One of the coolest pickup games

It's a fun way to tackle a societal issue.

As sports writer Erin Unerstall reported last week, Tom Matukewicz, the Southeast Missouri State University football coach, reached out to his team's leaders, asking for thoughts on what the team could do in the wake of the deaths of five Dallas police officers.

Dante Vandeven, the team's quarterback, thought of a way to use his talents to offer support to police, an idea embraced by the coach. And so the QB put out the invitation the way kids do these days, on Twitter: "Hey @CapePolice with what's going on in America right now. How about a flag football game? SEMO football vs. the Cops? [Message] if interested."

Almost immediately, the department responded. So Game on. Flags on. Officially approved by the NCAA.

Tonight Cape Girardeau will host one of the coolest pickup games of all time. To make it fair, the cops and players will intermingle on the teams. That seems just perfect, doesn't it?

Coach Tuke, as he is known, told Unerstall, "We need to do something. I'm not black. I'm not a cop. But I know what a good football team looks like, and when a good football team's together and they look to their buddy to the right, they don't see color. They see, 'Is this guy going to block for me? Is this guy going to tackle somebody for me?' I think we should be an example for people. We don't look at that. We judge them on whether they're a good teammate or not. I think that's what we should do, and that's what this event, hopefully, will be all about.

"One of the foundations of this program is community service, trying to be a difference maker in the community, and so I feel like this is a great opportunity. We have a large African American population on the team and then they can then go out to their circles and hopefully we can impact the campus."

The free event will be held at Houck Stadium starting at 6 p.m.tonight. A GoFundMe Account will be set up, and donations will be accepted at the event to raise money for The Backstoppers organization, which helps provide assistance to the families of fallen first responders.

We love the idea of a flag football game with our local officers and football players. What a great idea, a great cause and a fantastic way for college athletes to turn their talents into a movement that promotes peace and goodwill. God bless all involved. We hope it's a great game. And that everyone has a blast.