It’s been referred to as an epidemic of sorts. A hot-button topic. A serious health issue. In many regards, the track record and attention on head injuries in sports make it hard to deny any of these labels.
What is the first word that comes to mind when I say ‘cheerleading‘? Flips, jumps, girly and the movie, Bring It On come to mind for me. Although all of those are cheerleading-related, cheerleading has grown from much more than just pumping up the crowd at sporting games. Cheerleading has become a sport of its own.
Sports tend to be seasonal. For instance, no one plays baseball in the winter and no one plays ice hockey in the summer. Well maybe I shouldnâ€™t say no one, let’s say very few play sports out of season. However for ultimate frisbee players, the weather does not stop them from playing the game.
Remember the first time you played dodgeball as a kid? Youâ€™re standing at the line waiting for the game to begin and once the game commences, adrenaline kicks in and you’re throwing and dodging balls all over the place. Ever wish you could relive the excitement? Well you can! Dodgeball has become more than just a game you played when you were a kid. It is a growing recreational sport.
Starting in 2004, the Vancouver Dodgeball League (VDL) began as a small drop-in sport, but ever since, the league has grown in players, teams and popularity. When I spoke to Jeff Phung, a VDL regular, about how he heard about VDL, he said, â€œsome of my friends’ older siblings started the league and passed it down to their siblings and friends and then it just took off from thereâ€. Word-of-mouth seems to be the common trend when asked how they heard about the league. Furthermore, because the league requires each team to have a minimum of two girls playing at all times, there is a healthy balance between guys and girls in the league, which has contributed to the leagueâ€™s popularity.
Dodgeball is just a game and players play recreationally but the sport does harbour the competitive nature in a lot of people. â€œI play for fun but I always try to winâ€ said Phung. I asked Catherine Hwee, another dodgeballer, if she played the game for other reasons than â€œitâ€™s funâ€ and she said that she played because it “acted as a stress reliever”. Throwing a ball as hard as you can at someone, that seems like a pretty good stress reliever to me.
However, VDL has become more than just something recreational. VDL is a non-profit organization that is run by volunteers to keep the league going. Through the years, the league has helped raise money directly and indirectly by giving charitable donations to various organizations like theÂ BC Cancer Foundation, The Canadian Red Cross and BC Childrenâ€™s Hospital. VDL also holds blood drives every seaosn and encourages their players to donate and help out. â€œWeâ€™re always open to helping out good causes, helping out the community and giving back wherever we canâ€ said Mark Williams, a VDL executive.
The combination of reflex, motor skills and strategy makes dodgeball more fun than a lot of sports. No matter how old you are, how fit or unfit you are, male or female, if you want to do something fun and exciting, dodgeball is right for you. Remember, â€œif you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!â€
Photo from www.vdldodgeball.ca