Dive! Dodgeball tourney takes Maine South
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:17AM
Leaders of the Park Ridge police and fire departments met their match last Saturday night: boys with rocket arms.
Police Chief Frank Kaminski and Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Sorensen were the last men standing against a group known as Dirty Mike.
Armed with colorful foam balls, they did their best knock the teens out.
But in the end, Kaminski’s tuck and roll didn’t save him from elimination. And Sorensen couldn’t avoid getting socked in the gut.
When it came to dodgeball, Maine South High School freshmen ruled.
Over 100 kids participated in the Park Ridge Youth Commission’s sixth annual Rock ‘n Dodge tournament Feb. 2 at the Park District Community Center.
Split into teams of six, the mostly-male squads squared off in the center’s basketball court whipping balls back and forth in an attempt to hit their opponents.
The game rules were simple: If you got hit, you left the game. If you caught the ball, the thrower was out.
Avoiding a barrage of dodgeballs sometimes required “Matrix”-like moves. Bystanders also weren’t safe, though they continued to cheer from the sidelines throughout the tournament.
The Saturday crowd was four times larger than last year thanks to earlier and more aggressive marketing, reported Seventh Ward Ald. Marty Maloney, who chairs the Youth Commission.
Winners of the middle school and high school brackets also competed against their referees, made up of police and fire personnel, along with District 64 Superintendent Philip Bender.
“The police take the rules seriously, not that you should be surprised,” commented Bobby Pierobon, a park district liaison to the Youth Commission.
Kaminski said event allowed teens to get to know their local law enforcement.
“It’s a great chance to interact,” he said.
Park Ridge Police Cmdr. Duane Mellema had predicted the outcome in the match against the older teens. He also noted that he couldn’t hold anything back when playing the younger kids.
“They won’t go so easy on us, so we can’t go easy on them,” he said after the match, wiping his brow.
“Some of these little kids have an arm,” added Youth Commissioner Jared Skiba.
Student Commissioner Ian King, 16, said the event served as good opportunity to tie in charity with fun.
The participation fee per person was one canned good item or one dollar, with proceeds going to the Maine Township Food Pantry.
The student commissioner team didn’t make it past round one in dodgeball, but that was OK with King since their talents lie elsewhere.
“We got the brains to set this up, not to play,” he said.
Each of the teams had different strategies for getting their opponents out.
Fourteen-year-old Louie Jogmen and his band of wrestling buddies stripped down to their navy blue singlets in order to become more aerodynamic, they explained.
The winning middle school team, The Dodgers, put three boys on defense and three on offense, explained Gavin Voris, 12.
Hollywood served as inspiration for most. Nick Martens, 15, said the film “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” is “based on our lives.”
“We have a dream, and this is our dream: to win dodgeball,” he said of his team, Lamb of God, named for the heavy-metal band.
Other contenders made the same claim about the sports comedy, released in 2004.
“We were all actually in the movie (in) minor roles,” joked Phill Waters, 16.
“I’m Vince Vaughn’s understudy,” added 17-year-old Mac Potts.
Hyperbole or not, they turned to the film for tips on being “true dodgeballers” by following the “five D’s of dodgeball: dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge.”
Ultimately freshmen dodgeballers Dirty Mike topped all 12 high school teams.
Alex Poulos, 14, who scored the final hit in the championship game, said the key to winning was simple: “You have to look good to play good,” he cracked.