No More Tackle Football: Matt Turns Thirty

matt-lex-allen-brad-harandi-bashMy best friend Matt (the brown guy in the picture to the left) turned 30 this weekend. He does a barbeque thing in the park every year that has become a tradition at this point. I try to make sure that I’m there every year, because these are some of the ugliest dudes I know, and so it gives me a much needed annual confidence boost.

We play various sports all day, talk shit, and eat burgers (and in my case: a veggie medley that naturally accompanies a last minute weight cut for some upcoming grappling tournament). I get a lot of crap for this. They are jealous of the fact that I belong to the elite club of people who have ever ordered a salad at a diner.

Tackle Football

For many years, the highlight of the day has been a game of tackle football. Naturally, this was the time and place for many of us to prove for recorded history that we can still hit hard and get hit no problem. This year we all collectively retired from this violent ritual and instead opted for the game of TOUCH football. This was also the first year a few of us actually stretched a little, trying to justify it as a sign of wisdom, not a sign of old age.

pete-allen-bags-dominationPictured right are my other two buddies Pete and Allen. I put this picture up because most of the competitive spirit that was usually reserved for tackle football was channeled into the game of bags. We did a 16+ man tournament that Pete and I won. Every team pretty much had a good person and a shitty person. I was the shitty person on my team, Pete doing the bulk of the actual winning. But because no one expected anything from me, the rare times I scored were a much celebrated event. Since it has become such a tradition, all the guys got together to shop custom football uniforms and now we look legit!

 

At the Dog Park

rex-matts-dogThe other thing I noticed is that everyone (single or married) now had kids or dogs or both. Rex (pictured left) is Matt’s 16 month old fierce animal. He was probably 5 times smaller than any of the other dogs in the dog park, but in his mind he was the alpha. This is inspirational to me on many levels, in life and in sport. Off the battlefield, he is a sweet guy and fun to play with. Also, has a one track mind when it comes to food: he likes it all. My dog, Homer (at 200+ lbs), was very picky about the kind of things he liked to eat. Him and Rex would make a good eating couple.

Epic Ping Pong Battle

Continuing with the theme of unmanly sports, I got to video the end of a ridiculously competitive (and somehow fun) game of run-around-the-ping-pong-table. Allen and Pete were the last two remaining “competitors”. Both of them took off one of their shirts, which for old people is a big deal:

It was good to see everyone. I love these folks. I’ve known most of them for 17+ years, and they really haven’t changed a bit.

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