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‘My mother was the athlete of the family:’ Darren Flutie talks about a life centered on sports

Darren Flutie (front) played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1988.KEVIN FRAYER

Darren Flutie was chosen as a wide receiver on the Globe’s All-Time All-Scholastic football team. As part of the project, he discussed his football life with us. Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Q: What are some of your fondest memories of Massachusetts high school football?

DF: At Natick, we won the ‘82 and ‘83 state championships and we had that winning streak of like, 44 straight wins. So you can imagine those were just great memories. My junior year we beat Melrose in the state championship. And it was that 35-34 game that we won with seconds left, and the bus ride back to Natick, our fans were parked on the side of the street from 495 all the way back to Route 27 in Natick. It was a real sense of community. We’d get about 5,000 to 8,000 people at our high school games every week. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but it seemed like a lot back then.

We had never been to a state championship, at least, not in the near past, so it was all new to us. But we had a lot of guys playing both ways. And I remember it being like 70 something degrees in December, and just being so fatigued, like giving every ounce of energy you had and then still more. So the five or six of us that played both ways were extremely tired. But they scored late, and then missed the extra point and there was a minute 20 or something left on the clock. To gather that energy, when I felt like I didn’t have anything left, to be able to come through on that last drive with four or five carries that helped our team and to score the winning touchdown, and then the winning extra point. I think when I scored that extra point, I barely got into the end zone and I jumped into someone’s arms. And I didn’t even know who it was. But it was my brother watching the game on the sidelines.


Q: Football has always been a family affair for the Fluties. Your dad said in 1986 “You can make a family come out in many ways. Some benefit most from religion, some from community activities like scouting, and some benefit from sports. It has turned out that way for the Flutie family, and we’re happy to have achieved success from it.” What does it mean to you that your family has been so successful in the sport and why do you think that is?


DF: Our family was centered around whoever’s game it was that day or that weekend, sometimes you’d be driving to three games. And that was the most important thing we had going on. I didn’t know what else was going on in the world, but I knew if my brothers had games I was going to be there watching it. It can be a bonding thing within your family.

My father coached us and was involved in all our sports, and my mother was the athlete of the family. She was by far the best athlete. We got all our athletic ability from my mother. I just remember being like 15, and she raced me down our street, it was like 40, 50 yards maybe. And she didn’t beat me by much, but she beat me. I don’t know how old she was when I was 15, I’d say mid 30s, maybe later, and she could still run. She was just so athletic. She didn’t play sports, really, because they had a family when she was probably 18 or 19 or something like that. But she was tough as nails and so athletic. Just fast and strong.


Q: You and Doug had very similar career paths: the same high school, both of you being at BC, and the CFL eventually. Were you conscious of that while it was happening?

DF: I’m certainly conscious of it. Doug and I are more similar than anybody would ever really know. We’re both like 5-10ish, and 175, 180 on a bad day, 170 maybe on a good day. But, we’d get the same types of injuries. And when we’d come home in the offseason, we’d always work out together. We had this running program, it was hills, speed, and then we’d do this three and a half mile run that was a lot of hills.

We were very competitive with each other. It was great to have somebody that knew exactly what you’re working toward. Him being quarterback and me playing receiver, he understood what I needed to do, and I understood everything he needed to do. He was my brother, but it was closer than that. We were inseparable in the offseasons as far as working out and the things we did in the offseason.


He has two children. I have two children. Our kids are born on the same days. My daughter’s November 30, his son’s November 30. His daughter’s March 21, and my son is March 21. I mean, I could go through like 100, things like that.

Read more about the Globe’s all-time All-Scholastic football team

Julian E.J. Sorapuru is a Development Fellow at the Globe and can be reached at Follow him @JulianSorapuru