When we read that a pre-Regatta tradition included a waterball fight on Main Street in historic downtown Madison, Indiana, we didn’t know what to expect. I imagined water balloons or some kind of squishy ball like you throw around in a pool. I wondered if spectators would be forced into participation.
What we found was a completely different concept all together.
Here’s a taste of Madison’s Waterball fight to enjoy yourself:
It’s surprisingly exciting, given that the obvious action is the movement of the ball. But you find yourself starting to become sideline experts, wanting companies to swap their front man or their back-up nozzle man, in favor of someone shorter, taller, leaner, stronger, anything that you think might sway the outcome.
The announcers reminded the audience that the fight was taking place in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse, which burned down in 2009. It was a great way to thank all these volunteers for their service in protecting the community, putting their own lives at risk.
I have friends who are firemen, and I really can’t imagine the kind of dedication and endurance it takes to do a mostly thankless job, witnessing tragedy and hoping, always hoping to make the saves that count, the ultimate reward.
I did feel bad for all the young pageant winners who were baking in full sun for the hours-long event, but hopefully the spray of water and wind from the hoses kept them a little cool. But seriously, perhaps an awning from the judges’ truck for them next year…?
It was evident from the crowds that these Jefferson County natives really appreciate their firemen.
Perhaps the best part of all is the excitement from the children. Whether they’re watching their heroes, or just playing in the water, this will get tucked away in their favorite memories.
And really, does life ever get any better than the singular joy found in playing in a puddle?
I was so happy that not only did I learn what a Waterball Fight is, I once again ran into my favorite, FAVORITE Madisonian, Jack Bird. He was there rooting on his local company and taking photos of his friends. He’ll probably give me a mock scowl for putting up his photo again, but I can’t help it. In some ways, Jack Bird IS Madison, for me.
In the end, while trophies were waiting, winning wasn’t the point. The point was the fight, the endurance, the public relations and the camaraderie.