N.L.'s newest adult dodgeball league isn't for the faint of heart

·2 min read
Jodi Dinn, left, is one of 150 eager grown-ups playing organized dodgeball in N.L. this year. (Steve Finn/CBC - image credit)
Jodi Dinn, left, is one of 150 eager grown-ups playing organized dodgeball in N.L. this year. (Steve Finn/CBC - image credit)
Steve Finn/CBC
Steve Finn/CBC

Every Sunday at Southlands Community Center in St. John's, the teams of Dodgeball Newfoundland and Labrador get together to pelt each other with partially inflated rubber balls.

Dodgeball is known to be a fast-paced and chaotic game. For some, it may even be anxiety-inducing. Willingly signing up to be pummeled with rubber projectiles certainly doesn't sound "fun" on paper, so what would the appeal be in a game like dodgeball?

Jodi Dinn of the Jammie Dodgers says she thrives on the thrill of the game.

"[In] what other sports do you get to just whip balls that grown adults for fun and get away with it?" she said.

"That's always a bonus. And then you get on the court and you have 30 minutes of just 'go.' Your heart rate is going and it's just pure bliss when you're on the court. Fear, but bliss."

As it turns out, dodgeball has a fairly strong pulse in the metro area. Robert Andrews, the league's communications vice-president, said there's a healthy interest in signing up.

"We have 10 teams. Each team is allowed a maximum of 15 players. So you do the math, that's around 150 players," he said.

LISTEN: Hear a report about Dodgeball Newfoundland and Labrador in the latest podcast from Weekend A.M.:

That number would be larger if it weren't for current pandemic restrictions on recreational sports in the province. Public interest currently exceeds their approved capacity, and the league is at times forced to turn potential players away.

But Andrews said compared to other sports, dodgeball arguably lends itself to the social distancing aspect of safe COVID practices.

Steve Finn/CBC
Steve Finn/CBC

"When team sports were shut down and we had to apply to the provincial government to get the OK to play once again, one of the things that we highlighted was the fact that it's not a good idea generally to go congregating together on the court," he said.

"Because if you get hit by a ball that ricochets off of you and hits a teammate, well, then that's two people out. So it's advantageous to be as spread out as possible."

Dodgeball N.L. is a relatively young league, having just celebrated its one-year anniversary. Its members are known for creative, pun-heavy team names, such as The Hulk Throw-gans, The Untoucha-balls, and The Dodge Fathers.

Steve Finn/CBC
Steve Finn/CBC

In the season's final two weeks, Dodgeball N.L. will hold a single-elimination tournament to determine the league's champion team. As a recognized sub-league of Dodgeball Canada, the winning team would normally move on to compete in a national tournament.

But this year, national league games are on hold due to the pandemic.

For now, "the winning team just gets a pat on the back and the knowledge that they get to call themselves the champions," said Andrews.

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