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I had a day to myself a couple of weekends ago. Everyone else in the house was involved in “girl” things, so they probably weren't going to be back for several hours.

I had control of the kingdom, so I decided to get out the popcorn and watch a movie. My choice was a Roman epic in which gladiators did battle. I can't recall the exact plot, but it was really the action I craved anyway. Warriors were riding their chariots through the countryside. They swung their swords and mauls, created mayhem amongst the common folks and the captives, and had fun.

That was until the king took charge. With the country on the edge of open revolt, he needed a way to eliminate his rivals. He ordered 100 seasoned competitors to line up on one side of a jampacked arena. Then he placed the rest of the area's up-and-coming contenders on the other side

It was a simple plan. He had singled out these 100 because of their drive and tenacity to get to the top. They had fought many battles starting from the smallest arenas, and through all of the wars, had made it to the top. Now it was their turn to bask in the glory and to receive the crowd's praise.

But as he was about to blow the horn starting the elimination battle, the sentry called. The kingdom was under attack from the neighboring king. United by a common enemy, the 100 united with their lesser brethren to keep their land free.

The scene reminds me of the top 100 concrete producers you can find in this year's TCP 100 list. These producers didn't spill blood, but their employees who manned their chariots of steel, hydraulics, and rubber and guarded their plants from the ravishings of outsiders, sweated just as hard.

Producers' own battles

These 100 fought their way through the mud when starting a new condominium project in the spring. They matched wits in the field with finishers and contractors whenever they arrived at a jobsite. They swung their chutes and water hoses for as long as it took to unload, clean up, and get back on the road for another delivery.

In Caesar's time, the king with the most chariots, warriors, and soldiers was on top in his region. In our time, the company with the fastest plants, the best equipment, and the best-trained employees is able to control market share.

I believe our own kingdom is under attack. Rather than attack each other on pricing and such stuff, isn't it time to go after our common enemies? Just imagine uniting everyone against steel and plastic. Then we could go after stick homes, and...

Despite all of the action, I fell asleep sometime during the movie. I dreamed of a front-discharge ready-mix truck while dressed in full armor and towing a chariot filled with bags of fibers, pails of retarder, and a roll of wire heading toward a new home construction site when the door opened.

When the girls saw me reclined on the chair looking comfortable, they accused me of wasting an afternoon. I had my reply ready. I told them I was doing some historical research for my column.

jimambrose@aol.com