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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Don’t dodge your inner child

J.D. Larson Correspondent

Although the 2004 movie had a lot to do with dodgeball’s recent resurgence, there also exists the desire of adults to return to the halcyon times of elementary school.

More specifically, it was the one place you could throw things at other people without getting in trouble.

Kristian Nelson remembers it fondly.

That’s why Nelson’s lounge, Medley’s, is co-sponsoring the second annual Dodgefest, a dodgeball tournament Saturday and Sunday in the Spokane Valley.

“I’m 47 years old,” Nelson said. “I remember back when during every recess, we would play dodgeball. This is kind of a way of getting back to when you were a kid chucking rubber balls at each other.”

Dodgefest, a double-elimination tournament in which each match is a best-of-3 format, has more than doubled last year’s 22 registered teams this year.

They even have the first champion back looking to repeat.

Team Hillyard, which includes Rogers softball head coach Cris Coffield and the Pirates’ wrestling coach, Shawn Carney, won the tournament last year, dropping only one game.

The pair of Rogers coaches saw an ad for the tournament and entered the tournament with a couple of Coffield’s family members.

“He plays (dodgeball) with the wrestlers and I play with my P.E. classes,” Coffield said. “We play with the kids and it’s a blast, so we entered this tournament and not only did we have fun, but we win it, and now we have to defend it.”

All the testosterone flying around in the parking lot also means that, despite the fact it’s a sport devised for kids, it gets pretty intense once the games begin.

“It was very competitive, and many of the teams that were out there screwing around lose early,” Coffield said. “Other than waking up the next morning not being able to move your arm, there aren’t many injuries, but you like to get after it. We had some scraped knees and elbows.”

There’s even some strategy involved, meaning there’s more to the game than just throwing the ball as hard as you can. Coffield said you can’t win without some athleticism, as his whole team has a strong athletic background in multiple sports.

“It’s got to be hard for them to catch it,” Coffield said. “You try to throw a lower ball, to the shins or so. You’ve got to be able to throw and catch.”

If you can’t throw or catch, Nelson thinks it’s still a fun event, with the older generation playing to recapture some youth and younger players doing it for, as Nelson puts it, “hand-to-hand combat with rubber balls.”

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