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Arlington Dodgeball Has Success in First Ever Tournament

Photo by Spencer Croft/SENTRY

Photo by Spencer Croft/SENTRY

Patrick Rita, Sentry Staff Reporter

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The scene at Kenmore Middle School over the weekend of April 25 and 26 would have made ol’ Patches O’Houlihan proud. From teams comprised of elementary schoolers to a team who called themselves “the old timers,” (which was even an understatement), people everywhere were dodging, dipping, ducking and diving with the intent of bringing home more bragging rights than Arlington has ever seen.

As a player myself, playing in this tournament felt like a brief return to summer camp or elementary school physical education. The only difference was that now the referees, who used to be camp counselors or teachers, were now sophomores Patrick Wallace and Hayden Kickbush. These two get the credit for creating the nonprofit organization Arlington Dodgeball, which hosted its first ever charity dodgeball tournament in Arlington County. The idea for the tournament came from a visit to Hawaii, where Wallace saw firsthand how awesome a community dodgeball tournament can be, and was especially inspired by how the community came together to compete against one another. It is often said that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and Wallace and Kickbush immediately wanted to create their own dodgeball tournament in A-Town.

Unfortunately, setting up a dodgeball tournament takes a little bit more than a few phone calls and favors. First, the sophomores had to create a Virginia company and file for nonprofit status. Next, they created a website, hung flyers, and, after months of planning, finally put together the tournament.

The purpose of the tournament, as Kickbush put it, was “just to have fun.” However, he was quick to add that he and Wallace “want to give back to some of the local schools with the extra donations that we get once we cover the cost of the tournament.”

Specifically, Kickbush and Wallace planned for the money from donations and Arlington Dodgeball T-shirt sales to go towards helping local schools get new gym and playground equipment.

Contrary to popular belief, dodgeball is not an illegal activity in and of itself. Rather, it is simply illegal for Physical Education classes to play the controversial sport. Violent? Debateable. Legal? Of course. Dodgeball Club has thrived in the past, but only as an after school club.  Arlington Dodgeball was only able to exist because it was not directly affiliated with APS Physical Education.

“We did not actually have to go through Kenmore to play dodgeball.  While it is illegal for schools to play dodgeball, the only legal thing we had to do was fill out lease forms [for the gym space],” said Wallace.

The rules against dodgeball actually encouraged the tournament.  Because it is forbidden in the schools, Kickbush and Wallace figured that it would be refreshing to host a game that many people have not played in years.  While the future of this tournament is uncertain, this event definitely brought back some of the past as grown men and children alike were hurling dodgeballs with bloodthirst and excitement and treating every out as devastating as a casualty. Only in dodgeball, only in Arlington.

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Arlington Dodgeball Has Success in First Ever Tournament