The D’s of Dodgeball
Shawn Bell, former editor of Wawatay News, holds the ball during a match at the 7th Annual GenNext Dodgeball Tournament for the United Way. Team veterans Saturn Magashazi and team sponsor Tony McGuire of THEY MEDIA watch in queue.
Tony McGuire of THEY Media, (hidden) Preme Palosaari, recording artist, Herman Hanshke of Safeguard Business Systems, Daniel Juenke, (hidden) Shawn Bell, student, Roxy Shapwaykeesic of Wawatay News, Saturn Magashazi of Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School give a high-five after a successful bout of dodgeball. The team made semi-finals where they were taken out in the last best-of-give game.
The 7th Annual GenNext Dodgeball Tournament was held March 22nd at the Lowreys’s Sports Dome in Thunder Bay. The zombie themed team raised over $800 for the event.
With the alarm set extra early, the captain of the Dodgemauls wakes up an hour and 15 minutes late. The ghost alarm would only go off from Monday to Friday, not the Saturday morning she needed it to.
The team ‘walk out’ was scheduled for March 22, 9:10 a.m. Giving her 25 minutes to shower, change, and get the last minute supplies for the team waiting for her at the Lowrey’s Sports Dome.
All is well. We are simultaneously looking for last minute players to man a full team. Last minute dropouts can’t be avoided.
For four consecutive years a core team has fundraised and participated in the United Way Dodgeball Tournament. This was the third year I took on the team captain role. As I sat in my car, driving and rushing and thinking, and planning, I wondered what in zulu I was doing with myself.
The next day, when I was barely able to move, I wondered again.
It occurred to me the D’s of Dodgeball were nearly the same as the D’s of life.
Dodgeball is not for the faint of heart. It’s war. Man vs. man and man vs. himself.
The first D is Dedication.
The New Year rolls around and in the -50 degree weather you wonder how life could proceed outside the heated walls of work and home. But there it is, the much anticipated e-mail finally arrives.
Registration time has presented itself. That means a team must be made, pledges must be hunted, registration money must be gathered, release forms, thank you notes, waivers of all sorts signed and distributed. You dedicate yourself to this cause. A cause you believe in, and hey, it’s fun too. That is if you think going around taking peoples money is fun.
Put on your biggest smile and get excited, that’s the best way to get pledges. I personally try to reach a higher goal every year. Get happy about it, because fundraising isn’t always easy. Your friends will be happy they stopped by to visit you too with $20 less in their pocket. The only thing better than giving is getting, and then giving again to a charitable cause. Put yourself out there and go get ‘em!
The next D is Diversity.
From year to year a team comes together and for one day they give it their all. This year we had a great core of players who are seasoned veterans. These people have such different backgrounds and for one day we stand side by side in the court.
We have computer sciences background, media specialists, performers, a law student, athletes, parents, and a graphic designer.
Then there’s the other 24 teams who joined. Hundreds of grown adults throwing balls at each other like a bunch of grade school kids, having fun and taking names.
You just gotta have it. Doesn’t really matter what you’re doing, if it’s not there it’s going to make life tame and lame. Get up and go, go have some fun, get out of your comfort zone, meet some new people and join that new thing that’ll lead to more new things. Dodgeball is full of people with drive. We all want something more, we all want to be part of something bigger. Drive pushes you through when things get hard, keeps you coming back for more. The rewards are worth the perseverance.
You’re going to need to know how to Dodge.
Throwing the ball will only bring you half the glory, if you don’t know how to dodge, you’ll be sitting on those sidelines. And it’s not as fun there. Believe me, I know.
On your day of reckoning you find yourself standing in front of your opposition, six balls are lined up in between your team and the other staring back at you in ready position.
The anticipation boils up as the main clock counts down and the announcer howls into the speakers: “Five! Four! Three!...” The runners are on the right, getting ready to retrieve the balls in center and bring them back. Everybody is tense, then with great relief, a horn blows and whistles blare all over the court. The runners leap forward and then: utter chaos.
Balls are flying everywhere, whistles going, people getting pelted, people running in every direction, yelling and cheering and laughing fill the entire day.
And when it’s all said and done and you limp away, you feel a sense of accomplishment.
Spirits are high. You didn’t come out as top team but that’s not why you’re there.
It’s mission accomplished. You showed up and didn’t sit on the sidelines.
You and your fellow comrades, the organizers, the volunteers, the audience, the pledgers, the sponsors, all came together and made a small difference in a big way.
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