he's not playing semi-pro football -- or running the city.
"I love football," said Redmond City Manager Mike Patterson, who hasn't played the game since he was a varsity cornerback at Mead High School in Spokane, Wash., in the mid-1980s. "It's been fun. At the age of 40 you can still compete."
Patterson plays behind starting cornerbacks Pedro Joyner, 5-9, 190; and Ryan Hudson, 5-7, 180. At 5-9, 165, Patterson fits right in with that group.
He notes that the Lightning competes and practices on the weekends and has a Thursday walk through practice so it doesn't get in the way of his responsibilities to the city. Patterson has also been slowed by a nagging early season injury that has cut him out of playing time.
"I'm certainly not a superstar. I'm basically a bench player," he said. "I want to make sure this doesn't interfere with work."
The high point of the season so far for Patterson came early when he first went to practice.
"I just really enjoyed the first time I hit somebody hard," he said. That first time came when a tight end had got behind a linebacker and the linebacker hit the end from one side and Patterson from the other. The result of the collision and the linebacker's greater weight meant he (the linebacker) carried the momentum.
"They both landed on top of me, but that was a heck of a lot of fun," Patterson added.
Patterson was a track and football athlete in high school, running the 800 meters and mile in track and playing football to the consternation of his track coaches who wanted him to run cross country.
"Distance running was what I was good at," he said. "I loved football. Size doesn't matter."
He wanted to play college ball, he said, but chose to attend college at Gonzaga University, which doesn't have a football team.
Patterson says he stays in shape to relieve the stress of his job, running up to 10 miles a day. His football coaches have asked him to cut back on the distance to help his game speed.
"I have to give a pretty good cushion to keep from getting beat," he said.
Over the years, Patterson has taken more of a liking to distance running and plans to do more after playing football for one last time.
"Now I actually like distance running," he said. "The running comes easy to me now."
The High Desert Lightning's 46-man roster is full of people like Patterson who work a day job and play for the love of the sport. Their ages range from 18 and up.
The team is 4-3 on the season. They beat the Medford Rogue Warriors 16-13, May 17, and travel to Brookings Harbor May 31 for a game with the South Coast Storm.