Our five greatest flag football moments

The Cheese Fry spent its early 30s in an almost weekly quest to cause bodily injury in a pathetic attempt to recapture lost youth by pretending to be a football player. Even with the flags and a no-tackle rule, these Culver City-Santa Monica-based contests were brutal. Players went to the hospital, broke bones, suffered permanent disfigurement, and endured a week of Advil consumption to recover for the next weekend contest. At one point we were wearing not one, but two knee braces.

If there were a highlight tape of the Cheese Fry's greatest moments, this is what would be included:

1. The Mud Bowl. Imagine a soggy soccer field, more puddles than mud. Imagine pouring rain. Imagine players wearing heavy, stretched, wet clothes streaked with mud. Now imagine the Cheese Fry as the only player wearing cleats. It was an afternoon that made us feel like Barry Sanders, planting and cutting, juking and jiving. You can't catch me not because I'm good, but because you're stuck in flat-soled sneakers. We will never forget the glory of this performance.

2. Thanksgiving Overmatch. A crisp Thanksgiving morning, a bigger crowd that usual. Probably six-on-six. Because of the way the schoolyard pick went down, the Cheese Fry wound up being covered by a very short, very confused gentleman. He didn't know much about football. The result wasn't pretty. We dominated the Short Confused Guy without mercy.

3. Heatstroke Fly. Griffith Park on a hot summer day. First play from scrimmage. A fly on the right sideline. The Cheese Fry sprinted, blew past the defender, got open. The ball dropped perfectly. The Cheese Fry doesn't usually catch balls over the shoulder very well. But that afternoon, we got the ball and didn't break stride. Boom. Touchdown. Cut to ten minutes later as the Cheese Fry suffered what was surely a heatstroke. But it was worth it. Right?

4. The Perfect Throw. The Cheese Fry would never claim to be a good passer. It takes a tricky combination of eye-hand coordination, spatial geometry, and fast thinking to get the ball where it needs to go. Frankly, we're terrible. But one throw sticks in our memory because it was so instinctual and so flawless. And never to be repeated again. It was a moment where, as they say, "the game slowed down." With a defender in our face rushing, we delivered a strike (on a rope) through two defender's outstretched hands and planted it right in the belly of a slanting receiving. Poetry in motion.

5. Our Favorite Play. We loved this call - typically called at the goal line as one player drew it our on the T-shirt of another player - because it almost always worked. Why? Because the Cheesy Fry is so very slow, but in possession of soft hands. If we can get open, we'll make the catch, coach. While two receivers slant over the top, we drag across underneath. In the confusion of the crossing pattern, we almost always got a step on the defender, got open, and made the catch. Score.

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