Meet-Cute: Freshman Flag-Football

The true story of how I met my friend Danny.

We were playing football in Lindley’s third period co-ed sports class. The first few days of the year had gone by without incident; that should have been our first hint that something was going to happen. The weather was bright and cheery, so we went outside to enjoy the last few weeks of clarity before the winter storms hit. After one lap around the track we were divided into six small teams, and the football field was divided into three mini-fields. Thinking nothing of it, we all walked to our assigned field sections and began our separate games.

Joe is tall, six feet and two inches at age 15. He is a natural athlete and doesn’t lack in any sporting ability. He was on the other team, and he had the ball. All my teammates had already tried in vain to pull his flag, and this athletic giant was heading my way. I had to at least try! I began to run with my hand stretched out toward his flag. I was so close! I didn’t see my fellow teammate, Danny, on Joe’s other side, and Danny could not see me. Danny is not a big guy, but he is both taller and heavier than I am, and adding speed to a running jump, well…. I’m not sure what happened after that, though I have many eye-witness accounts.

Danny and I both reached for Joe’s flag, but Joe seeing the both of us jumped from in-between, more from athletic instinct than conscious thought. With Joe’s split-second escape, Danny and I had no time to register each other’s existence; Danny was airborne and I was running too fast to stop. In short, we collided.

I woke up on the itchy, fake, green grass of the football field about thirty seconds after the hit. Half of the gym class was standing over me. My glasses were found about a foot or two away- broken. My head was pounding and my stomach rolling. I had a concussion, and Danny was not without injury, he too was curled on the ground in pain. Though he had something soft to land on (me!) he got, and I quote exactly, “an elbow to the neck and a knee to the goods.”

I’m often told as we look back on it, that it was a classic America’s Funniest Home Videos moment. “You were here on Joe’s right” they would say with a hand jester, “and Danny was over here on Joe’s left” they’d say with another. “Then suddenly Joe was here and you and Danny are over here!” they would show this with a jumping motion followed by clapping their two hands and throwing them off to the side. “And to make things better” they’d continue, “is that Joe still go the touchdown!”

Danny was in my next class period, which he spent apologizing rather than listening to our lesson about river systems and settlements. From that day on we were great friends- cemented in the perfect meet-cute.

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