UH Dodgeball club is perfect balance between leisure and workout
From the exaggerated jock vs. nerd battles in movies to Fridays in middle school P.E., dodgeball has proven to be a staple of American school games many times over the decades.
The University Honors Dodgeball Society brought their love for the sport to the higher education field, and almost every Friday for four years they’ve gathered up to play.
“We are literally just a bunch of people chucking foam balls at each other, and it’s great,” said the group’s president Daniel Phu. “Dodgeball is a very much ‘you get what you put in’ sport. You can be very intense, or you can be very subtle. However, as long as you give what you have, dodgeball can be great for anyone.”
The Honors Dodgeball Society began almost four years ago when the founder, now alum, started playing the game regularly with some friends. But as more people played and heard about the group, they started to grow.
From 2017-18 about thirty members played. In 2018-19 about 60 members joined. This year, the group is almost up to 80 players.
What started as a few friends having fun has become an official registered student organization.
“No one really planned to become an actual organization, but no one really expected for the group to get so large,” Phu said, “When the club had 20 members, we could play whenever and wherever we wanted. Today, we have an officer team to coordinate the large group for practices, jerseys, and intramurals.”
Though the group originally came from the Honors College and keeps the name to pay homage to their roots, the Honors Dodgeball Society welcomes anyone of any college, major or background to join them.
“Just like the sport, we hope to make the organization as inclusive as possible,” Phu said, “Our only requirement is to enjoy the game.”
Practices for the group generally run from one to two hours on Friday nights. They begin with some quick stretches and exercises, and then scrimmages between randomized teams. The night ends with going over plays, announcements and a shout out to the player of the week.
The game of dodgeball has a few simple rules. A team wins by eliminating all members of the opposing team, and you can eliminate players by hitting them with a ball by a throw or tag.
You can also eliminate a player by catching the ball he or she threw at you. If you successfully catch a ball, an eliminated player on your team comes back into play.
“You never know what kind of game you’re going to get until you play,” Phu said, “Will your opponents throw from a distance? Will they rush to tag you? Will they stay back to wait for a catch? Each player is different, so you can expect to get a mixture of all of these situations and more all at once.”
During the fall semester, Honors Dodgeball Society participates in the University of Houston intramural dodgeball league. Teams face off against other organizations on campus and, according to Phu, the games can get pretty interesting.
“It was great to see not only how much I had improved as a player but also how a play so seemingly ridiculous could turn into an actual tactic,” Phu said when recalling his favorite memory from a game.
Phu said that one of the best things about dodgeball is its accessibility. It doesn’t require much athletic ability or training, and the sport is strenuous enough to get a good workout in, but no one is pressured to overexert themselves, he said.
There are many different playing styles you can choose to use in dodgeball. Whether you’re more of a runner, catcher, thrower or even a ‘stand and dodge-er’, Phu said anyone can find their place in the game.
“We welcome diversity because it makes for unexpected, exciting plays,” Phu said. “Many people come to Honors Dodgeball because we can provide that balance between leisure and physical activity.”
Along with being an accessible physical activity, Phu said Honors Dodgeball Society has a great social atmosphere. For Phu, one best things he’s gained from joining the group is the connections and friendships he’s made along the way. He even has a weekly dinner night set aside with some buddies from the team.
“I’ve made so many positive connections through dodgeball, and I’ve seen that all the other members have done the same,” Phu said, “If you want to make a ton of awesome friends through a dynamic pastime, then dodgeball is for you.”