No experience required for Seattle’s adult recreational leagues — but a competitive spirit might come in handy.
IF I WANTED to join an adult recreational football league, I figured knowing how to play the game would be a basic requirement, which I have not fulfilled. I have lurked at the edges of a football field, watching the game, never daring to step onto the turf.
But Megan Luk, who plays in a City of Seattle recreational women’s league, politely told me that wasn’t true. This year alone, she had three teammates join with zero football experience.
“After a few games, they were just right into it like everyone else,” says Luk, who captains a team called The Nuggettes.
I have watched enough flag football games to know how intensely physical the sport is, even without tackling. You sprint down the field to dodge defenders, you chase down opponents and you run like hell when you have the ball. It’s nonstop action on both sides.
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And some who played the sport growing up want to keep playing as adults.
Paul Won says he played for Western Washington University and had a stint in the professional Arena Football League. His recreational league team, Blackfish, plays contact eight-on-eight football in a Seattle league. Many players on his team have college or pro experience, he says.
When Won first heard about flag football, he thought it would be a fluffy game. But he had suffered concussions from football, and he had to take the intensity down a notch. He found flag football satisfies his competitive side.
“I need some kind of competition in my daily life,” he says. “Sports has been my outlet since I was a child.”
In addition to his contact team, he also plays on a noncontact team with Underdog Sports. While it’s less competitive than his contact team, Won, who owns a fitness studio in Eastlake, says he likes that it is less serious.
“It’s fun to be out there and not have anything on the line, so to speak,” he says.
Luk, 33, spent her childhood throwing a ball around with cousins and uncles, and now is the quarterback for her team. The biggest challenge in women’s leagues is finding someone to play quarterback, she says. Many women like to throw, but don’t like being chased while throwing. She had to learn to throw under pressure.
“It’s been eye-opening to see how competitive some of the women are,” Luk says.
It’s fun to teach new players the basics, Luk says, such as how to read the field and know where to be on defense. On offense, players learn how to run pass routes to get open.
“You don’t have to be the fastest, but knowing how to trick your defender so you can get wide open, that’s definitely a big thing,” Luk says.
Luk says she considers herself less competitive than some of her teammates, but she likes how social and active football is.
She encouraged me to consider a women’s flag football clinic to give the sport a real chance. While I don’t know whether my throwing and catching skills are up to snuff, I would consider a clinic. Maybe I will get out on the field, if briefly, after all.