By: Jason Lewis
Deep down in all of us there lies a competitive spirit. A drive to reign supreme in sports. To dominate on the battlefield and bask in the glory of victory. To handle adversity and ultimately triumph over our opposition.
But unfortunately, we are not all 6’5″ in height. We can’t all run as fast as lightning. We can’t all bench press the entire weight room.
But chin up, everyday athletes, one sport is picking up steam. A sport that anybody, at any fitness level, cannot only play, but excel at. Can dominate. Can athletically thrive. You know that sport, the one we all played in elementary school P.E. class. The one Vince Vaughn taught us to know and love. The reason we get that desire to launch a ball at Ben Stiller’s face.
The game of dodgeball.
Dodgeball has gained popularity with adults largely because of its social component. It’s a sport that any everyday athlete can hop into and play. It’s accessible, fun, and invading rec parks all over.
“It’s a good way to get a break from work,” said Gregg Taylerson, who has been playing dodgeball for two years. “Especially when you get over a certain age and out of college, you don’t really have a good way to socialize, or let a little bit of daily life and stress go. We really stress social life here, and it’s a really good way to meet people, and it’s a good way to release energy and stay active.”
Playing this sport as a child may not have been every student’s favorite gym activity, but it’s a totally different ball game in adult dodgeball leagues.
“Anybody can be good,” Taylerson said. “It’s just about having a good time. Everybody here [is an adult], and nobody tries to get too serious. I can’t stress how much fun I have playing it, and I’m 41 years old.”
Dodgeball leagues offer pickup games, as well as organized league play, and these players get in the zone before they hit the court. Just like professional athletes, dodgeballers tape up, put on their compression tights, and lace up their Nikes.
“It’s kind of the whole experience to put yourself in the zone,” said Greg Correia, who plays for the Dodge Fathers. “There’s artificial lighting here, so you don’t need eye black… But you put eye black on because it puts you in the game. You’re ready to go. It’s all a ritual.”
And most teams have a theme – many of them as zany as possible. Dodgeballers can wear anything they want, and they push those nonexistent limits. From 1970s and ’80s themes to full costumes, the freedom of expression through competition fosters the unique socialization of the game.
“This is a laid-back way to be competitive and really just to have fun,” Correia said. “I mean, you’re throwing balls at people. You’re throwing balls at your friends. There is true athletic competition, and then there’s social competition. We all meet up at a bar afterwards and hang out.”
From a fitness standpoint, dodgeball is an extremely beneficial game.
“It’s a good way to stay in shape, keep the joints loose, and keep the mental capacity going too,” Taylerson said.
Before each game there’s a stretch and warm-up period. Taylerson points out that playing dodgeball can be similar to playing baseball in the necessity for a warm-up. A player has to prepare or he could easily throw out an elbow or shoulder. Because of the high aerobic nature of the game, strained or even pulled muscles can be a problem if the body is not properly warmed up.
Dodgeball can certainly be played as a means of improving fitness, and factoring in the social aspect, it attracts people from all walks of life. And the growing popularity is giving beer league softball a run for its money.
For more information about dodgeball leagues, visit Dodgeball4ever’s website.