Written by Phil Cerroni
By Jess Paniszczyn
The Las Colinas Polo Fields were a hotbed of activity during the Raising Cane’s Recreational Cash Turkey Bowl held on Nov. 17. Unlike most of the competitions seen by these fields, there was not a horse or mallet in sight. Thirty-six teams competed in a five on five touch football tournament for a $1,000 grand prize.
“In the flag football tournament, we have eight fields playing at once. Teams mostly from North Texas are playing, but there are teams from Oklahoma, Louisiana and East Texas here also,” said coordinator Dennis Freels, owner of FlagFootballX.com. “Flag football is huge, a lot of people play. We have over 100 teams playing every Sunday in leagues. The leagues are five weeks long, so they play four weeks and the fifth week is playoffs.
“Texas is probably the biggest hotbed for flag football in the nation. But there is a lot going on in California, Florida and along the East Coast. It is very popular.
“This is Texas where football is king. Most of these guys probably played football in high school and college. They probably can’t find any closure, so flag football is the only thing that gets them through the week.
“Unlike traditional football, this sport is non-contact, so we don’t have to worry about getting hurt. All these guys have to go to work on Monday, so they don’t want to spend time in the hospital. Real football is a whole other world. In fact, real football players will come out here and try to play this, but they can’t really compete. These players use a lot of hip movement and pitching. In real football, you just run right over somebody.”
Organizing the Playstation team for the day, Sayyad Dixon plays flag football for the love of the game.
“I’ve been playing flag football for 20 years, and I like everything about it,” Dixon said. “It is an adrenaline rush. I’ve been winning for a long time, and today I’m playing with a bunch of guys who are new. I know the game, and I know where to put them.
“Flag football is better than real football, because there aren’t as many people on the field. The more people you have, the more confusion you have. With fewer people, you can use the talents of each person more. If everyone plays their position, everything goes together right.”
Quarterback Patrick Alley played with the Freaks during the tournament.
“I’m a veteran here,” Alley said. “I’ve been playing about 16 years. I played football at SMU, but I like this better because you are not going to get hurt, and it is still competitive. There are a lot of guys out here who played college football at a lot of different schools.
“Flag football offers good exercise, competition and friendship. It’s a lot of fun, you can’t beat it.
“People should try it out and play. But they should play more than once, so they can get used to the rules.”