Super Bowl Sunday was a Flick and Zynen family tradition.
The children attended the same church and school and used to get together over Christmas. But years ago they opted to celebrate the big game instead, the Zynen family said Tuesday.
Micah Flick, a “mischievous boy” growing up, liked the rivalry of it, they said, and took advantage of Sunday’s showdown between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.
“He was the only one rooting for the Pats … just to aggravate us,” Rachel (Zynen) Riley said.
No one knew that the cheers and gentle ribbing they’d share during Super Bowl LII would be Micah Flick’s last.
]Flick, an 11-year deputy with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, was killed Monday in a shooting that wounded two other deputies, a Colorado Springs police officer and a civilian.
The gunman also was killed.
Football wasn’t limited to the Super Bowl for Flick, though.
The 2002 graduate of the Colorado Springs Christian School was the football team’s quarterback in his junior and senior years, and he led the team to its first playoff berth in the fall of 2001.
“There are a lot of people who look at being a starting quarterback, a varsity player, as something that can be used to brag, to improve your own life. That was not Micah,” said his former football coach, Mason Young.
CSCS didn’t have a field 15 years ago, so players had to haul dummies, cones and blocking sleds into vans and cars to a city park for practices. Flick and other older students didn’t make freshmen set everything up, Young said, but instead set an example.
“Micah wanted to live out his faith,” said Young, now the CSCS high school principal. “He believed he had been given gifts and talents to make things better for other people, so it didn’t surprise me he would be in a profession where he would be able to use those.”
Roland DeRenzo, superintendent of Colorado Springs Christian Schools, described Flick as “a great young man, a great student and a great athlete.”
Former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who was speaking at a gala fundraiser for the Christian schools Tuesday night, was revising his remarks to honor Flick, DeRenzo said.
“Obviously, there’s profound sadness in the whole CSCS community,” DeRenzo said. “It was pre-planned that we would highlight military and first responders, so we have an opportunity to really pay tribute and make some special remarks about those who have given their lives in the line of duty.
Among the 1,000 attendees to attend the gala were Mayor John Suthers, who also was addressing the crowd, and Rachel Swasey and her two children. Her husband, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Police Officer Garrett Swasey, was killed two years ago while responding from his post at UCCS to a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
The couple’s children attend CSCS.
“Officer Swasey’s children are a deep part of our community, and we’ve been able to assist them in their healing and the grief they’ve endured,” DeRenzo said. “It’s a close-knit community, and everyone is hurting.”
Flick, 34, had been a member of New Life Church for 20 years. Flick and his wife, Rachael, were married at New Life and regularly attended services with their 7-year-old twins, a girl and a boy. Rachael leads a 300-member Mother of Preschoolers group at the church as well.
Tuesday afternoon, Rachael and Flick’s parents were at the church, being consoled by senior pastor Brady Boyd.
“They are heartbroken and devastated by the loss,” Boyd said. “But they’re resilient. They’re good people, and their faith is strong. So I have a lot of hope for them.
“As Christ followers, we are a people who believe in hope; we don’t believe death has the final word over our lives,” Boyd said.
Everyone who knew Flick says the same things about him, Boyd said.
“He was full of life, zeal and passion for his job, and he took it very seriously,” he said. “He was very faithful.”
A public memorial is tentatively set for 1 p.m. Saturday at New Life Church, 11025 Voyager Parkway, Boyd said.
He expects “standing-room only” in his church’s auditorium, which seats 6,000.
At Colorado Springs Christian School, alumni from around the world have “poured out their condolences,” DeRenzo said.
When Flick graduated from CSCS, Young said, he talked about joining the military, becoming a law enforcement officer or working as a missionary.
“I’m sure his teammates and classmates feel the same way: When you work together, when you sacrifice with each other, when you sweat, bind up each other’s wounds and bleed together, there’s a connection that goes beyond words. There’s a heart that hurts,” the former coach said.
The Zynen family members now have those hurting hearts - and poignant memories of their last Super Bowl with Micah.
“As we were leaving, I remember seeing him and his wife holding hands on the couch,” an emotional Riley said of her last memory of Flick.
The family said they want “to make sure everyone knows how amazing he was.”
Several words stood out in defining Micah Flick.
First was “servant,” Kerri Zynen said.
Having grown up in the church, Flick “served God, first and foremost.” But he didn’t stop there. He also served his wife and his 7-year-old twins — a boy and a girl. Riley said he also “guided” his family.
Finally, he served his community, for which “he ended up giving the ultimate sacrifice,” Kerri Zynen said.
“The reality of every police officer is not knowing if you’re coming home, and that is becoming real and hitting so close to home,”she said.
The sisters’ mother, Pat Zynen, said she grieves for her friends — Flick’s parents, Tim and Chenoa Flick — who “have been a light in our community.”
“We want them to know how much we care for them, how our hearts are broken for them and how much we love them,” Pat Zynen said.
Because the families were so close, Micah was like the son she never had, Pat Zynen said.
“When he was a young man, I’d say, ‘Micah, give me a son to hug because I don’t have one,’ even though he didn’t like hugs,” she said. “(During the Super Bowl), even though I have a son-in-law now, I told him I need a hug.
“He was a mischievous boy and a loving adult,” Pat Zynen said.
“He was just a really good man,” Stacey Zynen said.