T is our quarterback on our league teams.

He can throw an absolute bullet with a tight spiral that will take your hands off and he can dissect defenses with the best of them. But he’s also got some shake and bake to him, so if he takes off running he can make people look foolish.

His one drawback is on defense when he plays safety. He’ll line up with the front line defenders near the line of scrimmage but he doesn’t have the make-up speed he imagines he has, so he’ll often get burned deep. I’m no burner, so I can’t really complain, but still…

T’s a gamer; both as a football player and in the realm of video games. You wouldn’t know it by looking at him but he’s a major fan of online role playing games.

Cast–Open Source

Open Source is called that because of her enthusiasm for often arcane open source technology. Linux, ogg, bit torrent, whatever. If it’s free technology and difficult to use, she’s probably all for it.

Open Source plays on our co-ed league football teams. She’s a tall and very athletic woman and that’s great for us because what separates the men from the boys, so to speak (cough cough) among co-ed league teams is the talent of your women players. We’ve always had great women players and Open Source is certainly one of them.

She’s got great hands and a strong arm too, so she can play quarterback if need be. She’s also a little slow, but so are we all and it’s not much of a liabilty where she’s concerned. She does, however, love to argue and will take every opportunity to do so if it involves the rules of the game, and that doesn’t always sit too well with the refs.

The arguing doesn’t stop when she steps off the field, either. Open Source likes arguement for argument’s sake. I do too, so I find her great entertainment. But I’ve learned that not everyone does like to argue and I’m not quite so sure Open Source full understands that yet.

From what I’ve seen, she’s an absolutely superb mother. She loves her sports as much as I do, yet she does not think twice about missing her games so she can attend her son’s events.


Chef is The Veteran‘s cousin and is indeed a chef. He’s an ordinary, down-to-earth kind of guy who is usually the focal point of any room in which he happens to find himself. He is at ease with himself and, as a reult, is at ease with others.

He likes to have a good time and whoever is with him usually has a good time as well. The good things that define his version of good times are friends, food, fermented beverages, and f***ing.

Chef is the brother of Fearful Flyer and happily for everyone involved, applies his culinary expertise to her birthday bash that she holds at a St. Paul Saints game every year.

Cast–Fearful Flyer

Fearful Flier is The Veteran‘s cousin and sister to Chef. She is not a librarian though she went to school to become one and as a result, is the first person to turn to when you need to track down an elusive fact or piece of knowledge.

The fact that she has a command of knowledge and knows where to look for the knowledge she does not have, gives her a natural advantage over pretty much everyone.

She started her own business so she could work on her own terms and from home where she can care for her three children. Her husband is an Irish playwright who is as equally imposing in stature as he is understated in conversation.

I first met Fearful Flyer on a project we both worked on and for which we fly to New York. It was on this trip that I discovered that she was afraid of flying. I’d never been on a plane trip with someone who feared flying, so it made a lasting impression on me.

The flight to New York was not so bad for her but the flight back was indeed. While explaining that she uisually didn’t drink, she insisted that we go to the bar before our flight left, which I was perfectly happy to do. We had a few drinks and were on our way.

Fearful Flyer got increasingly anxious as the plane waited to taxi. She was visibly upset as the jet revved its engines, took off down the runway, and took to the air. Once airborne, she calmed down a bit.

Sometime into the flight, however, we ran into turbulence–a thunderstorm–and as lightening struck outside our window the plane was buffeted about, she began to shake and murmur "Oh, my God."

I tried to talk to her and tell her everything would be alright and engage her in conversation to keep her mind off of the storm but really, what could I ultimately do to effectively assuage her fears? Not much. Not much at all.

Needless to say, we arrived safely and I’m sure she still fears flying.

Every year, Feaful Flyer throws herself a birthday bash that is one of the events of the season. She throws it at a Saint Paul Saints game. Everyone arrives early for tailgating that features fantastic food by her brother Chef and beer. Saints games are always entertaining and afterwards we usually end up at The Half Time Rec. So her birthdays are always a full day of food and fun.

Cast–Surfer Dude

Surfer Dude, not surprisingly, is from California. It is not for that reason alone that I call him Surfer Dude: He actually does surf.

He’s also a talented photographer–and videographer–and happily makes his own video highlight reels of his surfing, something I’d love to be able to do for my football games.

I met him at one of The Veteran‘s parties and overheard them talking about playing football. He’s a very talented football player. He’s fast but deceptively so because he’s got a compact build, more of a running back than a wide reciever.

He moved from California where he worked at some Hollywood studios doing animation to Minnesota to set up his own animation shop with Pixel Grrrl. I’ve admitted to them both that I’ve got a serious case of professional envy because I love animation.

From Minnesota he moved to Chicago and from there he moved to Orlando where he now works at one of the leading video game companies.

Surfer Dude smartly uses organized city football leagues as a means of meeting new people in a new city.

But he didn’t have much of a chance to play football shortly after he moved to Orlando because about a week and a half after me moved there the first of four major hurricanes hit Florida; the eyes of two of them passed over Orlando.

One night while he was in Minnesota, we stood for about a half hour outside a bar so he could watch an oncoming violent thunderstorm, a phenomenon he didn’t get much of a chance to see in sunny California.

In Orlando, not only did Surfer Dude get plenty of opportunities to sate his hunger for inclement weather, he also got plenty of practice at hurricane preperation and he got to snap pictures of the resulting damage.


Grover was The Veteran‘s best man. They’ve been buddies since childhood and the stories of thie deeds and misdeeds are seemingly endless.

He got his nickname because, as a kid, he he did a flawless imitation of Grover on the Sesame Street television show.

When I first started hanging with The Veteran, he said that I had to meet Grover because we had a lot in common and have the same sense of humor. We do.

Like Grover, I’m amused by the unexpected and the inappropriate. When I’m listening to a formal speech by, say, a politician, I often make up alternate and inappropriate speeches for him that end with his audience stunned into silence. Like Grover, I’m a news addict. I must know what’s going on in the world (though, I admit, I’ve lost a great deal of interest since Bush was reelected) and constantly have cable news as a informational wallpaper.

He’s opinionated and not afraid to express his views. Grover and I love a knock-down, drag-out political discussion.

Grover is loyal almost to a fault, a trait I admire a great deal because I value loyalty a great deal. He’s also an extremely generous person.

Grover and I are both former smokers. He’s an IT administrator and, like me, he likes all the coolest and latest tech toys.

Grover is married to Artisan and they have a baby daughter.

Cast–Bottom Line

The bottom line with Bottom Line is that everything comes down to the bottom line with her.

She’s an accountant, so that explains her bottom lineness in matters financial. The company she works for makes the yellow tape that police use to cordon off a crime scene, so we’re always happy for her when we see cime on the TV news. We’re often happy for her.

That singular trait of those with financial acuity is not restricted to matters of money with Bottom Line.

In conversation, she hones right on in on the most salient point. She’s got a healthy and entertaining sense of sarcasm which she’s never afraid show and which requires a certain bottom lineness of perception.

She had a reputation for disliking "nice guys," which is ironic, since she married the poster boy for Nice guys, Delicious.

Cast–Pixel Grrrl

Pixel Grrrl was born and raised in Minnesota but moved to California to pursue a career in animation. After working on a handful of high-profile films, she moved back to Minnesota.

Nothing in her personality betrays her religious upbringing, as she is outgoing and fun-loving, exhibiting none of the pinched uptightness often found in those raised on moral certitude.

She’s got a quick wit and a touch of sarcasm which she ocassionally sprinkles throughout conversations.

She’s decided to settle in Minnesota, buying a house and negotiating a job with a leading video games company that allows her to work remotely via the Internet.


I met Delicious through The Veteran. Delicious was playing football with The Veteran before Vet invited me to play.

The story, as The Veteran relates it, is that Delicious started appearing at The Vet’s pickup basketball games. Delicious arrived on in-line skates.

When angry with his play, he would yell out "Jimminy Christmas!" instead of swearing because there were children nearby.

Delicious and I developed somewhat of a rivalry–solely at my instigation. I needed someone to challenge me to get up to speed and Delicious was the fastest guy so when we all went out for happy hour the Fridays before our Saturday pickup games, I would trash talk him, telling him he was going down tomorrow.

The next day, he usually beat me a few times but it helped me improve my game.

Delicious is usually the only person left on the field who, after four hours of playing football, will still be running his routes at full speed. He runs the sharpest routes of any player I know.

Delicious acquired his nickname one day when we were playing Saturday pickup football. It was during the Winter and he was wearing a bright yellow windbreaker-type sports jacket. He was lined up wide and The Natural was at quarterback.

Natural completed a pass to Delicious and afterward explained that he couldn’t help but throw to him because in his yellow jacket he "looked so delicious."

Natural meant, of course, that he looked like such a delicious target but that was lost on The Clamp. "You can’t call a grown man Delicious," The Clamp declared indignantly.

It occured to me that Delicious may well be wearing bright colors intentionally, so as to present a more obvious target for his quarterback and therefore, get more balls thrown his way.

Being perfectly willing to steal a great idea when I see one, I promptly bought a bright yellow shirt.

In Minnesota. we have a cultural icon by the name of The Menards Guy. He pitches for the Menards hardware stores in cheesey, low-budget TV commercials. Being a Wisconsin boy, you’d think that Delicious would like cheesey commercials. But you’d be wrong–Delicious doesn’t like cheesey commercials, not these commercials, anyway. And to be fair to cheese, it’s not so much the cheesiness of the commercials that Delicious objects to as it is the fact that they are advertisements for Menards, which he hates.

Well, he doesn’t really object to the stores so much as the man behind the stores, whom he hates with a passion.

Delicious is married to Bottom Line.