By Chet Greason, Staff reporter
Try to imagine a narrow cage of chainlink fence. You’re at one end, while a huge, hulking brute barrels down upon you from the other. He fires projectiles at you, and you weave around them, motivated by the primal screams of the frothing crowd that surrounds the cage, thirsty for action and high on the sense of impending violence.
A scene from a John Carpenter movie set in a dystopian future, perhaps? Nope. This is Dodgeball. And it’s happening right now, right here in St. Marys.
Saturday, July 28 sees the fifth annual Dodgeball Classic at Milt Dunnell Field. The narrow cage will be set up along the edge of the Kin Summerfest Beer Tent and, new this year, will be filled with sand. The tournament starts at 1 p.m. and will feature teams of six face off against one another in a no-throws-barred elimination match.
Also new this year, participants taking part in the Dodgeball tournment will have their Beer Tent Saturday night admission included in their entry fee ($10 per player).
You can register your team on the tournament’s Facebook page (under 5th Annual Dodge Ball Classic). Teams can consist of more than six players, however only six players will compete per match. Hurry, though, as spaces for teams are filling up quickly.
To illustrate just how intensive adult dodgeball can be, the Journal Argus spoke with some of the battle-scarred veterans who have participated in the gruelling tournament in past years. Here are their accounts:
• “The Funeral Homies are a pretty dominating team. They always seem to intimidate the heck out of me. Two years ago (my first year) was epic…The rain made the stage perfect. I remember doing a face plant into the mud to avoid getting nailed. The entire atmosphere was sweet, from dodgeball to the mud wrestling in that huge flood puddle.” — Aaron Akins, Rax and Sax (2011 Champions)
• “My most vivid memory of past dodgeball tournaments would be from the first year and being hit by a ball. This hit was square in the chest and thrown by a very large Dutch man. Before that happened, I viewed playing in a dodgeball tournament as a quaint way to spend an afternoon. But after that merciless blow it quickly dawned on me that adult dodgeball is anything but a sissy sport.
“Also the many groin hits over the years bring a smile to my face and a thankfulness that it hasn’t happen to me yet.” — Andrew Hodges, The Funeral Homies (2010 Champions)
• “Just as I was unleashing the fury on the opposing team the ref blew the whistle to stop the play. It was too late. The ball had already left my hand and was flying towards an opponent’s face. Just before it made contact she smacked it out of the way with her arm, injuring her wrist. She stared at me. I could see the rage in her eyes. Technically, it wasn’t my fault. The ref had said ‘game on’ and then, five seconds later, blew the whistle to stop the play. I felt like saying to her, ‘Listen, this is dodgeball. You better get use to balls coming at your face or maybe you should try another sport…Like lawn bowling’.” — Adam Wheal, What Would Jesus Dodge? (2009 Champions)