Capture the Flag and Kick the Can consumed a lot of summer nights during the awkward years of my childhood. You know the years; your too young to drink or fingerbang in basements, but you have to figure out something to do that includes chicks, because you’re now at that age when rando boners rule your life and thoughts of even touching a human breast consumes you. So you throw normal sports out the window and you wrangle up every kid you know in the neighborhood and you play Kick the Can or Capture the Flag.
In hindsight, those years were the best. I’d love to relive them. But after reading this story about a guy who played Capture the Flag on his college campus, I quickly realized that reliving them as an adult might not be the best idea. Especially if you’re playing Capture the Flag on a busy campus where everyone might not be involved in your game.
Via his TIFU story on Reddit.
Today I fucked up. There’s a girl in my Ecology class. Let’s call her “Madge”. Madge is your go-getting try-hard holier-than-thou know-it-all with an unchanging facial expression I can only describe as “cat trying to shit a peach pit”. One of those constant-frowners, and constant-downers.
I even tried to get along with Madge at the start; I’d sit by her and try to engage her (read: humor her) with conversations in relevant topics about Ecology, such as the thrilling handedness of apes or edge-of-your-seat songbird plumage complexity, but just trying to be civil was a futile endeavour. Expecting Madge to be civil with you because you were civil with her is like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat it. Madge was born to be an asshole.
Everything you said to her was met with a “Pffft”, or a dramatic roll of the eyes, and a quick retort such as “Well, if you’d actually read Carter et al. 2007, you would have known that…” She had to be better and smarter than everyone, at everything, all the time. And boy, that shit got real old, real quick. So I stopped sitting by her. And began to loathe her. With a pre-occupied disposition. I thought about her twice today before even writing this, that’s how much I don’t like her.
Fast forward to the first Capture the Flag game of the year. Being a Freshman, I thought I’d attend as a way to get out of my residence room and meet some people. The first game was at about 8:00PM, the campus was already dark, and I showed up just wearing shorts and a T-shirt. Out of 150+ people (who knew Capture the Flag was so popular?) I ended up being possibly the most under-dressed person there. Camouflage, Ghillie suits, face-paint, and black morph costumes were just some of the norm. This was like Capture the Flag Olympics.
Teams were divided into short sleeve vs. long sleeve, and the “flags” were two bicycle lights. I began to mingle with fellow short-sleeves… and that’s when I saw her. Madge. Black boots, black pants, black turtleneck, black scarf, black cap, black gloves. She was going all Call of Duty for this game — of course. Why wouldn’t she be a try-hard at Capture the Flag too? And I just knew I’d have to tag her the fuck out. This was my chance to prove I was better at something.
The first few rounds, us short-sleeves did terribly because no one stayed behind to defend, so we lost 3 rounds promptly. Each time they blew the whistle, I could hear Madge laughing. I could hear it. So I switched to defense. To prevent “camping”, there was a 50 meter buffer around each “flag”. Conveniently for me, there was a group of hedges 50 meters away from my flag. So I hid in the hedges.
Each time anyone from the other team tried to sneak up to our flag, I’d jump out of the hedges, startle the hell out of them, and that would give me the time I needed to run up and tag them out. I’d probably tagged out 8-10 people in about 15 minutes, when the stars aligned, and I saw her. Madge. Walking through the shadows along the side of a building, headed straight for our flag, thinking she was so sneaky with all her matching black gear. This was it. It wasmy time to shine.
But I was too excitable. I bounded from the hedges like Sea Biscuit while she was still a good 40-50 feet away. So I yelled “AAAaarrgh!” to try to emphasize the startling effect. She shrieked in surprise, but without missing a beat, she spun around 180 degrees and headed back for her “side” at a dead sprint. I then realized that if she got to her side before I caught her, she’d be “out of play” and I couldn’t tag her out — that was an impossible embarrassment, I couldn’t allow it. I took off too, at a dead sprint. Like Gimli, I’m not so much for long runs, but dangerous across short distances. I was gaining on her, and now confidently puffed up, with a laugh I shouted “YOU CAN RUN IF YOU WANT, I’LL JUST CATCH YOU WHEN YOU’RE TIRED!”
The chase lasted probably 100-150 feet before she tripped on a tree root and fell pretty hard, but made no attempt to get back up. As I got closer, I realized she had stooped to a whole new low – playing the crying game, surely exaggerating an injury that would thus make my “tagging” of her distasteful. But then as I got closer still, I realized she was really crying, like hysterically crying. I was still mad, so as I got up to her I said “Crying won’t fucking help”, at which point she rolled on to her back and looked up at me and shouted “GET THE FUCK AWAY!”. I leaned down to make eye contact and said “it’s just a fucking game”, to which she cocked an eyebrow and said “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!”
And then it hit me.
I did not recognize this girl.
This was not Madge.
This was some girl walking to the bus station after a night class.
Horrified, mouth hanging open, the rolodex of my mind spun as I suddenly imagined what it must have been like from her perspective: a large, strange, bearded, sweaty, under-dressed man jumped out of the bushes screaming “AAARRRRrrrgh!”, and when she ran, he ran too, screaming “YOU CAN RUN IF YOU WANT, I’LL JUST CATCH YOU WHEN YOU’RE TIRED”, and when he saw her crying, said “Crying won’t fucking help”.
I wanted to apologize, I wanted to introduce myself, I wanted to explain, but all I could get out was “Hey… sorry — it was, it’s just… Hi, I’m… Hey, you know, Capture the Flag?… PLEASE DON’T CALL THE POLICE, THIS WAS ALL A MISUNDERSTANDING” and then I ran away hoping she hadn’t seen enough of my face to create a composite sketch for Campus Security.
I never ended up tagging her, or Madge for that matter, and I never went back to Capture the Flag after that (I hear it may be getting cancelled) but I probably caused some seriously deep-seated anxieties about night classes that will haunt that poor girl forever.
Dear night class girl, if you’re a Redditor, I am so sorry. I’m actually a pretty nice guy, really.
TL;DR – Today I fucked up by wanting to get back at a snooty know-it-all from Ecology class by chasing her down at a night game of Capture The Flag only to realize I’d chased down (and probably subsequently scarred) some girl from night class who wasn’t even playing.
Jesus Christ. This Madge broad got you twisted, Bro. Get a fucking grip. Or just ask her out already.