Agility. Balance. And a little trash talking.
You’ll need them all for dodgeball. And the occasional ice pack when you fall awkwardly. Which you will do many times.
Think it’s easy? About 25 dodgeball teams in town for the Cintron Sportsfest Niagara are calling you out. They take great joy in pummeling newbies with their red, spongy balls.
“This is the only workout in the world you actually want to do,” said Toronto’s Rachel Power, whose team Zeus’ Beard went on an early win streak Saturday for the two-day event’s inaugural Dodgeball Mania tournament. It was held at the Scotiabank Convention Centre
With their red shirts and … uh, togas, Zeus’ Beard plays at least three times a week and hit every Ontario tournament they can.
“You use every part of your body, and you end up getting very sore, very quickly,” says team member Paul MacNaughtan.
Even throwing the ball can be trouble. One colleague broke his arm in three places. “Because you’re throwing something really light, really hard,” explains Power.
Adds team captain Ian Chalmers: “Basically, we live with elbow tendonitis.”
The other teams were as colourful as advertised. They came in neon. They came barefoot. At least one came with a robot mascot (Club Seven).
The Scotiabank Convention Centre team was decked out in pink to recognize cancer victims, whose names they had on the backs of their shirts.
None of them play dodgeball. They didn’t even practice. But they had fun getting schooled.
“We’ve lost every game we’ve played,” said Pretty in Pink team captain Steve McIntyre with a shrug. “Fourteen.”
“It’s not a hard game … until you go out there and play. When you look around here, the average age is 21. We don’t fit that!”
Even so, he was amused to see one of their opponents sporting a sign that read ‘Rest in Peace, Pretty in Pink.’
“Although we suck, we’ve intimidated the hell out of everybody! It’s our team camaraderie that scares them, not our talent.”
The Sportsfest weekend included coaching clinics, volleyball, gymnastics, curling and martial arts. Events took place in Niagara Falls, Welland and St. Catharines.
It’s also the final event of the Winter Festival of Lights season. General manager Dino Fazio sees huge potential in the sports-oriented weekend, especially if more dodgeball players come out of the closet.
“It’s like anything, you’ve got to plant the seed in Year One and keep watering it.”
Niagara Falls Review