vs. Firefighters Basketball Game.
This is a grudge match to be sure, as the firefighters admitted they had been “whupped” by the police team last year with a score of 64-9, or 63-6, or maybe it was 60-9.
Depending upon who you ask, the figures may not be exact but the point is well taken — they got beat.
“Oh, it isn’t going to be that easy this year,” one of the players announced as he tossed the ball toward the hoop.
“I’m not saying we will be bringing some fire — but let’s just say it will be hot enough for a hog roast.”
According to the firefighters, the police had a bit of an advantage over them last year because they had been called to put out a big fire right before the game that night and they were tired as a result. Another firefighter dribbled the ball past and shouted, “Yeah real men put out fires before they play!”
They also said they would bring a couple of boxes of doughnuts as a distraction for the opposition.
The gym over at Lakeland Junior High was also in use on Sunday. Police officers from across LaGrange County were running drills and practicing rebound shots.
As they did relays and shot baskets they also had a few choice comments for the firefighters. One player asked aloud, “What is the difference between a firefighter and a dollar bill?”
A couple of the other players asked, “What’s the difference?”
He replied, “You can get four quarters from a dollar bill.”
After a few baskets another player announced, “You know what you call five firefighters on a basketball court? Down by 20.”
All of the good-natured taunts aside the two teams have a serious goal for their games. Jim Michels from the LaGrange Fire Department said he and a few of the policemen had been talking about giving something back to the community and they came up with the basketball idea.
“Both the police and the firefighters ask for donations on occasion,” he said. “We both felt we could do something to raise money and donate it to a local charity each year, have a good time and hopefully entertain everyone.”
If you want to go
What: Second annual basketball challenge between LaGrange County firefighters and police officers
When: At 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Lakeland High School gym
Cost: Tickets are $5. Children ages 5 and younger will be admitted free.
Why: Proceeds benefit Elijah Haven Crisis Center