We all struggle to find our own place in the world. Life gets interesting as we discover ourselves and we form relationships with others. It gets more complicated when we struggle with our sexual identity. It’s not something most of us think about, let alone question.
The beautiful thing about humanity is that we are unique. The struggle within our global communities today is that we are not accepting of our uniqueness which makes it difficult when moving to a new city or finding friends with the same interests as ours. Seth Greenleaf explores our uniqueness in his raw and hilarious documentary F(l)ag Football.
Ironically named, Greenleaf’s documentary follows three teams of amateur flag footballers who happen to be mostly gay. He explores the struggles each of the subjects had to find people with similar interests and the struggles of each team to find their rhythms.
Wade Davis, a former pro-NFL player, Cyd Ziegler, Jared Garduno, and Brenton Metzler each sought to find their place, not only in the gay community, but also in their own lives and with each other, leading them to Flag Football. Greenleaf captures their lives on the field as well as off it as they each prepare for the 2010 Gay X Bowl games in Phoenix.
Inclusion is the word of the day. When we’re off the field, we are at our most intimate with each of the subjects opening up to Greenleaf. In their candidness, we find good natured people with a lot of pent-up aggression and ambition, fears, desires and ultimately love.
Each of the team members has something to say. They fight with each other, they love each other; they grow together and apart from each other. But within the team framework, Greenleaf captured the essence of love, life, happiness and inclusion. No matter your orientation or your skin color or your creed or your gender, inclusion is at the center.
The notion of stereotypes goes right out the window too. The sport allows for both gay and straight players, leading to the crux of the issue.
Greenleaf creates a counterpoint when the subject of the number of straight players allowed on a team is raised. As a rule of the NGFFL, no more than 20% of the team players can be straight and as one of the teams’ desires to win outweighs the rules, they fight to get the rule changed. They are overruled and the team captain is forced to cut one of his straight players, one of the more difficult scenes to watch unfold. It was interesting to see a form of reverse discrimination. But I liked this aspect because it demonstrates that we are, all of us, human. And that’s something that we as a society need in today’s tumultuous world; a reflection that despite the push for equality, not everything is equal.
Featured at the Phoenix Film Festival in 2014 and now in theaters, Seth Greenleaf’s F(l)ag Football takes a candid look at the athletes, their sport, their lives and ambitions, and he puts a very human and humorous spin on it, immediately dismissing any stereotypes.