By Anna Maria Gardiner, Raleigh Norris, and Hayley Younginer
At the sound of the whistle, red gator skin dodge balls fly across the gym, signaling the start of the annual and greatly anticipated dodgeball tournament, which is hosted by student council each year.
“The energy surrounding dodgeball is always electric and invigorating,” junior Sean Riehm said. “It’s a huge deal, especially for the players.”
The roster for this year’s tournament quickly filled up as friends decided to create a team. Some admissions were surprising, such as the Dazzler’s group–the only all-girls team that entered.
“It felt good to be the only girls team,” senior Tia Dye said. “I feel like we tried to break the stereotype of ‘throwing the ball like a girl.’”
Although the Dutch Fork baseball team has won the tournament the past two years, they were defeated this year by a new team that called themselves “K United,” a close knit group of friends who thought they would have a good chance of stealing the title, which was proven.
“Me and my teammates are really competitive so winning the tournament was great,” senior Tyler Gasque said. “No one expected us to win at all, so winning felt awesome, especially after facing my friends and beating them.”
The dodgeball tournament is not only exciting for the players, but for the volunteers that help out as well. Administrator Jason Pollock looks forward to refereeing the event each year.
“I enjoy helping out with the tournament each year because it’s a chance for students to have a release of stress by taking out their energy on one another–just not in a malicious way,” Pollock said.
Students going all-out and being overly competitive in the dodgeball tournament is both exciting and comical to those who come to watch in the stands.
“It was hilarious to see the different team names and their outfits,” sophomore Jenna Bradfute said. “The guys acted like they were fighting for their lives.”
Dressing in tacky uniforms and pegging friends as hard as possible isn’t what the tournament was all about this year, however. Student council decided to link the event with a fundraiser by requiring each team to donate ten canned foods in order to enter the roster.
“We talked about the dodgeball tournament the same class that we were discussing fundraiser ideas, so about halfway through the class we had the idea of adding the two concepts together and everyone thought it was a great idea,” freshman student council member Sarah Peak said.
With ten teams entering the tournament, student council was able to raise 100 cans. Student council advisor Bill Robinson was pleased with the outcome.
“I think using the tournament as a way to collect cans was a success because it put a spin on something that we traditionally have only done for fun,” Robinson said. “We found a way to turn a simple activity into something that gives back to the community.”
Student council is planning on hosting one more tournament this year in the spring. Any student interested in joining the fun is welcomed to sign up.
“I think the beauty of dodgeball is that you don’t have to be overly athletic to participate,” Sean said. “Of course, it helps to have a cannon for an arm and be nimble on your feet, but it’s simple and anyone can play it. That’s why it’s such an attractive game.”
The reigning champions, “K United,” welcome any competitors and are ready for an intense battle of dodgeball in the spring in order to keep their well-deserved trophy.
“My team will definitely return for the next tournament,” Tyler said. “We have to defend our title of dodgeball tournament champions.”