Friday, August 8, 2014

Professional adult dodgeball

Dodgeball used to be a children's sport, like hopscotch and tag. But adult dodgeball participation has grown 20% annually over the past three years, according to the Sport and Social Industry Association.

The rules of the traditional game are familiar to anybody who didn't skip third-grade gym class: Hit someone with a ball, and he is out. Catch a ball and the thrower is out. The team whose players are eliminated loses. Simple in concept, it becomes far more difficult when you are playing against highly organized teams with scripted plays and predetermined strategies.

Adult dodgeball is played all sorts of ways. Mr. Marchbanks's team has won tournaments on trampolines, solid ground and mud. The team has played with foam balls and kickballs.

For many, it isn't a casual pastime. Mr. Marchbanks devotes about eight hours a week to practicing or playing the game, and four more hours to studying film of upcoming opponents. ...

Dodgeball, of course, isn't the only childhood pastime appealing to adults these days. The sixth annual World Thumb Wrestling Championship took place this month north of London, and the International Tree Climbing Championship was in Milwaukee. Two tournaments claim to grant the national kickball title. ...

Mr. Marchbanks and his squad—Team Doom—have won about $100,000 in cash prizes over the past two years. If the five members of Team Doom successfully defend their title at the Ultimate Dodgeball Championship starting Friday in Las Vegas, they'll add $20,000 to their winnings.
--Andrew Beaton, WSJ, on never having to grow up