Isaiah Saint Hilaire
If you look out on the rec field Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday night over the past few weeks, you would notice that the flag football season is well underway. The sport’s generates enough signups to force teams to be split into three different leagues for the regular season. This week I had the chance to speak to some of the players on a few of the Tuesday night teams. I came across many of the different players throughout the flag football team and they seemed to all enjoy the cool, calm and collected environment of simply playing a game. It was really good to see students enjoying the company of fellow students and playing a game that they all attributed as a “stress reliever” after taking exams or doing a pretty decent amount of work throughout the week.
One of the players, a freshman named Jerel Martin who described how the why these nights playing football is valuable to him. Jerel expressed that he enjoyed coming out to play football and meeting new people. He said he also enjoyed “relieving stress from a stressful week” which really inclined him to sign up to play football. Though he said he never played football back in high school, that he always was a “backyard type of guy”,playing more for pleasure than anything else, which is one of the reasons he did not want to play club football. Because he does not want to always play to win. He wants to simply have fun. Jerel was one of the many players who expressed how he simply has the desire to enjoy himself on the gridiron by saying “I just love sweating it out and enjoying myself after a crazy week of school.
During the night, I also spoke with another freshman named Hezekiah Hicks. Hezekiah expressed to me that one of the staff members of the athletic department, Sam Barkley, mentioned to Hezekiah that he was attempting to get a football team together in order to play in flag football team. Sam had the team together but he wanted Hezekiah to become the captain of the team. That enabled Hezekiah to pick and drop what players he wanted and did not want. Hezekiah decided to choose many of his friends and they were able to play their first game this past Tuesday night, October 4th. Hezekiah said that they had a pretty big team and that they had many substitutions because of the sheer number of players they have. Hezekiah mentioned he did not play football in high school and also mentioned that just like Jerel, “club flag football to me is about getting away from the hectic week and just having fun.”
Another player was a freshman named Cameron Mitchell who told me that he also enjoyed playing football for fun. Cameron told me he played on the defensive side of the ball, and he would guard wide receivers as he was a defensive back. He also mentioned that he played another position in high school on defense, he played safety. He ensured that none of the wide receivers of the opposing team would get passed him by staying far towards the opponent’s end zone, eliminating any big plays for the opposing team. He currently plays free safety for the club flag football team and enjoys being what is called a “ball hawk.” That is a defensive player who intercepts the ball from the opposing team many times which gives him the reputation of not allowing touchdowns. Just like Jerel and Hezekiah, Cameron expressed that he did not want to play competitively, he just wanted to continue to play for fun which is why he joined the flag football team.
I spoke to one more freshman on the team named Jordan Kimball. He had just intercepted a pass and was tackled out of bounds when the opponent is simply supposed to detach their flags. I asked Jordan about how he truly felt about that tackle and his response to me was he was simply “not worried about it” and said he wanted to just have fun. Flag football and intramural sports in general were built for players such as Jordan and the others to just have fun and relieve stress from the insanity that goes on throughout an average week in college. It will be interesting to see how much of difference it makes for these players as they continue to “sweat it out” on the turf.