Thursday, June 30 2022

The Dodgefathers arrived dressed to impress.

The five-member dodgeball team, made up of school-aged boys from Wheeling, W.Va., traveled to West Deer on Saturday to compete in the first New Year’s Smash Em Dodgeball Tournament.

Wearing matching custom t-shirts with a sporty piece on the classic Italian mob movie, the Dodgefathers enjoyed a departure from the normal sporting routine, coach and father Brandon Pape said.

“We play in baseball tournaments and we just thought it would be fun to do,” Pape said.

The event was organized by No Offseason Sports (NOS) in West Deer.

“I just thought it was a fun New Year’s activity for the kids,” said Joe Voloch, operations manager at NOS. “We wanted to organize something different.

Voloch said the turnout wasn’t quite what he expected, with six teams of five participating. But he hopes next year’s enrollment will increase.

“It’s new this year,” he said.

Under a giant inflatable bubble, around 30 players played six games each, vying for bragging rights and medals.

The object of the game is to eliminate all opposing players by hitting them with dodge balls.

Each game had a 3 minute time limit and the tournament was open to youth in grades 6-12, adults 18+ and 30+.

Kaedyn Joris, a seventh-grader at Leechburg Area High School, said his friend encouraged him to enroll.

Each team paid an entry fee of $125.

“It’s fun, challenging and competitive — like baseball. I just started playing dodgeball,” Joris said.

Dodgeball spectator and mother Tricia Beatrice, 46, of Beaver County, brought her 14-year-old son Owen and his friends to the tournament.

“It’s fun and gets them out of the house,” Beatrice said.

Their team name, Shopkin Slayers, was created by girls, Beatrice said.

Only one female team competed.

“We play football here,” said Tessa Hollibaugh, a student at Deer Lakes Middle School. “We wanted to represent the girls.”

JoLeene Condle said the competition offered something different during their school winter break.

“It’s fun to play against the boys,” she said.

Voloch used Rhino Skin dodgeballs during the tournament, a smaller ball inflicting less of a sting than the traditional dodgeball that many adults might remember from their childhood gym lessons.

“It’s like cotton when you get hit,” Joris said.

Joyce Hanz is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Joyce at 724-226-7725, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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