Guns and Hoses

There nothing wrong with a little healthy competition. Creaking
bones, aging tendons and sore muscles are probably not the picture of
health, however the spirit of competition was strong and vibrant
Wednesday night. It was the child born of softball and benevolence,
“Guns and Hoses”.

Guns and Hoses is a yearly softball game that pits Law Enforcement in
Thief River Falls, Minnesota and Pennington County (the Guns) versus the Thief
River Falls Fire Department (the Hoses.) The name takes a spin on the
nineties rock group, “Guns and Roses.” It started a few years back as
a good way join these groups together in an evening of fun instead of
an evening of fire or car accidents. Guns and Hoses grew to become a
way to benefit a group or person through the sale of
concessions-namely brats and buns.

I had never attended this joining of first responders to breath life
into softball until this year. I felt I was a poor excuse for a
softball player until I found out they needed people to watch, eats
brats and drink beer; all activities which are really in my
wheelhouse. The beneficiary of this year’s concessions is my buddy,
Adam Tongen, so that was also a good reason to attend. Several people
donated baked goods and produce so we had a little sale during the
game which did well, as did the sale of brats and “Guns and Hoses”
t-shirts. I would also like to mention that Adam is still in
Rochester and will start intense chemotherapy again this Saturday.
Many of you have helped support Adam and I want you to know it has
made a big difference.

Okay, let’s play ball. Wednesday night was beautiful and
well-attended by players, friends and family. I was surprised at the
level of play-most of those on the field were REALLY bad. Seriously,
the game was pretty well-played and fun to watch. Each side had
stand-outs however everyone really enjoyed themselves. Several of the
players hit opposite field and the base running was surprisingly
disciplined. The Guns almost turned a traditional double play (6-4-3)
which is pretty difficult. The Hoses were stronger at bat but I think
the Guns get my nod for Cy Young of the night. Two standouts that
come to mind are Terry Adam who is apparently a softball-playing
cyborg from the future and Evan Bruggeman who almost lost an elbow
side-arming a shot to third to the Big Bird on first for the out. I’d
tell you who won but really, when your doing good for someone else,
everybody wins. (don’t you hate when people do that?)

After the game we retired to the bleachers (I had retired there when
I arrived) and talked about everything except the game. Mark Bieganek
also taught us several words of Polish. Mark is sincerely convinced
he’s faithfully speaking this language however I suspect it is the
same kind of gibberish John Cleese used on “Monte Python’s Flying
Circus.” Anyway, Mark is entertaining and a good guy-he’s also Polish
or Czech or Swede depending upon the night.

I will have good memories of a night in which old men and young
women, (can’t call women old-ever) competed under blue skies and in
temperate air during which all players made up for the bad they did
to the game of softball with the good they did for one person through
the same act; playing the game. Good job Guns, good job Hoses.

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