They fight crime, battle blazes––and also play a very good game of football, soccer, dodgeball, rugby and even excel at wrist-wrestling.
The 2011 World Police and Fire Games open in New York City this weekend and until–Sept. 5 across the five boroughs.
This is the first time the games will be held on the East Coast––and New York was chosen as the host city out of respect to the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
As the organizers explain, two themes take precedence: “Remembrance (we will always remember those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001), and Gratitude (an opportunity for all New Yorkers to thank the world for the support that flooded into New York City after Sept. 11, 2001).”
The stats are impressive––up to 20,000 full-time firefighters and law enforcement personnel from 70 different countries competing in 69 sports. And by sports, we’re talking everything, from the conventional (baseball, track and field) to the less so (dragon boat racing, lawn bowling). Some of the competitions are better than an episode of “COPS”––witness Ultimate Firefighter, Police Service Dog and lots of pistol and rifle target practice.
Guided by the spirit of 9/11, this year’s event is as much about sports as it is solidarity.