Shortly after the premiere of 2004’s “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” real dodgeball centers began to pop up across the country. One such center is Maximum Dodgeball, where Mason and I attended his friend Dominic’s birthday party on Saturday.
Those of you who attended school in the 70s and 80s like I did (before school districs began banning the game) probably remember playing dodgeball. Teachers saw it as a way for kids to burn off energy and aggression, and we saw it as a way to pummel the weak without leaving scars. (Oh, who am I kidding; I was generally a pummelee rather than a pummeler.) For all intents and purposes, the game hasn’t changed much. There are a few new rules here and there (which could simply be old rules that I’ve forgotten) but the goal remains the same — tag, and avoid being tagged.
The birthday party began with a rule session, provided by an official dodgeball referee (and, during the party, the only present employee). The referee made himself useful during the games. (Let’s just say the honor system doesn’t work that well among six and seven year olds.) Once the rules had been explained, teams were divided up, and the game was on.
After 30 minutes or so, a “parents vs. kids” game was announced. With nothing to lose, a few parents (including myself) took to the court. We won the first round, the kids won the second, and the parents edged out a third victory. After that, parents remained out on the court, some on each team. Probably the highlight of the afternoon was when I went to beam the ball at a fellow adult, missed, and popped the birthday boy in the face, knocking him down. In the end it was all good, and I even gave the kid a free shot to make up for it.
I ended up playing dodgeball for 90 minutes straight before the party concluded, at which point we hopped in the truck and zipped back to the house just in time for Mason to change into his soccer gear and head out to the game.
Maximum Dodgeball has an adult league if anyone wants to get a team together. Anyone? Bueller?