Hey, that’s not my flag belt | AspenTimes.com

Hey, that’s not my flag belt

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times

It's football season, and every year at this time, I get a message from a couple of old friends of mine who love to recall the infamous day our college flag-football team won a local tournament.

I'm not sharing this tale to brag, but there was one unique play that not only inspired us to win the game but also became our rallying point and is now an urban legend of sorts. Well, at least it's an urban legend with my former teammates.

We were playing the first game of the tournament at a complex that had three football fields lined up side by side. We were playing on the middle field with only a handful of friends watching, including three young women who were the official scorekeepers.

I was our starting tailback, and some would say I was pretty fast back then. We received the kickoff, and after one play, I told our quarterback I could outrun the guy covering me, so give me the ball.

The very next play, the quarterback pitched the ball to me as I took off to my left. Sure enough, I started to run away from the closest defender. As I turned the corner, there was about 70 yards of green field in front of me with no defenders.

But before I could pull away from the guy chasing me, he lunged and grabbed my flag belt, or so he thought.

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Back then, our flag-football uniforms consisted of cleats, socks, jock supporter, shorts, a team jersey and a belt with two Velcro-attached flags.

The defender didn't actually grab my flag belt; he missed and actually grabbed my supporter and shorts and didn't let go. As I looked back, I saw the defender with a disgusted look on his face as he realized he was holding my jock strap and shorts and dropped them immediately.

That's when I realized I was running down the sideline fully exposed from the waist down. I looked to my left, and the three young women keeping score were probably in shock, but one was covering her eyes, one was covering her mouth, and the other appeared to be covering her ears.

I looked back to make sure nobody was chasing me, and all I saw were guys laughing hysterically. I looked for cover, but being on the middle field, there was none. I just held the football in front of my private parts and kept running for a touchdown.

One of my teammates grabbed my torn shorts and used them like a rally flag the rest of the day, waving them whenever we needed a big play. I ended up borrowing someone's sweatpants and continued to play the rest of the game.

I don't remember much about the rest of the tournament, except we won. I was given the most valuable player award for the day, but I'm quite sure I didn't earn it for my outstanding overall play but rather for giving everyone a unique football story to share for the rest of their lives.