Last weekend, Pittsburgh tricked us into thinking winter was over by giving us consecutive 70 degree days. This included a spectacular 78 degree day on Saturday; the memory of which makes the 29 degree morning we're currently experiencing particularly cruel. Fuck you, Pittsburgh.
Fortunately, Saturday also happened to be the day a flag football game was scheduled to be played, organized by a group of bougie Black Pittsburghers (and former Pittsburghers who happened to be in town that weekend). Approximately 30 people showed up, and fun was had by all. And by "all" I mean "most." Because some people are competitive assholes who don't really consider this type of experience to be super fun unless his team wins. And by "some people" I mean "me."
Anyway, I know you all are thinking the same thing: Damon, what are the dos and don'ts of playing coed flag football with a bunch of Bougie Black People? Let's see.
Do make sure you choose an area that has suitable seating arrangements
If you're playing with a group of Bougie Black People, assume that at least 20% of the people who show up will be there just to watch. Some will bring dogs, some will bring iPads, some will bring lobster salad (???), and all will be there because "being somewhere where other Bougie Black People happen to be" is the Bougie Black Person's favorite activity.
Do make sure this suitable seating arrangement has some sort of shade
Because, Black people.
Do have a "silent auction" when choosing teams
Although just choosing teams the way you do when playing any other sport is the most efficient, things have to be altered a bit when dealing with a bunch of adults with Audi-sized egos. Basically, even though some people are very obviously going to be the last picks, that information doesn't need to be broadcast to everyone. Because people get in their feelings. And when Bougie Black People get in their feelings, they go on Facebook and post and tag the most unflattering pictures of other people possible. So, choose captains, and have those captains have a private conversation where they choose the teams.
Don't be Lebron
If you do happen to be one of the captains, make sure the teams are even. Although it might be tempting to choose all the people you know can catch and run and Crossfit and shit, The Dream Team vs All The People Who Kept Falling On The Dance Floor At The Last NSBE Conference Semi-Formal won't be any fun for anyone.
If you're a captain and your wife happens to be there, do make sure to make her the first woman you choose on your team
But, if you don't choose her first because there's another woman there who's basically a flag football semi-pro and you want to make sure she's on your team, do make sure to make your wife the second woman you pick. Also, do make sure to lead her to believe she was the first woman you picked.
Don't not compete, but don't be too competitive
Because of the, um, "athletic diversity" present when bringing a bunch of Bougie Black People together, you're going to have some people running post patterns and devising zone blitzes…and some people checking texts and taking selfies while they're supposed to be blocking the zone blitz. Optimally, you find the happy medium where you're competing to win while also realizing that it's really not all that serious.
Do be self-aware
If you've never thrown a football more than 15 yards without it looking like a headless duck, now is not the time to demand to be quarterback. If the last time you sprinted was for a bus in 2012 (and you missed it), now is not the time to decide to guard the chick who ran the 200 and 400 in college. If your hands are basically just another pair of feet, now is not the time to run fly patterns and call for the ball.
Don't be creepy. Just grab the damn flag
You know that guy who always seems to grab and wrestle the women carrying the football when just grabbing the damn flag is easier and more appropriate? And the chick who, instead of grabbing the damn flag, always seems to do eggplant checks? Don't be those people. Just grab the damn flag
If single, do use this as an opportunity meet potential prospects. Don't, however, flirt so openly that every. single. person. there can see you doing it
You really can't create a better environment for vetting potential mates. Where else are you going to see how self-important they happen to be, how competitive/sportsmanlike they happen to be, and how in-shape they happen to be all at one time? How else are you going to see that some guy you're interested in has never caught a ball before in his life, which probably means he never played any sports, which means he probably missed out on a huge socialization process for American males, which means your dad and brothers will definitely hate him? Where else are you going to see that the woman you've been talking to gets all annoyed and pouty after chipping a nail, which probably means she's a humorless drag, which means your dad and brothers and mom and sisters will definitely hate her?
Oh, and everyone's wearing athletic gear, so you can, um, see things you wouldn't normally see.
Still, while the opportunities are obvious, don't make your attempt at taking advantage of these opportunities too obvious. Because everyone will notice. And it'll make everyone awkward. And then everyone will secretly start referring to you as The Thirstmonster or Thirstin Howl or Thirsty McThot or Thirstin Fried Rice.
Do have fun
Especially if you're in Pittsburgh. Because this might be the last time you see this many Black people at the same time in six months.
(Image via Danese Kenon)