A real winner

Published 10:17 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2013

One thing they need before organizers of the Suffolk Police Versus Suffolk Fire & Rescue Relay for Life Flag Football Game put together next year’s event is a new name for it. Something like the Red and Blue Relay for Life Game, perhaps.

That name is shorter and trips off the tongue (and the keyboard) a bit more quickly than the one that was used this year and appeared on the back of the red and blue T-shirts the competitors wore on Saturday during the second annual version of the fundraising event.

Cumbersome names aside, though, Suffolk could be onto something big with this event. It has the makings of a grand local tradition. With firefighters and police officers squaring off against each other in a friendly game of flag football for no greater honor than the right to brag about having the best team for the rest of the year, it has the feel of old Suffolk, of a simpler time that many people look back on with more than a little nostalgia.

Email newsletter signup

Since all the participants are first responders in Suffolk, it’s easy for the folks watching the game — most of whom are friends, family and co-workers, anyway — to get behind one team or the other. It’s almost as easy for them to cheer for the other team if it wins, though there’s enough natural competitiveness between the two groups that none of the participants would think about giving the game anything but their best effort. Such good-natured rivalries are the stuff of small-town legends, and many such legends have been born at similar events on community football fields around the country.

What makes this event even better as a local tradition, though, is the fact that all the proceeds go to Suffolk’s Rockin’ Relay for Life, and this year, the game raised about $800 in support of the American Cancer Society’s big local fundraising event.

Add that support to the positive aspects of the police and firefighter communities getting a chance to spend some time getting to know each other outside of the job, and this game — whatever it’s finally called — is a real winner.