Dodge ball tournament to help schools hurt by hurricane |

Dodge ball tournament to help schools hurt by hurricane

Amanda Fehd

Put a few hundred excited teenagers in a gym together, toss in some large rubber balls and a challenge to clobber as many of your classmates as you can, and you’ve got what school officials praise as one of the most successful events of the year: dodge ball.

Eight teams survived over 50 games in the second annual South Tahoe High dodge ball tournament Wednesday night to compete in tonight’s championship.

Ticket sales tonight will benefit a Mississippi school district ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

With team names like Dodging Desperados, Sneaky Indians, Top Guns, Los Banditos, Llamas and Right Wing Slingas, political correctness was in short supply.

Winning the tournament is a coveted honor.

Once a team lost twice, they were out.

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“It’s really intense,” said Josh Doherty, 10th-grader on team AKA, after winning its first match.

A team could go down to one player and still bounce back. The rules say if you catch a ball from the other team, you can bring back another of your team’s players.

Danny Suarez said his team practiced for a couple of weeks, strategizing on who would catch balls, who could throw them the hardest and who could block them best.

Students came out from all grades and skill levels. The only all-girls team consisted of the women’s cross country team, the ViQueens.

“It’s the thrill of the ball coming at you,” said Heather Newman, a senior and member of the ViQueens.

But why bring back a sport from elementary gym class? Teacher-in-training Gary Horton said it’s a way to break the tense atmosphere of the student-teacher relationship.

“They always think we’re in an authority position; but here we’re all even,” Horton said after his team, Dodge This, ticked their second victory. “That’s the great thing about sports: we’re all on an equal playing field.”