It wouldn’t seem that a team of retirees would stand a chance in a contest of hand-eye coordination against a much younger, more athletic squad. However, Sparks firefighters had their hands full playing the BBB’s of The Villas in a tournament of bean bag baseball.
“They’ve got jerseys and apparently they practice three times a week,” said firefighter Jarrod Stewart, who coordinates the department’s charitable activities.
The friendly competition was an effort by the firefighters to interact with residents who otherwise only get to see public safety personnel during matters of life or death. Stewart said the residents of The Villas retirement community regularly show their gratitude toward firefighters and paramedics by inviting them for barbecues and water gun fights and other fun activities.
“It helps with their morale a lot especially since they see us on a nearly daily basis especially if you include all three care facilities on Prater Way,” Steward said of the elderly residents.
The Villas is an independent living community located at 1900 E. Prater Way that is home to about 80 residents and a team of very accurate bean bag tossers.
The game entails tossing bean bags into holes representing hits, fouls and strikes. Each “batter” has a turn at the plate — a line roughly 15 feet from the target holes — and can get anything from a strikeout to a home run. While the firefighters came dressed in various department shirts and uniforms, the BBB’s sported menacing yellow and black jerseys and the occasional cane and oxygen tank. But any physical setbacks didn’t stop them as the seniors smoked the firefighters in the first game by a score of 10-1.
“That usually happens but after that they settle down,” said 87-year-old Eve Emerson shortly after tossing a two-run home run to put her team on top 9-1.
Not to be outdone, 63-year-old Beulah McDermott followed with a triple and 82-year-old Isabelle “Izzy” Vernon tripled her home.
Though the two squads occupied opposing sides of the field, there was a camaraderie among the competitors and everyone cheered each other on.
“Is there any testing for banned substances in this league?” firefighter Scott Bryant asked jokingly.