I Have Joined a Dodgeball League

I type this as the lactic acid is starting to set in. I have joined a dodgeball league, sponsored by a local YMCA here on the North Shore of Boston. Dodgeball? Yes, that game. I write this post to encourage others that may have similar leagues starting in their areas. It is extremely fun.

Having no idea what to expect, naturally the greatest worry is the equipment. Will it sting? But an official dodgeball is much like a small, Nerf (the leader in foam ball construction) ball that’s been dipped in thin, rubbery plastic. This means it can be thrown with incredible velocity, yet cannot inflict any pain. The lightness of the ball lends itself to be thrown in corkscrew or curve paths toward the opponent, making it difficult to either catch it, or duck out of the way. Strategies quickly emerge from elementary school memories buried deep. As one teammate said, it’s a mental game. Heh.

Surprisingly, this dodgeball league is nicely organized, with strict rules and fast game times. It’s non-stop running around, throwing and jumping. Great excercise — and something I need after sitting in front of a computer screen all day. What do you do to blow off steam?


  1. HI Dan,
    40 minutes of cycling every day and one day in the week japanese material arts.

  2. dspn says:

    Hmm, I generally sit in front of a computer screen even longer, playing Unreal Tournament, now that my colleagues have evilly introduced me to it. Now there’s a way to blow off steam!
    Dodgeball sounds like fun, though, and much more healthful for the mind and body. :)

  3. I only wish cycling wasn’t near impossible here in the winter. I suppose I’m not being tough enough :-)

  4. …do you yell “frag!” when you bop a member of the other team? ;)

  5. Since I spend 2 hours a day commuting via freeway, I do have a few opportunities to vent my frustrations, but mostly, I enjoy taking my dog for a walk (just not as often as I should). I very much prefer just stepping away from the computer and TV and read a book (almost done with yours, Dan, and will send along an email of questions/comments when I get the chance).

  6. I never knew there was such an association. Who would have knew dodgeball would make it past elementary school? I’m definitely going to look into joining at my local YMCA.

  7. freaksauce says:

    Considering it is currently 42 degrees outside here in Sydney I am going to stand in the sun and literally let off steam.

  8. freaksauce says:

    oh and by the way 42 degrees celsius is 108 degrees fahrenheit!

  9. France says:

    I was banned from dodgeball in 3rd grade by the “yard duty” because I was relentless, though I would consider a return to the game ;)
    I keep active with indoor soccer once or twice a week, softball during good-weather months, and flag football off and on.
    Oh, and coaching soccer to a bunch of 16 year-olds keeps me spry, no matter how many hours spent planted at a desk.
    What I really wish we had was a men’s fast-pitch softball league. Some of these guys pitch it upwards of 90-some mph at what, 30-something feet away? Sounds hairy, sign me up.

  10. Chip Adams says:

    I think a dodgeball league is simply excellent. Ironically, we (fellow classmates and I) just finished developing a freezetag type game built with ActionScript/Flash and a Flash Com server. If possible, I will provide a link in a few days. I will be looking into a similar league out here in San Diego.
    As for the cycling, you can always get an indoor trainer. There are computer programs and videos that help with the training. Anyway… enjoy the dodgeball.

  11. Zelnox says:

    Nintendo needs to make a Mario Dodgeball. ^_^

  12. brian b says:

    so how does one find a local team? I’m in s.florida and would love to go play. Finding adult leagues in any sport seems to be a tough thing seeing as most small sports stores (where these things would logically be advertised) are disappearing

  13. Mike says:

    I play table tennis. Not ping pong, the wimpy game where people laugh and move slowly while they play, I mean competition-grade, lightning fast, sweating your balls off table tennis.
    Basically I get my ass handed to me by every single Asian and Indian player I’m up against (I’m one of the few white boys I know who plays) but it’s still fun!

  14. notbrain says:

    Disc golf [pdga.org]. The flight path of a properly thrown disc is oh so satisfying.
    Or go-karting. Here near phx we have two indoor karting facilities, and there’s also an outdoor track for the local org races. Great stuff.
    Going 50mph an inch off the ground and flying saucers into metal baskets. Doesn’t get much better than that.

  15. ramin says:

    3 dogs. That’s how I let off steam (although at times they contribute more than ease it off).
    I fondly remember elementary school and even junior high and our dodgeball matches. Those really were the days.

  16. steve says:

    playing music. not only a good way to take your mind off things, but also a creative outlet.

  17. marcel fahle says:

    doing laps every morning (except sunday :)), 40 minutes, 1.25 miles (2000m)

  18. LoL. Dodgeball? Man! :D Is it because you watched Dodgeball movie? :>

  19. Hi Dan,
    I use my bike the hole winter from +35 to -20 Celsius (rain, snow,…).
    Its faster than a car and it keeps you health up (I nearly get never sick).
    But I’m not able to enter a bank with my cycling clothes, because the would think I ‘m a bank robber. :-) (no joke)
    I got a special bike from Switzerland only available via Internet – expensive but really nice!
    Its really a good, one and very solid.

  20. Andyk says:

    Air Guitar baby! There’s nothing more satisfying than rocking out hard to some really loud rawk music! \m/

  21. Donnie says:

    These dodgeball leagues owe everything to the movie, without which none of these little leagues would ever find new members.
    Can you imagine the losers that played dodgeball before the movie? Probably a bunch of Napolean Dynamites.

  22. Andy Stones says:

    Glad to see you got that MT3 problem resolved Dan – I was at a loss during my lunch break
    I play Badminton twice a week. Running round like the preverbial “blue arsed fly” – keeps the pounds off.

  23. Seb says:

    So, is the NADA affiliated to the American Dodgeball Association of America? ;-)

  24. Lasse Gejl says:

    Dodgeball? Isn’t that for kids? Play Ultimate Frisbee guys! The perfect athletic combination of speed, power and tactics:
    >> http://www.whatisultimate.com

  25. Jonas Rabbe says:

    Go climbing (bouldering). I live in Denmark which has similar weather during the winter, and doesn’t lend itself to outdoor activities be it climbing or cycling. Fortunately the advent of climbing gyms means I can “blow of steam” even this time of year.
    Right now I’m just wishing for clear sunny snow-less winter weekend days so I can get some outdoor climbing done.
    And I of course walk our tiny 35 kg dog at least an hour each day.

  26. Tomas says:

    Nice to hear you’ve found a form of excersize that you enjoy. I train Taekwondo myself, it’s larger than life! :-D

  27. Andy Stones says:

    What breed of dog do you have? We have a lovely Border Terrier (2 Years Old) named Piper…
    - Her mother was stuck in a drainpipe 6 hours before her birth! (Hence the unusal name!)

  28. Johnny says:

    Hmm,.. is it anything like the film?

  29. #21 Donnie said: These dodgeball leagues owe everything to the movie, without which none of these little leagues would ever find new members.
    Very true, the movie has everything to do with leagues starting up. If you’ve never seen Dodgeball the movie, it’s pretty hilarious. Official leagues are much less dangerous of course (ie headshots with a red rubber ball), but just as fun.

  30. Kars says:

    Martial arts for me as well, I practice Takeda Ryu three times a week. It’s a nice complement to my full-time interaction design position.
    I must say: dodge ball (or “trefbal” as they say in Dutch) always was my favourite game in high school!

  31. Dance Dance Revolution! I sit in front of the computer for 8 hours a day, drive an hour each way to work, sit in class (or do homework) for 2 hours a night. The exercise from jumping around helps justify the additional hour or so playing xbox ;)

  32. I’m in a Rowing CLub. It is a great work out. I also ride superbikes and mountain bike.

  33. Jeff Croft says:

    I have to admit, that sounds fun as hell, and I could definitely use the excercise. I might have to give it a look…

  34. Sean Devine says:

    I drive by the Salem YMCA every night on the way home from work. What is the league’s schedule? Maybe I’ll join up.

  35. Chris Martz says:

    To blow off steam I swim. I’m on my high school swim team and that’s what I do!

  36. stuart says:

    blowing off steam? not that we get hot enough to make steam in Liverpool, but on the odd occasion when steam must be let off, nothing is better than a round or two of golf, giving all your anger to a ball which cant give it back – perfect.

  37. Kevin Tamura says:

    I usually walk home up a hill at the end of the day, weather permitting. It’s a great way to clear the head after sitting in front of a computer all day.
    Other than that I’m on my trainer, since it’s too dark to do any cycling this time of year, for about 40 minutes once to twice a week. Most weekends I’m able to get in a good 1-2 hour ride.
    I’m also out dancing lindy hop once to twice a week as well.

  38. Craig says:

    Bike riding and running. In the summer I mostly bike, during Cincinnati winters it’s about half and half. Granted we get less snow than Boston, but with proper clothing I’ll go out for a ride as long as it’s above 20 degrees fahrenheit. It’s a bit of a sufferfest, but when the weather turns warm it’s nice to be in decent biking shape.

  39. Daniel Roberts says:

    2 mornings a week of weight training
    2 nights a week of brazilian jiu-jitsu in Vienna, VA

  40. I will join only if William Shatner is indeed the league president.

  41. Jonas Rabbe says:

    What breed of dog do you have? We have a lovely Border Terrier (2 Years Old) named Piper…
    We have a Samoyed/Labrador/German Shepherd mix called Toby. He’s 3 years now, but still a bundle of energy. An hour-long walk a day (plus those small wee-wee outings) are enough to keep him pacified, but it’s a matter of constant bad conscience that we don’t take him to the dog woods more often to have him play with “his little doggy friends” (in baby-speak voice).
    - Jonas

  42. Greg Hinch says:

    Personally I do yoga several times a week and love it. I used to lift weights a lot, and combined with sitting in front of a computer, my back and shoulders were always hunched up and tight. After only a few sessions I was hooked, my back felt great and my shoulders are more open. I find the classes are a good way to get a lot of tension from the day out as well. I’ve stopped lifting weights, and I think overall I’m actually stronger now. Oh and bonus, I’m meeting all sorts of hot girls :)

  43. Philipe Fatio says:

    Dodgeball, there’s a funny movie with Ben Stiller called Dodgeball.

  44. Daniel Bulli says:

    I laughed at the ping pong comment …
    I play badminton which has an even whimpier perception… but say that to me on the court ;) !
    Being in MA, also golf in the summer (i miss it already) … now getting my board tuned… got to practice up for Whislter!

  45. Chester says:

    Volleyball. Can get all sorts of aggression out with that sport. Of course, when you play against people who think they are better than they are, it can add to your aggression too. But then you get it out again by putting them in their place… ;)

  46. Steve says:

    Running, running, running.

  47. Tom says:

    This sounds like great fun!
    I bet you get some people that will take it far too seriously.
    It isnt that popular in the UK so I doubt there will be any little groups to go and play with.

  48. Matt Widmann says:

    I do crew (rowing). We get to wake up at four in the morning to go out on the freezing ocean and work our butts off. Its great fun!

  49. Max says:

    I’m with Lasse, Ultimate Frisbee is a fantastic way to exercise/wind down. I usually play once or twice a week – if I don’t, I go crazy and get all tetchy.
    You should give it a go, it’s by far the most enjoyable and relaxed sport I’ve played. Not too much agression, and you can pretty much choose the level you want to play at.

  50. Jay says:

    I play tennis and it is great exercise. I love having all the responsiblity on my shoulders and not depending on teammates(singles of course).

  51. Sam Ryan says:

    Summer, Spring, Fall – Cycling pretty much non-stop for physical “steam”, multiplayer Halo for psychological “steam”.
    Winter – Steam conservation for warmth.

  52. Brian Wms. says:

    Back in the day, when I was twelve, I was merciless at dodgeball. I could nail a geek between the eyes with a laser beam from across any gym. Good times.
    Now that I’m a geek, perhaps I should offer myself up as cannon fodder for former geeks seeking retribution. I suppose that’s fair, considering all the pain I’ve caused.
    Wait…who am I kidding? Geek, or no geek, I may be approaching middle age but I’ve still got a cannon for an arm. I just might look into this. Thanks, Dan!

  53. Paul says:

    Judo, at the source, the Kodokan in Tokyo; on wednesdays to cut the week in half and on saturdays. Makes my weeks look shorter, and life all the more happier.

  54. Chris Hunt says:

    I’ll look out for you on ESPN8 then. Is “the ocho” ready for a team of breast pocket sporting, slipper-clad players?

  55. Matthijs Aandewiel says:

    Wauw, A real dodgeball league.. with rules and referee’s and everything? Sounds like a new event for the olympics..
    I play field hockey myself, what a great way to blow off steam 3 times a week :)

  56. Daniel, people often laugh at me when I tell them I played badminton in college. I haven’t been able to get back into it again. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough?

  57. Jeremy says:

    I usually go out to the rink and play hockey. Thats the best for me. :)

  58. Max Carter says:

    Hey! Dodgeball is a really great sport. My highschool (University of Detroit Jesuit) just started a dodgeball intramural leage, what fun! I usually play hockey (which I am quite good at not to brad ;)) to blow off some steam. I am about to move out west from Detroit to Montana to play Junior A hockey but computers still interest me in a way although I find it kind of hard to blow off steam at a computer unless your hand is through the monitor.. hehe. Have fun!

  59. Dave says:

    I try to ski atleast once or twice a month in the winter and I just started getting into whitewater kayaking. Both of these sports mix the great outdoors with exercise and seem to relax me. Dodgeball does sound fun though!

  60. Michael says:

    I go to an all guys boarding school in Chattanooga, TN called McCallie. On campus we have a year long tournament between the 5 dorms on campus where the dorm with the most points at the end of the year wins. We have all kinds of tournaments throughout the year, but the biggest one is the Davenport Cup – a hugely important battleball tournament. I find that battelball seems to get everyone really angry. Every year I’ve been here at school there has been talk of getting rid of the Davenport Cup because it makes such divisions between the dorm. I’m the kind of kid that swims, does well in school, and reads books like Dan’s Web Standards Solutions and last night we had the finals. Even I almost got some kid to throw a punch at me. Just a word of advice for all you dodgeballers out there – remember its a game! Before you know you’ll find yourself getting steam rather than releasing steam. Dodgeball can get out of control fast! (But that’s not to say it isn’t a game of the highest degree of fun.)

  61. Andy Stones says:

    Glad see I’m not the only one who thinks badminton is so underated
    Anyone see the badminton doubles olympic finals this year?

  62. E says:

    that is so cool.

  63. Dodgeball. Sweet.

  64. Kim Siever says:

    I let off steam by cycling to work and acting in plays.

  65. Dan Jallits says:

    I got married about seven years ago, so I suppose it is kind of like dodgeball now as I spend a great deal of time dodging the kitchen pots and pans, shoes, and other misc. heavy objects.
    Through the spring and into the fall my game is baseball (Go Cubs!), but in the winter you can find me in the bowling alley.

  66. Jeff says:

    Funny you say that. Some people mentioned “those were the days,” and today it literally was. I played Bombardment, which as far as I know is completely identical to Dodgeball with a different name. Junior high was/are the days. :D
    I’m glad an adult does something other than sit at a computer screen all day. It’s good for you, and I don’t have to, ’cause they force me too. :P
    k, ‘nough nonsense

  67. Andrew says:

    FUN! I need to go out and find me one of those dodgeball leagues.

  68. Jough says:

    I am originally from the North Shore in MA,USA and remember the snow and black ice in the Winter. Now I live in Seattle and cycle 4-5 times a week (rain or rain or even shine).
    I am now in search of a dodgeball league. What fun!

  69. Abscond says:

    Dodgeball when i was younger involved a mud hardened leather ball. And occasionally stones.
    None of this pansy soft ball nonsense.

  70. Hey, that’s great! I love dodgeball, in fact it has travelled all the way to Sweden. Our form just won the school championships. It all actually started before this movie-thingie. Now the school board are talking about sending us off on some national tournament, can’t barely stand waiting for the answer.

  71. Aaron Tate says:

    Some times i’ll play counter-stike to let of some Steam® :) pun intended.
    Seriosuly i usually practise Wing Chun Kung Fu in the evenings to re-center myself.

  72. Levi says:

    Although I’m not a CS fan myself (yucky stuff) I would find it funny if somebody in the middle of the tournament – after being bopped in the head – had a go at the ref because he has reasion to beleive that the other dodgeballer was using aimbots, wallhacks or maybe just scream out “AWP Whore!”.

  73. Gaz says:

    I’m in England and really want to play Dodgeball… anybody know of a league over here?

  74. Johnny says:

    Gaz, i was thinking the same thing.
    It sounds awesome and after reading this its given me the enthusiasm to do it.
    The hunt continues!
    C’mon england, don’t let us down!

  75. This post had me searching for Nintendo ROMs on Google. I downloaded Super Dodgeball for the NES and have been whacking those big headed fools with my special attacks.
    Its a must have and a nice stress reliever. I’m not sure what NES Emulators work for Mac systems though.

  76. Chris says:

    LOVE the new look site Dan, Bravo.

  77. I’ve found that Dodgeball on Meetup has some options for league play.

  78. Daryl says:

    I thought I was the only advocate for Dodgeball becoming an Olympic sport…

  79. Charlie says:

    To blow off steam? I ride.

  80. Arman says:


  81. Mike US Navy says:

    Ah yes, Dodgeball. Who can resist the sight of a guy being hit square in the male-jumblies by a grade-school rubber ball while doing the classic air-split? C’mon, dodge, duck, dive…but not the air-splits.

  82. Ian Lloyd says:

    Holy crap. And I thought that Dodgeball was a made-up game for a really funny film. It’s a *real* game? Wow. Sign me up!

  83. gary says:

    Speaking of high school games, here in the UK we used to ‘play’ a game called British Bulldogs – can’t really remember the rules, or even the object of the game but basically it involved two hordes of kids charging headlong into each other! And of course there was always 30-a-side soccer, played with a tennis ball. Maybe we could revive these games in the UK with proper leagues, referees and rules? :)

  84. John says:

    Wow, dodge ball… I hit your site because I’m reading your book… I haven’t thought about dodge ball in decades (I’m not familiar with the movie.). We used to play dodge ball in school in Swampscott, MA. What a flash back.
    I’m in VA now, and I miss Halloween up there :)

  85. Paul says:

    Boston Area Dodgeball Tournament!
    Check the website for details.

  86. Jeff Riehl says:

    We have a dodgeball group here at Bethel College in Mishawaka, IN. We were national champions at least one year, although this year we didn’t sign up for finals, so obviously we won’t win nationals.
    Anyway, I have yet to join up with the fun, though I hope to in the future. Players wear funny get-up and just do their best. It’s cool.

  87. Steve says:

    Hey Dan, not sure if you still read this, but I’d like to know how the YMCA has it set up… I am currently trying to get my dodge ball “crew” I guess is what you’d call them over to the YMCA. Someone I am speaking to over there is thrilled about bringing it to his location… We just need to make sure it takes off successfully. Any suggestions?

  88. Ki-Aikido, yoga and meditation. But sometimes when I’ve been sitting way too long (into the night :-) I just need to take a walk to get some fresh air first, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to concentrate.
    - Simon

  89. Newcomb says:

    Hi, I would definitely like to know more about how to get a team/league started! Please let me know how I might get more information.

  90. L-Mo says:

    Well I wrestle in the winter and box the summer season since there is nothing else to do, it’s part of my anger management, the boxing is.