GUIlDFORD – late dodgeball all-star Patches O’Houlihan said, "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball." But don’t expect to see any flying steel tools in the Surrey Dodgeball league.
With approximately 250 members signed up in 12 months, it’s fair to say that the SDl is one of the fastest growing sports leagues in the city.
Kevin Vo, founder of the league, has been playing the sport for eight years and said the idea came to him when he no longer wanted to travel to Vancouver to play dodgeball.
He used to play with the Vancouver Dodgeball league, but always was asked what it was like by his friends in Surrey who wanted to try it.
The dodgeball veteran decided to rent out an elementary school gym and hold drop-in games open to his friends and anyone else who was interested in picking up the sport.
"At the beginning I wasn’t sure if it was going to work. Drop-in was 20 to 25 people," said Vo.
"After two months, we started asking people, ‘Is there a chance you want to put in a team?’" After six weeks of drop-in games, the founder saw that there was enough interest and in September 2013, decided to start SDl.
In the first season, which ran for five months, the league had 10 teams.
In the second season, it more than doubled to 24 teams.
This September marked SDl’s first anniversary and third season. It has now expanded to 32 teams and three divisions – gold, silver and bronze.
Vo said the reason he thinks the league has become so popular is it allows adults to "relive the memories" they had as children.
"It’s a childhood game that you played when you where younger and now you can play it as an adult," he said.
As well as the thrill of hitting a fellow competitor with the ball, Vo has built a community around the league, as many of the players have become close friends.
"Regardless of your athletic skill or ability, you can come here and have fun," said Vo.
"It’s growing into a tight-knit community."
Alan Mach has been part of the league since it started and said the players have become so close, some started doing other unrelated activities together like fantasy sports leagues.
Mach never played dodgeball before entering the SDl and said it feels good to be an adult playing a child’s game.
"It brings back memories," he said. "Now that you’re an adult, you have the abilities of an adult playing a child’s sport." Jessica Sinclair started playing in the SDl this season and said the league runs very efficiently.
"They’re really professional. We did a skills clinic last night and they taught us so much," she said.
As well as holding skills clinics for newer players, the league also hosted two tournaments this year with the money raised going to Surrey’s BC SPCA branch and the Surrey Food Bank.
The tournament in March raised $2,556 and 517 pounds of food for the food bank, while the July tournament raised $3,225 for the SPCA.
For more information, visit Surreydodgeball.ca.