Sunday mornings are reserved for flag football.
The Long Island Flag Football League (LIFFL) sees teams from all across Long Island suit up, don colored flags around their waists and play the game of football, all for the glory of being named Nassau County champions. KDB Nation, a team comprised of members from Seaford, Wantagh, Levittown and other local towns, is always game ready.
“It’s a great league. It’s people from everywhere around New York, coming together playing football every Sunday. Can’t get better than that,” said John Puccio of Wantagh, who also serves as the team’s coach. “I love my team. We’ve been doing this for the past six years and it gets better and better every single season, especially when we’re winning.”
Established in 1982, the LIFFL was created when student and part-time Macy’s employee George Higgins recruited other nearby store employees to create football teams and have some good old fashioned fun. Thirty-four years later, teams still compete recreationally on Sundays, including KDB Nation, which plays in a five-man team division. As for the team’s name, the coach came up with it.
“KDB Nation is based off of former NFL player Chad [Ochocinco] Johnson, who came up with the term. ‘Kiss the baby’ means it’s over,” said Joe Fauci of Seaford, who plays wide receiver. “We’re the best,” he added of his team.
The weekend of June 26 saw KDB Nation face two teams: GOMD and The Black Sox. KDB Nation defeated both teams to win their third division title, which was refereed by Ralph Fornoles.
“I used to play just like them, I was the outside receiver and I was tired of giving my money away, so I ended up befriending one of the refs that was doing my game,” said Fornoles of Hicksville. “I quit playing and started reffing full-time about five years ago. As a ref, I’m friendly but I’m firm, that’s my style.”
“I’ve been playing for six years on KDB. We won our division three years in a row,” said Nick Kluender from Seaford, who plays receiver and cornerback. “It’s great, the refs are great, everything is pretty consistent and fair.”
Quarterback Mike DiClemente of Wantagh has also been on the team for years, and said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We played a great game today and now we’re onto the Long Island Championship,” he said, reflecting the team’s win for the Nassau County championship. “I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else.”
For more on the Long Island Flag Football League, visit www.liffl.com.