Lifelong Pals Keep Eternal Game of Tag Alive, Being 'It' Still Very Much Worst

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterJanuary 30, 2013

Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal
Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal

Imagine plotting, planning and scheming for a year just to tag your friend who lives across the country, only to lose your shot and have to suffer the humiliation of being "it" for yet another year. 

Such was the plight of one pal who is engaged in what is a 23-year game of tag. 

The Wall Street Journal (h/t SportsGrid) happened upon a peculiar practice by a group of friends simply wanting to stay in touch as adult years continue to spread each farther apart geographically. 

The best way, in their eyes, to keep in touch was to continue playing the childhood game demanding personal contact. 

They play tag. 

Ten friends continue a game they started 23 years ago when they were students at Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Washington. 

As for rules, the group mandated the signing of a contract, more to keep the game going with exuberant vitality. 

The actual game has no geographic restrictions and takes place all through the month of February, causing some clever pals to take vacations during the month to far-off places like Hawaii. 

There are no tag-backs, because that would be ridiculous, and the last man to be tagged at the end of the month has to wear the badge of shame that is being "it."

While the story already sounds like an amazing time, the friends divulge some rather awesome anecdotes that has me thinking a mere meeting among my own buddies for an annual Fantasy Baseball Draft in Las Vegas is severely lacking. 

Back in the mid-1990's, one friend was led out to a car by another friend not involved in the game, who said he had something amazing to show him. Mr. Tombari, went to the back of this friend's car, joined by his wife. 

That's when one of the players leaped out of the trunk and tagged Mr. Tombari, shocking Tombari's wife to a degree that she fell over, tearing a ligament in her knee.

The fellow tag player, Sean Raftis, relayed his sentiments with, "I still feel bad about it. But I got Joe."

If you think that's a little harsh, consider Raftis is now Father Raftis, a priest living in Montana. 

Wives and assistants are utilized to bar players from offices or just engage in a little espionage. There was also the case of one friend who managed to sneak into another's late at night, barging into the room of his eventual victim. 

Mr. Konesky tiptoed toward Mr. Dennehy's bedroom, burst through the door and flipped on the light. A bleary-eyed Mr. Dennehy looked up as his now-wife yelled "Run, Brian!" Mr. Konesky recalls. "There was nowhere for Brian to run."

While there has been some amazing successes, there have been some great disappointments as well. 

Over the years, some of the players fanned out around the country—which curbed the action but raised the stakes. At one point, Chris Ammann was living in Boston. So Mr. Konesky dipped into his frequent-flier miles and crossed the country on the last weekend of the month. He spent the next two days in the bushes outside Mr. Ammann's apartment, sitting in his friend's favorite bar or driving up and down his street. Mr. Ammann never showed. Mr. Konesky was "It" for the year.

Still, the game brings together friends who have gone their separate ways, geographically, years ago, and would have parted emotionally if it weren't for this ridiculous and silly game they take so seriously. 

It seems the best way to keep in touch with buddies as you enter into adulthood is to consider engaging in a bit of childhood lunacy. 

That seems like the sensible thing to me. 


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