Flickerball is a uniquely Davidson sport – first invented on campus in the fall of 1951, flickerball was originally called tag football or tag game. As an article in the October 12, 1951 issue of The Davidsonian states, tag football’s “only resemblance to actual football is the ball.” This new tag game combined some rules of basketball and tag football, and evolved over the years from a fraternity-dominated pastime to an intramural sport played by nearly all Davidson College freshmen on dormitory hall teams.
As an article by Jack Efird in the October 5, 1951 Davidsonian says, “This fall a new type of football will be introduced onto the intra-fraternity gridiron. Because of numerous injuries incurred last year and in past years, touch football has been dropped from play and tag football has been substituted.” The Davidsonian faithfully covered flickerball games weekly over the fall season from the inaugural championship in 1951 (won by the Kappa Alpha team) until the mid-1980s.
While the game was created with the intention of being safer than football, flickerball has still resulted in some gnarly injuries, as illustrated in the November 10, 2010 Davidsonian article, “Flickerball: Freshman fun or blood sport?” Author Sarah Welty points to the change from flag to touch play as a possible reason for the increase of injuries in “the part football, part ultimate Frisbee hybrid we all know and love.”
This week, we thought we’d share some of the images we have of this Davidson sport being played and practiced throughout the years.
While flickerball is a fall sport, with the coming of lovely spring weather Davidsonians may want to venture outdoors to practice their “new tag game” skills!