Disco, Déj Vu: Mac Intramural Dodgeball takes you back

By Daniel Kerwin

You probably never thought that the PE dodgeball classes you had as a kid would ever come in handy. When would you ever be confined to a small space and have round objects ruthlessly hurled at you again? Maybe if you went into professional theater or if you had to defend your house against Halloween eggers. Certainly you wouldn’t need those kinds of skills in college, right? And then there was Macalester intramural dodgeball, the perfect place to relive all the old dodgeball memories.

“The last time I played was probably in elementary school,” Kate Ganong ’10 said. “I loved it then and wanted to recreate that experience in college.”

Sixteen teams are taking part in intramural dodgeball this year, with each team having at least eight players. This means that at least 128 students are taking part, and not all of them are in it simply to relive the past.

“It’s a legal way to fling projectiles at human targets without the risk of serious injury,” Mike Kapernaros ’10 said. “Come on, how many other sports can say that?”

The conflict between social play and all out slugfest has been a part of dodgeball since its conception in 1905. According to the National Amateur Dodgeball Association, in dodgeball “experience is countered by enthusiasm. Dodgeball promotes maximum social enjoyment.” But according to the 2004 movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, “dodgeball is a sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.”

The same conflict is found in the Macalester version of the game. Tempers and emotions flare in almost every contest, even though it is a friendly intramural sport. Rules seemingly change from week to week, causing the most heated encounters.

“Everyone has their own conceptions of what dodgeball is, but at Macalester intramural dodgeball, we go by the rules that are written on the sheet, it’s not individual conceptions,” said Ross Donihue ’11, who has been refereeing games. “Emotions can flare, but we must keep in perspective this is dodgeball. It’s a great outlet for people.”

“The competitive nature some players bring to the game generally creates a fun atmosphere, however an excessively competitive attitude works to the detriment of everyone’s experience,” Zane Smith ’10 said.

Still, those that play the game according to the NADA, for the “maximum social enjoyment”, can be quite unaffected by such disputes.

“I just watch people fight about the calls and laugh because the people you would expect to be the most calm end up yelling the most,” Ganong said.

“I don’t think anyone holds a grudge after the game, personally, I don’t, ever,” Kapernaros said. “It’s intramural dodgeball, not the World Championships.”

So what is Macalester intramural dodgeball all about? Learn the rules, come up with an outrageous team name, and remember the skills you learned in grade school and you can see for yourself.