For all the clichés used to soften references to age — “a hundred years young” comes to mind — there is no getting around the fact that Lee Krost, a Richmond native and current resident of Connecticut, has nearly three-quarters of a century behind him. But in his case, age really may be just a number.
Krost, 74, quarterbacks a flag football team in Norwalk, Conn., a mid-sized town a stone’s throw from the state’s capital, Hartford. On the first day he walked onto the field, other players were understandably skeptical. Like a real-life Uncle Drew — the geriatric slam-dunking commercial character played by the NBA’s Kyrie Irving — Krost promptly won over his much younger peers with natural ability. His quarterbacking skills don’t seem to have faded since his days at Douglas Freeman High School. “The thing that wows me the most is that he’s never slowed down,” says his son, Lucas.
In October, Lucas, a Richmond-based filmmaker, noticed an NFL ad campaign, “Together We Make Football.” The structure was simple: interesting videos about the love of football would be submitted to an online competition, 10 nominees would be selected by the NFL, and five winners would be selected by fans. Lucas had been working for years on a short film about his father’s flag football career, and edited his movie down to the three-minute requirement, submitting his video alongside 6,000 others. When the NFL announced the nominees on Thanksgiving Day, Lucas’ film made the cut.
When the voting ends Dec. 23, five contestants will win a trip to the Super Bowl that includes a sideline view. NFL Films may also develop a longer documentary about the winners’ stories.
The Richmond Vikings and Rebels, semi-pro teams, both employed Krost as a quarterback during the ’50s and ’60s. His efforts earned him a call from the Baltimore Colts in 1963, but he missed his shot at the pros in part due to the incumbent quarterback, a name that definitely dates him — the legendary Johnny Unitas. After so many years, Krost has made his triumphant return to the football field, in search only of victory. He calls the feeling of winning a football game “the best feeling in the world.”
Some say Krost’s greatest achievement in the flag football league is being there in the first place at his age, but Krost just wants to win, and he doesn’t want to stop. “Being athletic at 75 years old is a wonderful goal, but clearly that’s not enough for him,” says Lucas. “He wants to win.” As if to affirm this statement, his father declares in the video (at togetherwemakefootball.com), “I’ll be back next year, man. I’m here. Bring it on, baby. There’s nothing that can bother me.”