Featured Stories

Not just for kids anymore

The foam balls fly viciously through the air.
   Squeals of pain and joy are intermixed as targets are hit and missiles are missed.
   Once in awhile a ball will be caught and the thrower will have to sit by the wall and wait for the incident to be repeated, so he or she can come back and play again.
   The scene above could very well be a flashback to fourth grade gym class. Whether fond or repressed, most of us have vivid memories of playing dodgeball as a child.
   The classic game combines all the greatest elements of sports: skill, strategy, speed... and even a little malice.
   Because of the latter, however, the game has been banned in elementary schools across the country. In our new P.C. world, teachers and administrators now worry about the consequences of balls flying at children's heads.
   And so the above paragraphs did not happen in the daylight hours in a room full of young minds. They instead happened at night, in a rented gym full of young hearts.
    Despite its recent crackdown, the sport of dodgeball is far from dead. From Portland to Atlanta big kids everywhere - those of the 18 and older variety - are doing their best to keep their beloved childhood pastime alive.
   The game is experiencing a resurgence of sorts and has even recently been the topic of a blockbuster movie.
   The Bend Metro Parks and Recreation Department has even got into the mix, doing their best to cash in on this new phenomenon. For the past two months diehard dodgers gathered twice a week at Hartman Middle School in Redmond and pelted balls at other willing community members.
   The ninety minute sessions were open to the public and participation varied from night to night.
   A fellow co-worker and I tried our hand at a couple of these meetings and left with a collection of bruises, sore arms and fun memories.
   The experimental club came to an unfortunate close Tuesday night but talk is underway for a new one soon.
   In Portland the sport has reached epic heights with a well-established league under way. Its exploits have been featured in publications from Denver, Colo., to Sacramento, Calif.
   At Kent State University the pursuit is recognized as a club sport.
   Theories vary as to why this sport has received so much attention as of late. They range from childhood nostalgia to pent-up aggression at the work place.
   Personally, I think the Portland group, who requires members must be at least 21 years of age, have it right.
   It's a great way to get some exercise in the middle of week and, maybe more importantly, you still have enough energy left when you're done to grab a beer.