Flag Football on Fun Friday


On the large, open field behind the historic Jefferson Building in Springville, Utah, a few dozen students and staff members from Discovery Ranch gathered to play flag football on Fun Friday. The people who were not playing relaxed outside the boundaries of the field. They scattered in two large groups where they sat on the grass and chatted or lay in the sun.

Relaxing and Relationship Building

Residential Director Leslie Giles served as a time-keeper. She made certain that each group of boys from each of the houses had a chance to play. “It’s great to for the boys to get a break from treatment,” Leslie said. She gestured to the field where a Staff vs. Students game was going on.“And it’s a great chance to build relationships.”

Dan Miner, who sat beside Leslie while taking a break from scoring touchdowns, agreed. “It’s great seeing boys being boys. They’re doing things that they would be doing back home.”

The afternoon was pleasantly sunny for late September, although the cool breeze that played with the grass signaled that summer had come to an end and fall was ready to begin. The scent carried on the breeze was pure summer–cut grass and clean sweat. At the far side of the lawn, outside of the painted white rectangle that formed the boundaries of the field, speakers played pop music. A few of the students and staff members sang along as familiar songs played, more or less on key.


Recreational Therapist Tessa Olsen took a break from being the referee to explain the psychology behind Fun Friday events like this one. They help the students to find Flow.

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is credited with developing the concept of Flow. This is how he described the experience, “The metaphor of flow is one that many people have used to describe the sense of effortless action they feel in moments that stand out as the best in their lives. Athletes refer to it as being in the zone, religious mystics as being in ecstasy, artists, and musicians as aesthetic rapture.”

On the field, men and boys wearing red and blue flags chased a football. The expressions on the players’ faces could have been in a state of Flow.

After the flag football game, came lunch and more relaxation. The afternoon was the quiet kind that makes it easily into people’s memories for a long time. Maybe the students will remember today the next time a late summer breeze carries the scent of cut grass and clean sweat to them