Law vs. Fire: Law enforcement, firefighters to slug it out at charity softball game
Their bats are ready and their gloves oiled. Their teammates have been chosen and numbers picked. They have chosen their batters, pitchers, outfielders, infielders, basemen and umpires.
Now all they need are the fans to clap and cheer them on.
The Alexandria Fire Department and Douglas County Law Enforcement will be hosting a charity softball game this year - instead of the usual broomball tournament.
The softball game will take place on Wednesday, August 5 at Knute Nelson Ball Field. The game starts at 5 p.m. with gates opening at 4 p.m.
The game will feature the Alexandria Fire Department playing against Douglas County Law Enforcement officials - including members of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and Posse, Alexandria Police Department and Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Captains for each team are Alexandria Fire Chief Shane Schmidt and Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen.
During the softball tournament, there will also be games between innings on the field, including a ball toss, bat spin and base race; radar pitch machine; a K-9 demonstration; a kids' fun house; Sparky the Fire Dog; and concession stand specials.
Those who attend the softball game will get free admission to the Alexandria Beetles game starting at 7:05 p.m.
Tickets to the charity ball game are $2, with proceeds going to the Alexandria Area Special Olympics and the Windmill Project.
This event is sponsored by the Alexandria Fire Department, Douglas County Sheriff's Office and the Alexandria Beetles.
To find out more about the game and the rivalry between the firefighters and law enforcement officers, the newspaper talked with Sheriff Wolbersen and Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Karrow, who engaged in a little, light, fun bantering.
According to Karrow, the fire department has a perfect record - 13-0 - when playing the law enforcement team in broomball.
Wolbersen disagreed, saying that when these charity games started, it wasn't broomball, but hockey and that the law enforcement team did win a few times.
Karrow playfully interrupted, saying that back when it was hockey, the law enforcement team played against tech school students, not the fire department.
"When it was the fire department," Karrow told Wolbersen, "you had zero wins."
"You may be right," Wolbersen said, to which Karrow replied, "I know I am right."
When asked why it was decided to change from broomball to softball, both Wolbersen and Karrow had different answers.
According to the sheriff, the reason for the change is that the fire department "could feel a change in the tide" and that they probably would have lost the game this year and the law enforcement team was going to win. Last year, the fire department only scored one goal, he added.
Karrow said that the law enforcement team wanted the change because it was tired of losing at broomball.
"I am confident that we are going to play well," said Wolbersen, who added that his team knows how to play well without practicing 25 times like the fire department does.
"It was two practices," Karrow clarified.
Wolbersen countered back, saying that the law enforcement guys don't have time to practice because they "actually work for a living."
Karrow retorted, "We all work, but we also all volunteer our time. And no, we actually have not been practicing."
The two then debated the number of teammates who are currently playing organized ball.
Karrow said his team only has a couple of players, but that the law enforcement team has several. Wolbersen disagreed, saying that the fire department has "way more guys" who currently play ball now, which will give them an advantage.
When the two were done with their debate, Karrow told Wolbersen that he hoped he wins something. "Maybe the bat spinning game," he chuckled.
Despite the bantering back and forth, both Karrow and Wolbersen left with smiles on their faces and said they hope people will come watch the game because it will be fun - and it's for charity.
FIRE DEPARTMENT ROSTER
Shane Schmidt - captain
Bill "Same" Thoennes
LAW ENFORCEMENT ROSTER
Douglas County Sheriff's Office
Sheriff Troy Wolbersen - captain
Douglas County Sheriff's Posse
Alexandria Police Department
Department of Natural Resources