“THWAK!” I feel instant pressure against my chest, glance down, and see the bright red foam ball bounce off of me and tumble to the gym floor. “YER OUT!” the ref shouts over a chorus of groans from my teammates. I turn and run off the court, ducking balls as they whizz past me. Oh yeah, its dodgeball season time!
I’m sure at this point you’re thinking, “Wait, dodgeball? That game we used to play back in elementary school? Aren’t you a grown adult?” Yes and double yes. Who says growing up means you have to GROW UP?
The rules are simple: the game starts with six players on either side of the court, ideally the size of a volleyball court. The object of the game is to eliminate all opposing players, by either hitting the opponent with a ball below the shoulders or catching a ball thrown by your opponent.
We play with soft foam balls instead of the hard rubber you may remember from grade school. While the outside of the balls are padded with soft foam, there’s a solid core inside. That gives the ball some density, so when you throw it, it has some weight for gravity to pull on. The foam balls are also more impact friendly, so when you’re hit there are no stings or welts to remind you of your game later on.
What’s great about dodgeball—besides feeling like a kid again—is that you’re constantly moving. You never realize just how much you’re exercising until you get off the court and find yourself dripping with sweat. It’s non-stop jockeying back and forth, running to grab balls to throw or defend yourself with, dipping, diving, and of course, ducking!
There’s also the camaraderie with your teammates and the friendly ribbing cross-court, daring the other team to try to get you out (which they take as a personal challenge, as you and your big mouth soon learn!).
So how does a grown adult find themselves on court reenacting their inner Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller from the movie “Dodgeball”? I first got involved when a co-worker introduced me to kickball, another grade school favorite, through 808 Sports Leagues. That was over four years ago, and not only have I been the captain of my kickball team for all eight seasons (there are multiple seasons during the year), but I’m now also the commissioner of the 808 Sports Dodgeball League, which is about to start its third season in March 2016.
808 Sports Leagues, which also offers flag football and volleyball, is a great organization to join if you’re looking to expand your social circle, network and of course, play schoolyard favorites with other fun-loving adults (my team "Dodgy Style" is pictured right). There are also social gatherings after games where even more shenanigans such as Jenga, shuffleboard, pool, and darts await.
If you’re interested in joining the fun, visit the 808 Sports Leagues website for more information and to sign up.
Photos courtesy of Aaron K. Yoshino.
Check out the Winter 2016 edition of Island Scene for a look into 808 Sports Leagues kickball.