The Wall Street Journal had a great story last week about an unconventional game of tag that a group of friends from Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Wash., have been playing since they were in high school, and revived in an extreme way a few years after they graduated in 1983.
Each February the game is revived and whoever is “it” at the end of the month remains “it” for the rest of the year. As the men’s careers have taken them away from Washington, they’ve gone to sometimes extraordinary measures to make sure someone else is “it” when the clock runs out.
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.
“I felt bad,” says Mr. Ammann, who went out of town for the weekend. “I think I would have sacrificed getting tagged to spend some time with him.”
Having the resources of successful middle-aged men means wives, co-workers and vacation plans are involved in the annual quest to avoid getting tagged. One team member, a priest now living in Helena, Mont., faces special challenges:
Mr. Konesky, a tech-company manager, is now “it” again and has had 11 months to stew. With February approaching, he has been batting around a few plans of attack. He says he likes to go after people who haven’t been “it” for a while. That includes Father Raftis, who has been harder to reach since he moved to Montana but who, as several players pointed out, is a sitting duck on Sundays.
“Once I step foot outside the rectory, all bets are off,” the priest says. “I have to be a little more careful.”
Perhaps Father Sean Raftis will be spending an unusual amount of time — on an unpredictable schedule — at his parish’s missions this month.