The other day I received an email from my buddy and former roommate Jeff. In this email was a picture that took me to a time when a group of ten men overcame impossible odds and a biased officiating crew to join the immortal ranks of BYU-Idaho Intramural Flag Football Champions. (Queue flashback…)
I was but a young lad at the tender age of 23 in the Fall of 2003. Jeff, in his desperation to win an intramural championship and the coveted t-shirt trophy, was putting together teams in everything from flag football to bocce ball. Never having been interested in competitive bocce (I’m more of a recreational bocce aficionado), I signed up with his flag-football posse. Based on Jeff’s dream, we were aptly called “One Last Shot”.
After four games we had the pathetic 1-3 record and were getting roasted like chesnuts over an open fire. With the season half over, we clung to life support to make the playoffs, much less take the Crown. Murmuring swelled within the ranks. Mutiny seemed imminent. Thor, overseer of BYU-Idaho Intramural Athletics, smiled upon us with a fortuitously timed trip our leader/QB took to New Orleans. In the wake of his absence, three things transpired which altered the course of BYU-Idaho Intramural Flag Football history forever…or at least in 2003.
First, we started calling ourselves The Dragons – inspired by this dumb yet somehow hilarious StrongBad email – for how could we change our stars if we didn’t change our name? Plus it was shorter.
Second, one Tim Robbins of Billings, Montana, took the reigns as quarterback in Jeff’s absence and led us to a pair of resounding victories on the windy plains of battle to get our record up to .500.
Third, I devoted myself to tapping into the supreme authority; a conduit of knowledge so advanced in the ways of 7-on-7 football it had no rival: NFL Blitz 2000. I put aside all trivial pursuits – dating, showering, class, homework – and devoted myself to learning from this master teacher. In time I knew all the plays and was destroying Archie to the point he threw his controller and broke our lampshade in frustration.
A new name, a new quarterback and a new playbook, The Dragons were retooled and reenergized; the march towards destiny (aka, the playoffs) was underway. Destroying any who dared oppose us, we were titans of unstoppable power that feared no one. Quickly we rose through the ranks of our peers – if they could truly be called such - in our quest for glory.
Yet, as all legends before and those who strive for greatness since, we were faced with hardship. Tim had an elk hunting trip scheduled with his father prior to our season and as such, he would not be around for the semifinal game or the championship. Drawing from the well of belief deep within, we mustered together the strength to persevere. With Jake Curtis at the helm, we marched into battle.
Down in the semifinal game, I came up with an interception in the waning moments to give us a chance. That hairline fracture of hope was all we needed as with no time left, Jake plunged his lumbering 6’5” frame over the goal line for the victory.
In the championship game, we faced not only the brutally cold Rexburg winter, but the diabolical and scheming Intramural Staff. None had ever defeated this fiendish group in a championship game before, their ties with the officials running deep and true. For most of the game we languished in a sea of biased calls and heart wrenching miscues. But once again, the heart of champions fought on until, once again, Jake rumbled through snow and wind and sleet and hail and flesh-eating zombies for the final score without anytime remaining.
Now, these many years later, I raise my glass of ginger ale high and salute you, Dragons, for your courage, valor and commitment to each other. May our children and our children’s children, and our children’s children’s children and other people ever remember that it was we - when odds overwhelmed and critics crowed and idiots idiotted – that we overcame.
BACK (L-R): Jeff Sucher, Steve ?, ?, Mike Taylor, some freshman, Jake Curtis, Logan Roberts
FRONT (L-R): Nate Watson, Ben Johnson
SUPERIMPOSED (L&R): Tim Robbins