Football is Life
IT STARTED AS A DARE from my shrink, of all people. “Join the LA flag football team,” she said, herself a former collegiate athlete. “I think it will be a good way for you to socialize and meet new people.” She had a point. Life as an independent fitness professional can be social but is often quite solitary. “You’ll do great,” she predicted, and I left the office thinking about the dare, something I’d actually considered for more than 10 years, since I first became aware of the league while lining up sponsorships for the 2002 Gay Games in Sydney, Australia.
A few days later, quietly sitting in my office after hours, I decided to accept her challenge. I registered online with the Los Angeles Flag Football league as a “free agent,” not aligning myself to any particular team, essentially allowing the powers that be to “draft me.” I was quickly drafted to the Long Beach team. Initially I was designated a rusher, but now I am a blocker on the offense.
I’ve been so busy learning how to play the game itself, and all of the shorthand lingo (which comes so naturally to my fellow players) that I can barely draw any parallels to life—yet. But I’m sure they will come to me as I continue to show up for our Saturday games. One thing I can say about my experience is that it opened up something within me. Accepting my therapist’s challenge and joining the team broke down a wall and offered a new and different path for me to follow.