In the 2004 movie “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” legendary dodgeball star Patches O’Houlihan says, “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”
Fortunately, kids who sign up for Spokane Youth Sports Association’s new dodgeball program won’t have to test the veracity of that statement. In fact, according to program coordinator LeRoy Woodrich, the activity that once was relegated to P.E. class or school recess, has become a kinder, gentler sport.
“They’ve made it safer,” he said. “They use foam balls instead of the rubber balls that used to sting when we were kids.”
Woodrich said SYSA is always looking for new programs to start in the winter months. “Winter is kind of a slow season for sports.”
Beginning Feb. 25, SYSA will offer two divisions: middle school (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12).
Dodgeball has become an increasingly popular activity, and it’s not just for kids. Angela Cosby, recreation manager for Spokane County Parks, said the county has been offering adult dodgeball tournaments for approximately eight years. “We have one-night tournaments, four times a year at North Side and Valley locations,” she said.
For example, dodgeball enthusiasts age 16 and older will have an opportunity to participate in the St. Paddy’s Day SMASH, on March 12. This is a coed event, with T-shirts and gift certificates going to the winning teams.
Adriano Eva at Spokane Parks and Recreation said the city is eager to get in on the dodgeball action too. Spokane Parks and Recreation recently joined the National Amateur Dodgeball Association and they are currently discussing a partnership with SYSA to launch a sanctioned dodgeball league for all ages.
Also in the works; a summer league jointly organized by Spokane County Parks, Spokane Valley Parks and Spokane City Parks. Eva said the games would be played at Riverfront Park and feature three adult coed divisions and a high school coed division.