Let’s talk about dodgeball. No, not the cult-classic Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn movie, but the real deal Holyfield. Sounds funny, right? It’s a game we all grew up playing in gym class throughout school. Maybe you were the first-targeted elite player, or maybe you stood behind everyone until you absolutely had to move from the shadows and be involved. You probably haven’t played it since then, have you? Would you believe there are social and elite leagues all over the country? Just this last week, ESPN-U was recording the 2018 Dodgeball World Cup at Madison Square Garden, and I was there as a ref and line judge. When I say World Cup, you may think of soccer. Just like soccer, teams from all over the world will come to a given destination to compete for the glory of the Cup.
I didn’t just sign up to work the World Cup by way of some craigslist ad in the city; no, I have played for about two and a half years with Sandlot Sports, based here in New York City. First, I signed up on a whim by recommendation from some Facebook group, as a suggestion for a way to make friends (.. and boy have I!). Since then, I’ve stuck with it and my level and skill of play has climbed. I’ve even been a team captain a few times to date. I still feel pretty inconsistent at times – some games I’m confident both as a thrower or catcher, and some games I make a boneheaded attempt for a grab or trip on a ball and fall hard on my ass. Even worse, one of my teammates just this season broke her leg last week!
Anyway. Dodgeball. It’s an extremely simple game, you’ve heard of it and you’ve more than likely played it. Whether or not you’re any good at it or sports in general isn’t too big a deal when you might consider signing up in your area. It’s more about the community and the friends you’ll make playing a grade school game you didn’t think adults would rent gyms or park spaces to play. It’s about having fun, being a little competitive, and then, well, getting drunk.
You see, it’s more than a sport – we do things together.. like drink and play other sports or fantasy sports together. You’ll make friends if you show up and you put yourself out there. It’s really just that easy. So come out and play, grab a ball, and throw hard. Check Google or MeetUp to see if there’s a dodgeball league near you, I promise you’ll enjoy it. Just don’t hit someone in the face, because then you’re out – not them!
Spencer H. is a contributer to King of the Chill living in New York City. He enjoys orange juice with his pizza for some reason and he’s apparently in a pretty important dodgeball league. Follow him on Instagram.