Ultimate dodgeball: O’Houlihan’s Heroes bounce to Vegas after victory in Surrey

Local guys pay homage to Rip Torn character in the 2004 movie

Members of the O’Houlihan’s Heroes ultimate dodgeball team celebrate after winning a world-championship regional qualifying tournament held at Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Surrey.

SURREY — In the riotous 2004 flick “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” aging legend Patches O’Houlihan (played by Rip Torn) advises, “If you’re going to become true dodgeballers, then you’ve got to learn the five D’s of dodgeball: dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge!”

That’s all fine and good, but when you’re talking ultimate dodgeball, you can add a few more verbs – like bounce and flip and soar. Ultimate dodgeball, you see, is played in an environment made completely of trampolines. Not just the floor, mind you, but the walls too.

And it’s insane.

At Sky Zone Trampoline Park in North Surrey, they played ultimate dodgeball for keeps on Saturday, June 11. The occasion was the regional qualifier for this year’s world championship, to be held in Las Vegas from Aug. 4 to 7.

By 1 p.m. at Sky Zone, two teams remained in the tourney and the final began.

Getting a feel for the sport is pretty easy. Just imagine regular dodgeball with the added element of hyper-bouncy horizontal and vertical surfaces. Add a gaggle of athletic types who know how to take advantage of their wacky surroundings, and it’s no surprise the action can border on the ridiculous. Let’s just say it’s not uncommon to see players seemingly suspended in mid-air – five or six feet above their counterparts – as they attempt to evade and/or throw that little rubber ball.

In the end, the final – a best-of-five match consisting of three-minute games – was won quite handily by a bunch of young Surrey dudes paying homage to the Rip Torn character. They called themselves “O’Houlihan’s Heroes.”

Curiously, none of them was an experienced dodgeballer or even a trampoline expert. Indeed, they’d formed their team just a week prior to the tournament. How then did they so easily trounce the competition? Because virtually every one of them is a hardcore athlete.

(PICTURED from left to right: Brent Chreptyk, Matt Cox, Quinn Lenihan, Evan Kite, Nick Rutckyj, Brayden Bouchey, and Trevor Cox.)

Team captain Evan Kite played hockey all his life, most recently with the Delta Ice Hawks of the Pacific Junior Hockey League; next year he’ll play for the Vikes at the University of Victoria. He first heard about the tournament a few weeks back via Facebook. And he went to work.

“I assembled the best team I could find,” Kite said, adding that most are his best buddies.

It was an obvious bonus that he happened to grow up with a collection of kids who excelled at their chosen sports.

Teammate Nick Rutckyj currently plays baseball for Cuesta College, located just north of San Luis Obispo, California. Another teammate, Trevor Cox, spent last year amassing 53 points with a not-so-great Vancouver Giants team before moving up to pro hockey in the East Coast Hockey League with the Quad City Mallards.

And then there’s 20-year-old Brayden Boucher, a heckuva baseball pitcher who had spent time locally with both the White Rock Tritons and Langley Blaze before chucking for University of Louisiana-Monroe.

By day’s end, Bouchey was not only a regional ultimate dodgeball champ, but also a draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

The call came during Saturday’s final.

Surreal? You betcha.

“It hasn’t even sunk in yet,” Bouchey said after the game. “It’s something I’ve always dreamed of. I’ve worked on this for my entire life. To see it come true, it’s a one-of-a-kind moment. There’s nothing I can ever do to forget this moment right now.”

Bouchey is a realist. He understands that a late-round draft doesn’t necessarily mean a star-studded career tossing in the big league. He says his immediate goal is to make the roster of the Blue Jays’ Single-A affiliate Vancouver Canadians and play in front of family and friends. From there, who knows?

Kite wasn’t quite so lucky. Halfway through Saturday’s championship tilt, he dropped to his knees, clutched his lower leg and was clearly in a ton of pain. Turns out he’d torn ligaments in his ankle. He finished the game watching from the sideline and was later fitted with a walking boot.

Now, they’re planning a trip to Vegas.

“Yeah, we’re serious,” Kite said. “All but two of the guys can make it, and we’ll have tryouts for the last two spots.”

Knowing the competition in Vegas will involve top-notch ultimate dodgeball veterans only adds to the urgency. “We want to get together and practice as much as we can.”

And then there’s the matter of airfare and hotel cost. Sky Zone awarded $800 to the regional champs. But “O’Houlihan’s Heroes” will undoubtedly need more. Sponsorship is welcome, as are two more potential team members. For more info, visit Gofundme.com/surreydodgeball and/or contact the team captain at Facebook.com/evankite1.

Goble@shaw.ca

SEE EVENT TRAILER BELOW

Just Posted

Crashes pile up as snow blankets Surrey

Up to 10 centimetres of snow is in the forecast

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Surrey pastor in concert with songs from her new ‘Psalms for a Peaceful Heart’ CD

‘Incredible’ church sanctuary in Whalley a stage for Lori-Anne Boutin-Crawford’s music

Plan to redevelop former Surrey motel site too dense, says Coun. Pettigrew

Pettigrew: ‘We need to build liveable community with green spaces… not massive zones that are densified’

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Ex-Langley spiritual leader cleared of stock trading allegations

Investors allegedly lost $740,000 investing through a local religious organization.

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read