11th Dodgeball Tourney in the books

By on November 19, 2014

Three, Two, One, Go!

And with those simple instructions from the referees, the 11th annual Dodgeball for Diabetes fund-raiser tournament was underway last Friday at the Ephrata Senior High School.

When you hear about a dodgeball tournament, you might picture a couple of dozen kids getting together (you’d be wrong) or that they might raise enough money for a nice check of a couple of hundred dollars (not correct), or that the players would show up in their gym clothes (nope), or that a couple of parents might straggle in to sit in the stands to watch (zero for four).

So, let’s shine some light and understanding on this event that over the last 11 years has raised more than $127,000, including more than $10,600 this year alone.

Exactly 94 percent of the money raised goes directly to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

“I knew (dodgeball) was fun and we’re averaging more than 300 participants per year or more than one quarter of the student population, which is unheard of.”

Those are the words of tournament creator and spokesman Dave Erb.

“Juvenile Diabetes is not overly publicized, but we are told that there are 13 students affected in the Ephrata Area School District alone,” Erb said.

Players toe the line during action from the 11th annual Dodgeball For Diabetes Tournament Friday in Ephrata. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Players toe the line during action from the 11th annual Dodgeball For Diabetes Tournament Friday in Ephrata. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Erb goes on to describe how all of this money is raised.

“Each team of six or seven players is responsible for a minimum of $126 (raised),” he explained. “They can earn prizes by meeting certain higher levels of fundraising.”

That prize presentation took place at 8 p.m. on Friday night before a standing room only crowd of parents, siblings, students, fellow competitors and more.

The 313 players who competed this year were broken down into three divisions. The Rookies Division is made up of fifth and sixth graders, the Juniors come from seventh and eighth grades, and finally the Seniors are spread from ninth to 12th grade, as well as a girl’s senior division. Each of the Division champs was rewarded with a T-shirt and bragging rights.

The senior boy’s champs were Lowrie’s Lemurs; the Girls champs, No Dodgeballs; the Junior award went to Dodgin’ the Media; and the Rookie prize went to No Hit Sherlock.

Each team was guaranteed three games with a round-robin pool play followed by a final seeded single-elimination championship run. Each match-up is a best of three games and each game lasts four minutes. If they are a tied at the end of regulation, each team goes to sudden death with three players. The first player eliminated decided the contest.

Each team started with six players on a 40 foot by 75 foot space. At the whistle, they dashed from the back wall to recover four balls placed at mid-court. The balls must be brought back to touch the back wall before thrown at an opponent. If you are struck by a ball, you are out. If you throw a ball that’s caught, you’re out. As soon as the ball touches the floor, wall or another player it’s dead, preventing any further result.

Every team was identified by their chosen name and T-shirt of their own design, some fancy, others self-created.

“They had the five D’s of dodgeball in the movie Dodgeball,” said Senior Circuit team member Hunter Lehman. “We have seven on our team, so we’re the seven D’s.” As to strategy, Lehman added, “We’ll try to get out the other team’s strongest player early. It’s also good to have a baseball player (good arm) on your team.”

Aaron Cummings shared the opening plan for his team “Las Cebollas” (the onions).

“We need to use our speed to get to the balls first,” he said. The six friends all had a sleep over Friday night, “to make sure that we all showed up on time Saturday morning.”

Brendan Holbritter described how they settled on “Dirty Dodgers.”

“We wanted something different,” he said. Sounding like a coach, Holbritter discussed their strategy. “We need to make smart decisions and no dumb mistakes,” he concluded.

The fund-raiser coincided with World Diabetes Day on Friday, citing statistical data that one of every 450 children and adolescents has diabetes. Their slogan…”You are the target, a cure is the goal.”

Donations of $3 or more received a “Max” bracelet, which stood for “Maximum Awareness, Maximum Hope, Maximum Life for children with diabetes.”

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