Some heroes never go to the Olympics
(photo by C-60)
C-60 and I decided to do SCBA basketball for drill last night. I was a little nervous about it—it sounded super fun but you never know how everyone else will respond to a new idea. We also never really know how many people will show up to drills—so trying to plan out something for anywhere from 8-18 people is hard (for me, at least).
There are a few reasons for playing basketball on air. The basic motivation is to just get everyone working and using up their air, running it all the way to empty, while having a little bit of fun. While it would be better to get everyone doing fire skills while on air, we have a hard time setting up a drill that can keep everyone working at the same time for 30+ minutes straight to run down a bottle. Some of our rookies had never run a whole bottle down. I also had some notion that it would make people think about teamwork and communication, as well as get a sense of the range of motion available in turnouts.
It turned out to be a great drill, I think. There were definitely a few learning points—one being, you need a way to ID the teams, because very few people could tell who was on their team. My team had a blue and a red helmet so the other team (all yellow helmets) at least knew to mark us well! It also helps to explain the rules of half court basketball (I for one had no clue, being it has been about 15 years since I last played). Also, a few people missed the memo about not being aggro competitive ___(fill in the blank)___s (“no contact, no injuries, no running since there is no running on the fireground”) and were pushing to the point of knocking people over, which was really not the plan. There was also a weird focus with some people at “halftime” about how much air you had left, and I never get why it’s good to give someone s^#% about using up their air faster… especially because in this game one way to not use up your air was to not play very hard. As for communication… eh, not so much. I think people didn’t want to use up extra air talking! And teamwork… well, maybe… but it was also A vs. B which I don’t think helps the general cohesiveness of our division when people get really into the “We won! Yeah!” thing. I know it is good to have some competition between companies because it ideally pushes everyone to work harder and keep their skills up, but it also sets up a weird us vs them thing that seems like it could easily backfire. Especially when winning a basketball game doesn’t really mean crap about what sort of firefighter you are! But, maybe I’m just a sore loser, right?!
The drill went well enough that I can see it happening again. Maybe it will become a summer tradition?