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Dodgeball becomes the in thing to do

by: Vern Uyetake, Sam Britton shows his passion for the game of dodgeball as a local high school league held its third annual championship tournament last week. This year’s title was won by Team Brady, which wore NBA throw-back jerseys.

It is starting to become a tradition… something of a spring event at Lake Oswego High School.

It's the annual dodgeball championships. For the third straight year the league drew over 100 participants and its final night of competition, in which a league champion was determined, drew scores of fans and curious onlookers.

'The senior barbecue was going on at the high school on the same night as the championship and a crowd of people came in to watch. There was actually a pretty good atmosphere,' coordinator Ryan Durrett said.

The devoted participants in the league, put on by Lake Oswego Community Schools, are passionate about the game and look forward to the 10-week season for the entire school year.

Games are held on Wednesday nights with no practices. Teams simply show up, discuss strategy for five minutes and are ready to go. But that doesn't mean that there is not a lot of preparation involved.

'I think the most planning that these teams do is in regards to what they're going to wear,' said Durrett on the teams' unique and coordinated uniforms.

A wide variety of students participate in the league, which is split evenly between Lakeridge and Lake Oswego High School students.

'It's everyone from football players to track athletes to kids in band and choir,' Durrett said.

Teams have specific identities and role players and now that the league has three seasons under its belt, rivalries and traditional powerhouse teams are starting to emerge.

'The kids definitely step it up in the playoffs and when they're going up against their friends. There are a few teams who really look forward to playing each other,' Durrett said.

It has even gotten to the point that previous players scout the incoming class of freshmen for potential talent.

'The kids are hilarious. There was even someone this year who put down being a manager for their dodgeball team on a resumè.'

This year, Team Brady, a squad of sophomores, was the fourth seed heading into the tournament but managed to knock off the top seed in the semifinals and then won the climactic championship bout by the slimmest of margins.

Matches are determined in a best-of-seven format and Team Brady, known for wearing throwback NBA jerseys, won in seven games.

'Since they're sophomores they're already talking about winning it the next two years and being a dynasty,' Durrett said.

Twelve teams featuring anywhere from eight to 12 players filled out this year's league. There was one all-girls team and two co-ed teams this spring.

The program has been extremely successful for Community Schools and interest is already high for next season. Many of the players have stated that they would like to see the league expand but, for right now, there are no plans to mess with a good thing.