These four guys have been playing TAG for twenty-three years
One February day in the mid-1990s, Mr. Tombari and his wife, then living in California, got a knock on the door from a friend. "Hey, Joe, you've got to check this out. You wouldn't believe what I just bought," he said, as he led the two out to his car.
What they didn't know was Sean Raftis, who was "It," had flown in from Seattle and was folded in the trunk of the Honda Accord. When the trunk was opened he leapt out and tagged Mr. Tombari, whose wife was so startled she fell backward off the curb and tore a ligament in her knee.
"I still feel bad about it," says Father Raftis, who is now a priest in Montana. "But I got Joe."
It could have been worse for Mr. Tombari. He was "It" in 1982, heading into the last day of high school. He plotted to tag a friend, who had gone home early that day. But when he got there, the friend, tipped off by another player, was sitting in his parents' car with the doors locked. There wasn't enough time to tag someone else.
"The whole thing was quite devastating," says Mr. Tombari. "I was 'It' for life."
About eight years later, some of the group were gathered for a weekend when the topic turned to Mr. Tombari and the feeble finish to his tag career. Someone came up with an idea to revive the game for one month out of the year.