(Nashville, Tenn. – 7/12/2011) – On Tuesday morning over 200 energetic fans and players gathered at Vine Street Christian Church for an International Disciple Dodgeball Invitational (IDDI). Five and a half hours and 36 games later the Hamburglars won the top position.
Most of us remember dodge ball from physical education classes where everyone was chosen for a team and the balls and play was a bit harder than seemed right. However this game is different. Only those who have a passion play; others cheer their teams on from the sidelines. The balls throw easily but are soft upon impact. The rules are strictly adhered to and provide for a safe, fun game. Most of all, the players are all part of Christian youth groups and the “coaches” are youth ministers and lay leaders. The competition is fierce, but the teams have fun and practice good sportsmanship. And, each player’s entry fee goes to the Week of Compassion offering. This week’s tournament raised over $1,800 in fees and donations!
The dodgeball competitions started five years ago when Rev. Russ Boyd, now Associate Minister for Youth at University Christian Church in Fort Worth, Texas, was serving in Collierville, Tenn. The kids played dodge ball after their Wednesday night fellowship dinners. The idea of a Tennessee invitational tournament came up. Over the years it has grown beyond Tennessee, across the nation and is now an international competition. In addition to numerous states, this year’s lineup included NAPAD youth from the Asian-Pacific area and players from Canada.
“Dodgeball is a sport that became popular with the Tennessee youth because it can be played with any number of people, doesn’t take great athleticism and is played indoors year-round,” said Hope Hodnett, director of youth ministries at Vine Street, who coordinated youth activities at the Assembly on behalf of Disciples Home Missions. “It may seem strange that dodgeball builds relationships when you consider the playground balls, the basketballs and the bullying of dodgeball in the past. Well, we’ve reclaimed the sport and it’s about cooperation, teamwork and a sense of humor.”
The match at General Assembly was hosted by Vine Street and coordinated by Hodnett, who added: “It’s about how you are being Christian in the world…and today…for about 200 people…it’s about dodge ball, celebrating responsibility and about Week of Compassion”!
The double elimination tournament had 36 matches each with three rounds of three minutes. Teams included:
- Average Joes – Jefferson Christian Church, Louisville
- Balls of Fire, North Carolina
- CCC, Indianapolis/Naples
- Co-Exist – New Mexico
- Collierville Christian Church, Collierville, TN – Final Four
- Diaspara – GYC and friends
- DR Flyers
- First Christian Church, Faith, Omaha, Nebraska
- J-Town Christian Church
- The Hamburglars, TCYF Cabinet and friends
- Leroy Jenkins
- PR Flyers, IN, AZ, CA, KS- Final Four
- Panther Power – FCC Great Bend
- The Tardies
- Team Awesome
- Vine Street A
- Vine Street B-Final Four
After losing an earlier round the pressure was on for the Hamburglars to be on their top game. They ultimately won after several grueling rounds of constant play. The players on the Hamburglars are: Mitch King, Lawrence Rebello, Russell Carpenter, Lee Cashion, Kasey Smith, Zack Plaster, Alex Plaster and Alex Smith. Coaches are Ellen Matthews and Elizabeth Crenshaw.
The team all felt that they had come back from the dead after the first loss, “like USA coming back from Brazil!”
Congratulations were extended to all who participated. The youth and their leaders agreed the games helped build fellowship and contribute to the building of God’s kingdom, particularly through the contribution to Week of Compassion. To date, almost $10,000 has been raised for Week of Compassion since the competitions first started.
By: Cyril Stewart