How the Trench Stole Christmas

(By Chris, Editor in Chief of and the adult writer of the Gab Four. Originally published Dec. 23, 2005, sponsored by 3 Spoons Yogurt)

I'm about to reveal a secret.

Contrary to what NFL coaches say, games are not won and lost in the trenches. Rather, games are won and lost according to one's ability to make field goals.

Somewhere, Fuad Reveiz just wet his pants.

That's not my secret, though.

I got my two cousins--Will and Lee, ages 8 and 6, respectively--a flickball set for Christmas. And if either of my cousins should happen to find out beforehand what they are getting, then I will personally track down the tattletale like a hunting dog and flick a triangle directly off his or her forehead in a violent manner.

Anyway, flickball was a pastime for me and my contemporaries in junior high and beyond. During our study hall or whenever we had free time in class, pieces of notebook paper folded into tiny triangles started magically appearing.

One guy kept six or so ready-made flickballs in his backpack. This seems to have been the unique talent God blessed him with. He was always prepared, not only for himself, but for any classmates who needed to borrow one.

Desks were pushed together, as guys (I never saw any girls participate in these thrilling events) began sliding the flickballs back and forth across the desktops and kicking field goals.

And on the rare instances when the flickball landed on the line signifying a touchdown, it was quite common to see individuals get out of their desks and pump their fists, either portraying excitement or being stung in the privates by a hornet.

It was a coordinated effort rivaled only by my 11th grade computer science course, in which the entire class participated in "Rock and Roll, Part II" by drumming their fingers on the desk and simultaneously shouting "HEY!" in unison, directly before the teacher entered the room.

But as with anything that is more than two weeks old, it is out of date. Therefore, the crude way I used to play flickball--by using a folded up piece of paper and my digits as goal posts--is now considered to be obsolete.

Leather, triangle flickballs with painted-on laces have replaced notebook paper. Plastic, yellow goal posts have replaced pointer fingers. And though I've yet to see a flickball set with one, I'm sure there is a only a matter of time before tabletops, desktops and floors are replaced.with a miniature playing field made of sod and saliva.

My cousins had recently started talking about playing flickball at school with their friends. And after seeing a flickball set that included two rubber goal posts, a flat, triangle flickball designed to slide and a beanie flickball designed for field goal use, I figured my cousins were about to get the coolest Christmas gift since their electronic ankle bracelets last year.

This was until Will approached me, holding a piece of wadded up trash in his hands.

"Want to play flickball?" he asked.

"Sure," I said. "Do you know how to make one?"

"Yeah, here it is," Will answered, holding his hand out.

It didn't even resemble a triangle, and between the two of us, we made as many field goals as Fuad Reveiz did last week. So the game was decided in the trenches, otherwise known as my coffee table.

Obviously, Will and I were playing Australian Rules Flickball.

Chris is a Waco, Texas, resident, Editor in Chief of, author of the book "Sports Briefs" and the adult writer for the Gab Four. Read more of Chris' solo columns here.

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