North Texas Daily

Dodgeball club more than just P.E. activity

Dodgeball club more than just P.E. activity

February 18
00:01 2016

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer


A dozen multi-colored rubber balls sat lined up at the half court line of the old basketball gym. The squeak of tennis shoes was prevalent and the air was filled with the scent of latex and sweat. A few stray balls ricocheted off the wall as players took their positions.

When the signal was given, both teams sprinted toward the brightly colored spheres – some dove and others kicked, all to ensure their team got more balls than their opponent. A few seconds passed as both sides sized each other up before the first person uncorked a line drive, hitting a player squarely in the chest for the first out of the game.

The sport is dodgeball, and every Friday night at the Bahnsen gym, UNT students from all walks of life come to play the highly popular elementary school game. Having grown in popularity in the last decade, especially after the release of the movie “Dodgeball” in 2004, members of the club said there is one question in particular they all have been asked at one time or another.

“Everyone comes up and asks us if we know the five D’s of dodgeball,” computer engineering senior and club co-president Michael Canan said. “There’s dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge.”

Can Canan dodge a wrench?

The "Play Ground" dodgeball, is one of the tools of choice in at the Banshen gym. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

The “Play Ground” dodgeball, is one of the tools of choice in at the Banshen gym. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

“A few,” he said. “It’s hard.”

But the dodgeball club is more than just a nostalgic experience built around a movie or childhood pastime.

Dodgeball at UNT is based more on strategy and is predicated around teamwork and camaraderie. There are several different tactics used during games, but one remains consistent from the days on the grade-school asphalt.

“When you’re a kid, you’re just throwing and trying to hit someone in the face,” media arts senior and club co-president Jason Snider said. “[To that extent], it’s the same.”

While some people on the team may not have specific strategies, Canan employs one unique to him.

“I get two balls and call it, ‘Trick or Treat,’” Canan said. “People say, ‘Oh, they’ll be easy to catch.’ But there’s two of them coming at you. So you try to catch one of them and the other one hits you.”

The rules of dodgeball are simple – try to hit members of the opposing team with a ball before it touches the ground. If someone catches a ball thrown by an opponent, the player that threw the ball is out and a member from the team who caught the ball can return to the game.

Although the dodgeball club in not regulated by the American Dodgeball Association of America, there are guidelines that must be followed. The rules are dictated by the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association – the governing body for NCAA dodgeball programs.

“The NCDA does a lot of good things for all the teams in our conference,” Snider said. “It’s a good thing when you can have people come together and play all these games.”

The majority of the time, the dodgeball club has intra-squad scrimmages, lining up against one another.

But UNT has also competed against other schools. In fall 2014, the club placed second at a tournament hosted by the University of Nebraska.

“We haven’t been to a tournament in a while because all the teams are really far out,” Canan said. “The last one was in Nebraska. So we drove up there, played a few games and had a lot of fun.”

Any person is able to not only join the team, but play in tournaments as well. With no team fees, all players have to do is register on In addition to the club being free – typically a college student’s favorite word – no prior experience is required to play.

Co-president of the dodgeball club and RTVF major, Jason Snider said the game is to him, to some extent, the way it was when he was a kid. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Co-president of the dodgeball club and RTVF major, Jason Snider said the game is to him, to some extent, the way it was when he was a kid. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

“There’s the people that show up every week that know what they’re doing, but there’s also new people who come out,” logistics and supply chain management senior Patrick Worbs said. “The people that have been here show them strategies and different things. It gets really competitive from there.”

And to the surprise of no one, some members of the dodgeball team compare themselves to characters from the Vince Vaughn flick. Personalities range from the dorky teen Justin Redman to the insanely buff Me’Shell Jones and even the coach, Patches O’Houlihan.

Aside from the character comparisons, the dodgeball that exists at UNT is not entirely like the movie or the games played by fifth graders. There are no bags of wrenches to be dodged, no cars to avoid and no crying when a game is lost. Instead, there are adults relaxing and remembering a simpler time before the stress of work, class and life caught up with them.

“I feel like all college students are still kids,” Canan said. “They love just going around and playing. Everyone wants to get out of their element and go back to their roots. Dodgeball helps bring that out of them. The best thing we can do is make them feel like a kid again.”

Featured Image: Computer engineering senior Michael Canan brings his arm back to get ready to throw a ball at the opposing team. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

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