I received my annual rite of spring email this week…Dodgeball Registration! The registration and coordination of the dodgeball team gives Chicagoans a glimpse of hope that the latest miserable winter is over. Because summer in Chicago is paradise. A hard-fought, much-deserved paradise after going through the wind chills, the ice, the awfully gray days of the April, and then just about when you are ready to up and move, May arrives and you are at all-day beer festivals. I thought it could be interesting to review the dodgeball teams of the past
Dodgeball summer 2005 – O.F.F.
The first summer of dodgeball began by accident. I got invited to join a volleyball team with some friends. It sounded like a good idea to get out to the beach each week, but I also noticed that some of the volleyball teams are extremely skilled. I looked at our team of my friends, all great people, none of them the type to win many volleyball games with. I noticed on the volleyball page there was also a page for dodgeball. The dodgeball movie had just come out and everyone had loved it. It was decided that 3 of us would each recruit 8 friends for a dodgeball team.
We ended up with the team name O.F.F.. The premise was that IF we happened to lose a game, the announcer would have to say that the other team “beat off”. I cringe typing this, but a room full of people 4-deep in vodka lemonades thought it was uproarious at the time. That season the announcer had a lot of opportunities to say “beat off”, because we got crushed the first 21 games of the year. I believe we finished the year with a sparkling 3-37 record. However, post-dodgeball partying was a highlight of the week and many times I was lucky to login the next day by noon…and I had half-day Fridays, which meant a 1 hour Friday, not too shabby.
Dodgeball summer 2006 – The 5 D’s. Drink, drank, drunk, dodge, and drink.
Despite the rough record of 2005’s teams, there was a groundswell of interest in dodgeball. That spring while out at various bars and parties I would be introduced as the dodgeball captain and most of the time at least one newly met person would ask if they could play. We incorporated a couple of new ideas from our hard-learned lessons of 2005. A better team name, better team shirts, bigger dudes, less scared chics. The results were that we could go out all night in our shirts without feeling stupid. We could win almost 50% of our games. But we never were able to claim victory for an entire night. This stunk, because if you win the evening’s round robin of games, you get Duffy Dollars, which you can spend at the sponsoring bar that night. A new idea this year that worked really well was bringing a cooler of pre-mixed vodka lemonades to the game. Some of our team members performed significantly better after a few lemonades.
Dodgeball summer 2007 – Derelict My Balls.
The year our dodgeball team came together on all fronts. We had a killer name. Our logo and team shirts were the best looking in the league. For the first time I actually wore my shirt to the gym because it was not too juvenile. We were victorious on one of the dodgeball round-robin nights, enabling us to get a shot and a beer for the entire team after the game. I was told my team had the hottest chics, always nice to hear for both me and them, particularly since we are the oldest team in the league by about a decade. We routinely went out after the games for $2 you-call-it night at a bar on Lincoln ave (I forget the name and I have been there about 20 times) and got destroyed. However, one thing remained elusive, our playoff performance, we still got destroyed. Half the team was in California for a wedding during the crucial end of the season single-elimination championship tournament.
So what will dodgeball summer 2008 bring? I have been around long enough to know that these things can’t be predicted. But I am thrilled that dodgeball season is just around the corner.