Adults forming dodgeball teams at an unprecedented rate
It's a film that made people laugh in theatres upon its release, but is also a source of inspiration for the Calgary Sports & Social Club's dodgeball program.
Michelle Harrison, marketing and special events manager of the club, feels the film definitely had an impact on Calgarians' interest in dodgeball.
"Honestly, the movie played a big part," Harrison said. "We'd like to think this is our great idea, but the movie came out the year before we started offering dodgeball and that was no coincidence."
The Calgary Sports & Social Club was established in 1996. Its goal is to provide adults with a variety of organized co-ed sports leagues, ranging from basketball and volleyball to badminton and floor hockey.
Dodgeball was introduced to the club in 2005, and participation has increased since the sport's inception into the club, Harrison said.
While dodgeball has been played by junior high or high school students, and was originally more of an activity for younger audiences, it is now a popular sport played by adults.
"We have players who are 18 years of age to other players who are pushing 40," Harrison said. "For the club itself, the average age is 28 or 29."
Statistics provided by Harrison through an email show that in the first season of dodgeball offered, there were 65 teams — which has exponentially increased to 444 active teams in 2011. There are an additional 18 beach dodgeball teams, which happen on Sunday's in the summer months.
The club's website showed that the dodgeball program offers four separate divisions: really recreational, recreational, recreational plus, and intermediate. In a tiered effect, the first division listed is the least competitive, with the last division list being more competitive.
The division offerings are based on the experience and skill level of teams as opposed to competitive behaviour, yet every division makes it clear that fun is first, with competition being second, the website stated.
Mark Allan, a club dodgeball player with his own team, said the atmosphere for the sport is very positive.
"It's pretty fun," Allan said. "It's friendly. It's laidback and everyone's in a good mood."
Likely to return for future seasons, Allan noted that the sport is made up of interconnected people, such as friends or people you generally know.
"The more I talked to people about it, especially at work and things like that, the more people wanted to play," Allan said. "Eventually, we had to start our own team because we had more than enough people."
Brandy Lanoue, a teammate of Allan's, got into the sport in a similar fashion.
"I signed up because he (Allan) was playing and he loved it so much," Lanoue said.
Beyond being good competitive fun, dodgeball provides a beneficial physical workout for players.
"It's much more of a workout than you would expect," Harrison said. "It depends on how intense you play, because that makes a big difference.
"It's interesting, because you don't need to be super athletic or super fit to play this game and be good at it. People who were last picked in elementary sports could be the best dodgeball players," Harrison said.
"You never know by looking at people if they're going to be good or not."
In terms of popularity, dodgeball has been the largest growing sport offered by the club, Harrison said.
"Out of all the sports we offer, dodgeball was the one that grew faster than all the others," Harrison said. "It may not be our largest sport right now, but it's really popular. It's pretty addicting."
For more information on the Calgary Sports & Social Club and how you can participate within dodgeball and the many other sports provided, visit:
- By DAVID GOLDENSTEIN