Civil Wars

Cops and firefighters take a beating

FRI 4/2

If your job description included diving into burning buildings or tackling armed felons, you'd probably need more than a cold beer and a sitcom to help you unwind at the end of the day. Police officers and firefighters lead stressful lives -- danger can come from any direction at any moment -- so it's little surprise that their idea of taking a breather from work involves getting in the boxing ring to pummel the hell out of each other. This Friday, the 911 Games kick off with the annual HFD-HPD boxing match. Also known as "Guns and Hoses," the 911 Games are the fire-and-police Olympics, with events like archery, skeet shooting, poker and basketball happening throughout April. (The 911 originally referred to the emergency phone number, though the civil service nod to the 9/11 attacks has melded into the name.) The events have now grown so popular that they attract members of the national brotherhoods of police and fire. HFD member Michael Braun notes that the fire department is aiming for its third victory in the past four years over the five-0. Some people, it seems, just have a different way of relaxing. 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 2. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, call 713-495-7922 or visit www.ci.houston.tx.us/hfd/firefighters/911games.html. $15 to $25. -- Eric Norvell

Flights of Fancy

There are other birds in Galveston besides those seagulls who so kindly redecorated your new car. At this weekend's FeatherFest, you can join the novice and expert ornithologists who will be tromping around the island and neighboring marshlands. These ecotourists take their, um, sport very seriously and will gladly spend a whole day hoping for a glimpse of a pair of least grebes or red-cockaded woodpeckers. Myriad birding field trips are scheduled, ranging from four-hour guided tours of Galveston bird-watching locales to a kayaking trip at Galveston Island State Park. And seminars cover everything from nesting habits to dragonflies -- hey, a bird has to eat, you know. Thursday, April 1, through Sunday, April 4. Various locations in Galveston. For a full schedule, call 409-762-3930 or visit www.galvestonfeatherfest.com. $10 to $50. -- Greg Barr

 
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