The Annual Fletcher Family Football Tournament

03 Jan 2009 09:59 pm


An old and worn but much loved edition of the great game we play every year.

Last night we hosted the famous, annual Fletcher Family Football Tournament. The football tournament has been a tradition for as long as I can remember but my husband and I have been hosts to it for the past eight or nine years. I have never won or even come close to winning and that tradition still holds. My youngest brother, Guy has also never won but he has come close to winning and that tradition still holds. My sister, Lucy has come close to winning before and last night she gave me a thumping that still makes my head hurt today. She beat me 23-0.

I may need to explain to my readers that this football tournament involves a board game that my Dad designed, developed and published in the fifties. It is copywrited and was quite a popular selling game locally but when Daddy contacted Parker Brothers back in the fifties they said thanks but no thanks to him.

That’s okay because our family and friends have kept this incredibly fun and addictive game our own carefully held secret, gathering together every year around Christmas, with my brother Bobby or my Dad drawing up a tournament bracket, and all the participants drawing numbers to decide where we will fall within the tournament bracket and to whom we will play.

No one wants to play my mother. She is called by one Champion The Intimidator. She will doom any player from the start of the tournament because she mysteriously calls plays that are never expected or logical and it always tricks the unassuming, unexpecting player. No one knows her playbook and no one can analyze it. Mother’s moving laterally when she should be line-plunging and she’s passing when she should be end-running. She beats her opponent so badly they don’t know whether they were coming in or they were just leaving and she puts them out of the single elimination tournament as easily as if she were saying, “Please pass the butter”.

The same sort of aura surrounds my father, who all the grandchildren call “Pappy.”

Last night “Pappy” played some great games, making it into the semi-finals, knocking off my sister, Lucy in a very closely fought contest. He held my son, Drew to a 10-10 tie. In the sudden death contest that went four quarters long, Pappy drove sixty yards down the field, scoring a touchdown, and winning by six.

Then he had to face Kate, my daughter, who had just come off a big win, beating former champion, Dorinda, my sister-in-law, winner in 2004 who in turn had just knocked off Gary Fletcher, my cousin, perennial winner in 2005 and 2007 and according to my Dad’s records a champ back in the sixties and seventies.

Even though Kate is the mother of an eleven month old son who will be a year old in three weeks and who is as rambuctious as the day is long, she helped me get the whole wing-ding ready, helping me to vacuum, prepare the food and even make a last minute run to Sams Club to get even more food but she still had the psychic energy that was required of a tough steely eyed competitor on and off the field to call the right plays and carry them out.

Kate beat my Dad. Not only that, she beat him in the very last few seconds of the game. That was some game.

But the story is not over. There is one player I have not yet mentioned, the eventual winner of the night. It was not my daughter, Kate. I haven’t yet mentioned my brother, Bobby Fletcher Jr., one of the biggest winning champs in Fletcher tournament history. He is the organizer of the tournament, having taken the mantle from his namesake, our Dad, the old man, Bobby E. Fletcher Sr.

Bobby, AKA, the Sargeant Major, was having a great night, beating all who had the unlucky draw of playing him.

The Sargeant Major had a great night, that is, until he played Mike, my son-in-law, husband of Kate, father of Noah, champion in the making. In Mike, the Sargeant Major met his match and fell to defeat, 14-7. Mike had beaten four other opponents before facing the Sargeant Major and after he put him away found himself in the finals facing his own wife, Kate, who tried to put some major psych-out on him but, unfortunately for Kate, Mike wasn’t having any of it.

Nothing doing. Mike wasn’t fazed in the least.

His defensive and offensive teams were finely tuned and well rested although this was Mike’s sixth and final game of the night. By the time Mike was playing Kate in the finals it was near the witching hour of midnight.

From the first kickoff it became evident that Mike’s team was dominating in punt returns, passing and rushing. He completely stuffed any attempts of Kate’s offense to take the field, much less make any first downs, defeating a tired Kate, 24-6 which was a crushing humiliation for her. Her team was simply beaten by a superior team, the best team of the year.

Mike now joins that exclusive pantheon of champions, one which I and two of my siblings have never been able to join, no matter how hard we have tried all of these years. There is always next year I suppose but there are those whose records have demonstrated potential and a great win/lose ratio that places them in a different category than the rest of us. Mike and Kate were edging up there the past few seasons and it was only a matter of time for them.

It was Mike’s time this season.

Congratulations Mike!

The biggest psych-out of the night? Both Kate and Mike wore their University of Oklahoma sweatshirts which was appropriate since both are graduates of O.U. Boomer Sooner!

26 Dec 2008 09:26 pm


While other family members are out shopping I am content to stay home this day, full of comfort and joy, taking stock of our wonderful Christmas.


Choirs of angels are singing as they stand on a remnant of French made fabric from a little shop in Ribeauvillé, France.


In the kitchen the deer gazes at the tree decked with redbirds. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen today catching up on things that were neglected in the frantic attempt to get everything wrapped before Christmas Eve. The dishes were washed. The laundry folded and put away.

Later I took time to have a cup of coffee and a piece of rum cake. I’m trying to renew the old silver tea service we stored in my brother’s attic when we left for Germany in 1999.

I neglected to retrieve it when we came home in 2002 until finally this past Thanksgiving my brother brought it down from his attic and we brought it home. It is so tarnished that I am ashamed I neglected it so badly. I have been polishing and polishing. I actually like to polish silver but this task is a very big one. So far there are no pits. That says something for Reed and Barton.

Okay, it’s not that valuable being silverplate but I should have taken better care of it.

One of the nicest things about having a two week vacation is having time to do things at home that I just wouldn’t do on a weekend.


Asta watches out the window for birds and other interesting visitors. He, Amos and Sabby have been excited about the returns of their favorites, Charlotte and Maine to the Charlotte Wing and the other whimsical visitors bringing music into our home.

Lucy, my sister is a special favorite of Sabby’s (a story which needs to be told) and he’s spent a lot of time on her lap this Christmas season. The cats seemed to know from Thanksgiving on that special days were approaching. Like Sissy Willis’ Babe, they have been high with expectancy, and scampering around the house like kittens.


A gift of heirloom crystal from their aunt is a Christmas surprise for the girls.


O Christmas Tree is the theme of the Donoho Mantle this year. It’s a more streamlined Christmas for us. We gave the angels their own pride of place on the piano and put out less Christmas frills this year.


One of my favorite gifts received this Christmas is The Book of Exodus, inscribed and illustrated by Sam Fink. The calligraphy is exquisite.

I loved all my gifts of course, especially the beautiful photograph of my gorgeous grandson, Noah and the gift I always need and always ask for, socks.

The best part of Christmas for me was watching the faces of my loved ones as they opened their gifts. When my son, daughter-in-law and five year old grandson return from Louisiana and open up their gifts, then Christmas will be complete for me.

The strangest gift I got this year? A Carney Lansford Bobblehead.

What is next? The annual Fletcher Family Football Tournament. My husband and I are the hosts for this annual event and it is coming up very soon. I take care of the food, my brother takes care of drawing up the tournament roster, my husband provides the half-time band entertainment and my Dad takes care of the prizes.

31 Dec 2007 04:55 pm

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Yes, Virginia, I ought to be wrapping presents. Occasionally I need to retreat from all the hub-bub of this busy season to collect my thoughts. Thoughts of Christmas present and past. So many memories are inspired by the present. Nowadays, I am hoping someone will take me up on my request for socks for Christmas. When I am asked, that is my stock answer. I have everything. A loving husband, a home, food, healthy children, a grandson, and one on the way. I have collected too many things in my life and while some have their place and create sentimental memories I am always willing to pass them on to my kids if they ask.


Getting back to socks. I remember the Christmas Eves spent at my paternal grandparents’ home. Included were my parents, my two brothers, sister and me, our Dad’s brother, Uncle Max and Aunt Jeannine and their four children, and occasionally, my Aunt Imy and Uncle Eddie and their three sons.

My grandmother always took people under her wings. For quite a few years, Vietnamese immigrants, Yon and Kim shared in our celebration. My cousin’s Jeanne and Junior sponsored them when they arrived at Fort Chaffee. Yon had been a doctor in Vietnam and Kim was a very intelligent and beautiful lady. Eventually, they moved to New York and Yon was able to practice medicine.

My great grandmother, Kate was always present at Christmas Eve at my grandparents. She lived a long life and died when I was nineteen. When I was little, I remember unwrapping the packages from “Grandma Morrison” and being somewhat disappointed to discover socks. Knitted socks made by hand. I didn’t appreciate the handiwork and the love knitted right into them, although I did wear them.

How wonderful it would be today to receive socks knitted by my great grandmother.


When I was in my twenties, my grandmother gave me Grandma Morrison’s angel. It still plays Silent Night and looks like my sister, Lucy, when she was little.

My great grandmother lived in an apple orchard in Rogers, Arkansas on Walnut Street. When we went to visit her my siblings and I loved to go out into the orchard and play. The orchard hadn’t been cared for in many years and was full of tangled vines and limbs, making it much more of an interesting place to be. It was like the Secret Garden before Mary Lennox tamed it.


Here we are visiting my great grandmother. My back is turned from the camera. I think I am watching my cousin, Jeanne cut up. She was my idol back then. Actually, she still is.

So, memories of the past are entwined with the present. They come to my mind at odd times, enriching the day. I was late getting the trees up and the house decorated this year. I wanted to do the whole house this year to celebrate our son and brother’s safe return from Iraq.

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007.

I still didn’t have time to do the Christmas card. One day I will. Last night my daughters were at odds with one another. My oldest daughter is great with child and my youngest daughter just had all of her wisdom teeth pulled. They love to help get Christmas ready and have been shopping. It’s making them too tired. There is a baby shower for my daughter today.


A diaper cake. Almost pretty enough to eat.


My mother arrived home from the shower and was tending to her nineteen and a half year old cat, Toni, giving her a pill for her cold, and she died in her arms.


Toni came along right when my Dad had open heart surgery. We were home that June for my Dad’s surgery. Toni was a stray kitten born in my parents’ back yard and my children played with her and my son named her. At first we thought she was a male and her name was Tony. When we discovered she was female we spelled her name, Toni.

Monday, December 24th, 2007, Christmas Eve.

We went over to my parents this morning to help bury Toni. My brothers arrived about the same time and we were there to comfort and help. My son dug the grave near where the late great cats, Bear and Esther were buried. My mother carried Toni outside in her little bed, and I helped her to place Toni in the box. My youngest brother said a blessing. It was all a spontaneous visit. None of us had to coordinate with each other as to when we would go over to my parents house. We just all showed up. It was a clear cold day and a sad occasion.

Bless little Toni. I really believe she had a lot to do with my Dad’s recovery from heart surgery.

Christmas Eve, six pm

We always go to my oldest brother’s house for the family Christmas Eve celebration. Last year was the exception. We didn’t go last year because he was in Kuwait and other plans were made. But this year, we will all be there. The big question is, how late will my parents be? That is now a tradition.


My brother and sister-in-law’s home in all its glory.


My parents were fashionably late this year. We had a great time together as a family. I got an interesting gift from “my friends at the DNC.” When I have time later on, I will post a picture of it.

Now it’s time to wrap some presents and fill some stockings. (Just to help Santa)

Christmas Day, December 25th, 2007

I was up early. My daughter (who is great with child) came over with her husband before anyone else. We decided to make a breakfast casserole. I had planned to do it the night before but ran out of energy. We opened a can of big flaky biscuits and flattened them in a 13″x9″ casserole dish. I made a white sauce while my daughter whipped eggs with some milk. I fried some bacon, about ten pieces. I added a little nutmeg to the white sauce. My daughter added some shredded swiss cheese to the egg mixture. We combined the eggs and white sauce and poured it over the flattened biscuits. We sprinkled the crumbled bacon over the sauce. We crushed some crackers and added melted butter to it and sprinkled it on top. My daughter wanted to place some cheddar cheese on top so I did it under protest.

We baked the casserole at 350 degrees for about forty minutes. It turned out great. Next time, I will stick with the swiss cheese and add a little more nutmeg to the sauce.

Soon all the children arrived and we opened the presents. When we were kids, my sister and I always invited our next door neighbor, Ellen, to come over to see our presents. She would bring over her favorite present too. We would play all day long. It’s sort of that way today. For the first time in my married life I got a complete set of red Kitchen Aid pots and pans. They are beautiful! I can’t wait to use them.


Opening the stockings

Christmas is my absolutely favorite time of year. It’s hard to let go of the day. I try to slow the minutes on the clock but they don’t cooperate with me.


Christmas Future


Christmas Past

We watched our favorite Christmas movies, A Christmas Story and Love Actually and some of us dozed in our chairs.

Thursday, December 27th

I slept in. My husband was up already and told me of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. A really sad event. Yes, she was corrupt but also very brave to attempt to run again. I believe she wanted to help her country. I expect there will be some very desperate days for Pakistan in the future.

My daughters and I went shopping yesterday so the day was a blur.

Friday, December 28th, 2007, The Annual Fletcher Family Football Tournament is today!

This day will be very busy. We are putting together a spread for the football tournament tonight. We will have sweets and savory. Lots of bread, cheese, meat, smokies, dips and chips and baked beans. Deviled eggs, nuts and other yummy stuff. This is no night to worry about the weight. My sister-in-law, Lisa is bringing some Christmas Wassail.


The tournament was exciting, intense and fun. There were 29 competitors and most played to win. This year we had my brother and son home. My brother, Bobby was the official official. Unfortunately, this wasn’t his year to win. In the single elimination tournament he lost his first game. I played my sister-in-law, Dorinda and led for most of the game, 10-0 but she came back the last half and on a football return, ran it back for a touchdown. I lost.

My cousin, Gary, a graduate of SMU, and former baseball player, won the tournament again this year. It was two o’clock in the morning when the tournament was finally over. Another generation of boys and girls are learning about football.


Gary beat Jessica in the finals

Here’s a look at the 2004 Football tournament. The women prevailed that year.


My gift from the DNC showed up at the football tournament. Look closely at the red tee shirt. As I have said, when my children ask me for anything, they usually get it.


My cousin Jeanne made it into the semi-finals and she laughed all the way.

December 31st, New Years Eve

We are getting ready for New Years Eve. The family is coming over for pizza, games and later, a little champagne. Tomorrow? Blacked eyed peas and cornbread.

Happy New Year!

30 Dec 2005 08:29 am

Winner and Runnerup

Wow! This year was the year of the men. As predicted, I didn’t even make the semi-finals. I beat my mother, who is very hard to read but then my youngest daughter beat me. But she had to face my dad, the creator of the game and he beat her. She was the last of the female hopes.

The semi-final round included my son facing my brother and my dad facing my cousin. My brother beat my son and my cousin beat my dad. My brother won the tournament.

The whole experience was fun and I realized when I was playing the very first game why I never make it past the first few games. I can’t put all my attention into the game because I am distracted by all the goings-on in the house. I want to check the food and see if anyone needs anything……in other words I am more of a hostess than a competitor. But it was great having everyone in our home.

All the women and girls in our family know football due to my dad’s game and we all are competitors and try to win. So maybe next year we will win. This football tournament is quite a female vs male competition because it’s an armchair football competition….brains and luck not brawn and talent.

Here is my oldest daughter’s account of the tournament…….

(Taken from our private family website)

After a long night of games and prizes, the Grand Champion of the Football Tournament was Wahwa - aka Bobby Fletcher.

It was dubbed a “Clash of the Titans” as the final four Drew and Wahwa, Gary and Pappy duked it out. Drew had a long night of victories under his belt, starting with a crushing win to his former nemesis, Meredith Therrien nee Fletcher.

Following her defeat, Drew mercilessly took out Alex, eliminating the Therriens from the tournament completely.

However, in the end Wahwa (Bobby Fletcher Jr.), avenged his daughter and son in law’s defeat by beating Drew and finally ending his campaign.

Following his defeat of all around good sport Lucy Barnes, Gary annihilated Kate Hughes (this years dark horse for a victory, who had clawed her way up to this point, defeating both her father and her husband, with her Angel/Agent Dorinda Fletcher by her side) ignoring Dorinda’s distraction tactics.

He then cooly defeated the master and creator of the game Pappy (Bobby Fletcher Sr.) to arrive finally at the final showdown.

Pappy defeated first timer Olivia Fletcher, and went on to completely stuff Charlotte Donoho’s attempts at any kind of defense. (She said it was as if he was reading her mind).

The master finally fell at the hands of Gary, but a good game was played by all. Wahwa the past master and grand champion defeated Elizabeth Fletcher, another first time player.

He then crushed his next opponent, first timer Robert a young friend of the Barneses to move on to his defeat of Drew.

The suspenseful finish culminated in the tense drama of the gridiron by Gary Fletcher who came close to upsetting the Grand Master.

This was truly an epic battle as both players were former champions.

Noteworthy on this evening was the return of the great Tittsworth Power House.

Junior and Jeanne led their comeback valiantly but succumbed to the Fletcher Force.

Their return was a welcome addition to the Tournament.This clash of the titans has been a long time coming, as the majority of winners in the past years have been of the female persuasion.

Dorinda Fletcher, last years defending champion, said of her husband this years champion, “well, this should make him happy, but next year, ladies, well get it back”

Sounds like a direct challenge to me.

(as reported by Kate Hughes, any corrections or additions should be immediately added)

02 Jan 2005 08:57 pm

From the time I was a kid our family has had a football tournament during the holidays. My Dad created a football board game (which he has copyrighted) and every year for the past 30 at least we have played. The winner always wins one hundred dollars and the runnerup gets fifty. Plus, they get a piece of my Dad’s coin collection. My children were weaned on the football tournament and are pretty competitive. I love to play but have never won. But there are no females in our family who don’t know all about football due to my Dad’s game. This year the females dominated. My sister-in-law won and my niece came in second.

Here is the video which recaps the games. (at least of the semi-final and final rounds) It’s best viewed with an up-to-date Quick-time.