Most kids usually grow out of the schoolyard favorite game "tag," but not one group of pals.
Six men now in their 40s have been playing tag for the past 23 years, despite living in different states, the Wall Street Journal
reported. Brian Dennehy, Joe Tombari, Sean Raftis, Patrick Schultheis, Mike Konesky, and Chris Ammann travel cross-country to tag one another.
The schoolyard version of the game is simple. One person is "it" until he tags someone else as the players run, chase, and hide from each other. Grown-up tag employs tactics like espionage, collusion with outside parties, and even breaking and entering.
The friends started playing tag when they were classmates at Gonzaga Preparatory Academy in Spokane, Wash. As childhood friends do, they moved apart, sought different careers, got married, and had children.
While reminiscing in 1990 about a 1982 tag game that Tombari lost, they got the wacky idea to have a rematch. That rematch is still going strong.
Schultheis, a first-year lawyer at the time, drafted a "Tag Participation Agreement" in February 1990 that everyone signed.
The rules of their version say that whoever is "it" is "it" for a full year. Each February, the "it" player has the entire month to tag someone new. There are no tag backs in this version — you have to tag someone who did not just tag you.
In one case, Ammann lived in Boston, and Konesky was "it." Konesky decided to fly across the country to stake out Ammann. He spent two days outside Konesky's apartment hiding in the bushes, but his intended target never showed.
In another case, Konesky was "it." He entered Dennehy's house around 2 a.m. and tagged him while he was sleeping in bed.
In one unbelievable turn, Raftis flew to California from Seattle and hid in the trunk of a car. When an uninvolved third party lured Tombari to the car, Raftis popped out of the trunk and tagged Tombari.
Schultheis often spends his Februarys in Hawaii, to stay out of reach of the other players.
Currently, Konesky is "it" again.
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