The five basic rules of the newest IM sport are dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge.
Head referee Alejandro Torres ’12 said it’s a sport that demands “mental toughness, physical agility and psychological resilience.” Leslie Golden ’10, an IM secretary for Saybrook, called it the “ultimate game of degradation and inferiority.”
It’s intramural dodgeball.
Currently in its inaugural season, IM dodgeball replaces kickball from last spring. Of the 30 scheduled kickball games in 2009, not a single one drew enough players. Head IM secretary Peter Jaskinski ’12 said the interest level in dodgeball has been generally good so far.
Jasinski originally proposed bringing dodgeball to the mix back in September 2009.
“The IM secretaries perceived enough of an interest in the sport to try it out for a season,” he said.
The first step in passing the proposal was talking to all the other residential college IM secretaries to gauge interest in introducing dodgeball for the spring, Jaskinski said. After that, Jaskinski and intramural administrator Carlos Pinela wrote the rules, figured out the equipment and playing space, and finalized the plans with the other secretaries in February.
Jaskinski and other IM secretaries said dodgeball has never been included before among the IM roster because the sport has historically been accompanied by safety concerns.. But many other college and universities in Connecticut — among them the University of Connecticut, Connecticut College, Fairfield University, Southern Connecticut State University, University of New Haven and Quinnipiac University — also play dodgeball as an IM sport, Jasinski said.
James McGinty ’11, one of the dodgeball referees, said he thinks there is little danger in the matches. In fact, the only significant complaint McGinty has heard so far is that students’ arms hurt after the games — a consequence of throwing the lightweight balls with too much energy.
“Throwing something this light with that much force is not good for your arm,” McGinty said. “But I think only playing once isn’t going to do any lasting damage.”
Head referee Torres added that the soft, foamy material of the balls keeps the game from becoming dangerous.
“I’ve seen girls get pegged in the face and be totally fine,” Torres said.
McGinty said the dodgeball matches have earned fairly strong turnouts so far, especially considering that the sport — while in its opening season — has no bearing on the Tyng Cup standings.
Torres said he attributes the improved participation to the location and meeting hour of games. While kickball met in the afternoon out at the IM fields, dodgeball convenes at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., or 8 p.m. in Room K on the fifth floor of Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
Dodgeball matches are played as best-of-five game series. Teams are composed of eight players, with a maximum of five from each gender.
Play ends when one team has players entirely eliminated — achieved by either pegging an opponent with a ball, catching a throw from the other team or using a throw to knock away the ball held by an opponent — or when the maximum time of seven minutes has expired. If time runs out before one team loses all players, the side with the most people left wins that round.
Golden, for one, said she is glad to see dodgeball on the IM schedule this spring.
“My biggest regret about dodgeball is that it hasn’t been a sport for four years,” Golden said. “I’ve heard only positive feedback.”
And Jaskinski said that, so far, dodgeball has posted better results than its predecessor, kickball. Thirty games are slated for the regular season, and as of now only four of 15 have been forfeited.
Still, it remains to be seen whether dodgeball is here to stay.
“I would say we’re still in a bit of a testing stage,” Jasinski said. “At our next IM secretary meeting [this Friday], we’ll hopefully make some more fine-tuned changes.”