Senior Writer, Blogger.com Sports
National Old Guys Flag Football Association
"Is that him?"
The question hung in the air as the small group of old guys stopped warming up and looked toward the figure emerging from the parking lot. They squinted their eyes against the Saturday morning sun as it hovered low against the horizon.
"Yep, that's gotta be him."
Him was Greg Sherwood. The prodigal son had returned to Greensboro.
Like the prodigal son in the New Testament, Sherwood returned from Seattle smelling as if he had "filled his belly with the husks that swine did eat." He was also penniless, having squandered his entire inheritance at a recent yard sale. Despite all of this, his forgiving friends greeted him with smiles and bro-hugs, excited to play once again with their pal whose absence still leaves a void in Greensboro the size of a Chinese sink hole.
Well, almost everybody was happy to see Sherwood again.
"Honestly, I really don't see what the big deal is," said Gordon in a completely made-up interview that never happened. "I live in the present and look forward to the future. Dwelling on the past is for people like Uncle Rico and Grandpa Simpson, not for playas like me. That's all Greg is - part of the past. Now out of my way while I go torch these chumps."
Ben, on the other hand, was more welcoming. "I've always liked Greg," the former Marine said in his imaginary interview. "I mean, the guy had a moving company come in and pack up his stuff. A moving company! Now that's a friends for life right there."
"It's really great to be back in the 'hood," said Sherwood in a fabricated conversation. "The people in Seattle are just..." he paused, searching for a diplomatic word, "...just more laid back. The cloudy weather and lack of an NBA team makes for a pretty depressing environment. I miss the gritty toughness of my boys in the 27407. I miss the fist fights, the shouting matches, the home-made prison shanks." His voice started to quiver and he wiped away a tear as he wistfully reminisced about everything he left behind in North Carolina.
Then the football began.
Thick droplets of dew clung to the grass like Aqua Net on Bret Michaels' hair in a late 1980's music video. Quarterbacks had no rush and plenty of time to find receivers in the 3-on-3 match-ups. The final score was approximately 98-84, with Team B vanquishing Team A. The only problem was players rotated between both teams, making each person a winner and a loser, a concept that was hard for several to come to terms with.
"Second place is the first loser, and you can quote me on that," said Michael, allegedly. "I have that motto tattooed on my chest and make my kids repeat it every night before bed and every morning when they wake up. I was a winner and a loser today. I'm both proud of myself, and disgusted with myself."
The play on the field was sloppier than a Messy Marvin show-and-tell and only got worse as the morning progressed and the aging players wore down. That happened after about three minutes.
Coach Holmes, a master on-field tactician, saw room for improvement on both sides of the ball. "Offensively, our quarterback play was too inconsistent. Accuracy and floated passes were an issue all day, which led to the high number of interceptions. Defensively, there was no pass rush at all. Our secondary got beat deep too often and failed to keep their men in front of them. We'll have a good film session on Monday and incorporate a few fixes in our two-a-day on Tuesday. We will learn from this and just keep taking things one game at a time."
Red's attorney declined our interview requests, stating his client does not comment about pending legal actions.
History was made when Andrea entered the game late in the fourth quarter, making her the first half-Mexican female to ever play in the NOGFFA. Her first throw turned into an 80-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Michael. "Is that all there is too it?" Andrea gloated, taunting the defense after her first score. She was quickly humbled on the next two plays as Michael (now on defense) batted down her second pass then intercepted her third throw for a pick-six. Andrea led her team to another score on her third possession, hooking up with her husband (tee hee hee) for a deep TD on fifth down.
But the biggest story was Gordon. He simply dominated every facet of the game. On offense he consistently got behind the secondary for long touchdowns. Defensively he had a handful of interceptions, many returned for scores.
Not surprisingly, Gordon was named the game's MVP.
But his sudden explosiveness did not pass the smell test with his opponents.
"Gordon's play today was sure surprising. Very, very surprising," said one anonymous source (It was Jeremy). "I don't want to make any accusations here, but we all know the NOGFFA doesn't test for steroids or HGH. I'm not necessarily saying Gordon's on the juice, but, I mean, come on!"
Greg was less diplomatic. "Gordon's blood probably looks like a mixture of Barry Bonds', Lance Armstrong's, Ben Johnson's, and Alex Rodriguez's, mixed with a quart of antifreeze." When asked if he was implying that Gordon is using performance-enhancing drugs, Greg got right to the point. "I'm not implying Gordon's dirty, I'm declaring Gordon's dirty. We all know who and what Gordon is. He's a cheater. Print it!"
When told of Greg's comments, Gordon just smiled and kissed his shiny MVP trophy.
"Greg is who we though he is," replied Gordon, shaking his head. "Like I said, he's in my past, and I'm looking to the future."
As the sun radiated off Gordon's trophy, his future appeared to be very bright, indeed.