Decadence of Fire Tournaments
U. S. Phillips, of Chicago Heights, Ill., wrote a paper which was read at the recent Illinois Firemen’s Association meeting in which the following abstract appeared:
The present should show the results of the past and the past should furnish the experience to guide the future. The only conclusion which can be reached is that our tournament as now conducted is gradually but irresistibly losing its prestige and will be in time but a memory in the minds of those who once participated. Its passing is as inevitable as the substitution of the horse for the hand-drawn apparatus and the discarding of the horse for the motor apparatus. Interest in it will be artificially stimulated from time to time and in localities where its survival would be the fittest, but the life of it will be insidiously attacked by the gangrene of apathy until it finally yields. This is a gloomy picture for the future but let us turn the page of to-morrow and sec if the new day has some ray of hope. It will not do to let a good structure decay for the want of a little repair. One of the greatest essentials necessary for the success of any undertaking is the interest manifested in it. Departments will not participate unless they have that essential. Spectators will not patronize unless it is worth while. To interest our teams give them real competition and not pit them against poor old Father Time. To interest the spectator give him something to yell at, something he doesn’t need a program and pencil to figure out, but something he can see without glasses. Burn up a building erected for that purpose and let the teams fight it on merit; set a couple of bonfires and determine the relative merit of teams fighting them with chemicals; run the horse-drawn apparatus against horse-drawn and motor against motor with the men in action as they do now against time; pit a couple of teams against each other out in the field in a water fight; have the tournament for one or two days, (say Friday and Saturday) and fill the time full of something doing. If a man could not attend such a tournament, it would be because he was in a hospital. But the Association can bend its efforts to a better and more worthy object. The fighting of fire is becoming more of a science. What better then than to take notice of the trend of the age and lend a hand to the dissemination of a knowledge of that science? What better than for the Association to establish a school at which practical maneuvers, proper methods and proper use of tools and appliances can he taught? Such a school cotdd be established for a couple of days each summer and a tournament could be held in conjunction. Money spent with this object in view’ would be appreciated by both paid and volunteer departments and better still, each community would be benefitted by the increased effeciency of its department. If our tournaments as now conducted are discarded forever, the loss will not be felt as keenly as imagined. But something better should be devised to take their place in the future and the Association will benefit thereby.