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Flag football has been a long-time Sunday ritual for many in Orillia

'It’s about spending time with the guys and having a laugh,' says Dave Luffman, who has played in the league since it debuted 35 years ago

A new season has kicked off for the Millwood Logistics Flag Football League which is celebrating 35 years in Orillia.

The flag football league debuted in 1984 and when most sports leagues debut there is commonly a slow start to get things rolling, but that was never the case for flag football in Orillia. 

There was interest and support right away as ten teams signed up to compete every Sunday morning.

When the league debuted nobody was more excited to play than Pete Glass who is now the league's president. However, Glass had to wait a while before his first snap.

“When the league was in its infancy stage, they had a funny rule that university guys couldn’t play in the league,” Glass explains.

"In ’91 when I got done university, I joined the league and played for five or six years and then I heard it was going to fold up, so I took it over.”

Glass says the previous league representatives no longer wanted the responsibilities of the league.

“The league needed some direction and we were having problems with fields and getting things organized, so I took it over and spearheaded it,” Glass says.

Glass says the league became easy to run in a short time as teams became familiar and players got into a routine.

He says a lot of the players on the flag football teams including new teams are already familiar with playing football with each other.

“A lot of these guys played high school football and they played it together, so it’s the comaraderie of getting out of your chair from watching football and instead get out and go play it, and then, of course, you go back to watching it,” Glass chuckled.

Glass himself played tackle football in Orillia at Park Street Collegiate Instititue for four years and one year at Twin Lakes Secondary School (TLSS) where he won a Georgian Bay Secondary Association championship . Glass went on to play at the university level in Nova Scotia.

Glass, a long-time coach for the senior boys’ football team at Barrie North Secondary School, and gets to play flag football with some of his team's graduates.

“It’s awesome that I get to play with the kids. My hope is to keep the team young because it helps me look good,” the 52-year-old Glass said.

One of the players on Glass’ team is his son who goes to University in Guelph.

“It’s awesome to share in this with him. He’s in university now in Guelph and we had a guy on our team go pick him up last night just so he could play with us today,” Glass said.

The flag football league has grown so popular that Glass added a spring league to complement the fall league, and it has become the most popular of the two. The fall league has six teams and the spring league has 10.

Dave Luffman joined the league in its inaugural season, and has been playing ever since. The 59-year-old says flag football is a lot of fun and never takes itself too seriously.

“It’s about spending time with the guys and having a laugh. We play hard out there, but at the end of it we know it’s just a way of getting out to have some fun,.”

Luffman also referees when he’s not playing.

“I just love football and getting out with the guys. It’s always been a good league,” Luffman said.

Luffman explains that flag football on Sunday mornings is a Sunday tradition.

“We play our game, then we share a couple of pops before heading home to set our fantasy football lineups and then we get the games on TV going, sometimes we will all go back to one guy's place to watch it or head out to Kelsey’s,” Luffman explains.

Luffman is hoping for a new group of guys to take the reins.

“We could use some younger blood in it now to take it over from us old guys and keep it going,” he said.

This year’s flag football league season kicked off Sunday, Sept. 8 at TLSS.

Each team will play eight regular-season games between the school and the turf field at Rotary Place, running until Oct. 20. Playoffs will take place on Oct. 26