Islanders will be thinking of others Saturday as they do their best to avoid being hit by balls coming at them from all directions.
The Holiday Hunger Dodgeball Drive is a novel way of raising food donations for the Upper Room Food Bank and monetary donations for CBC’s turkey drive. The P.E.I. Dodgeball Club and UPEI Athletics and Recreation are organizing the event.
“I am pretty sure everyone on the team and in the club feel pretty good about the fact they get to play the sport they love and support (people) that are less fortunate this holiday season,” said Matt Lawrence, an event organizer.
This will not be a traditional dodgeball game many would remember from grade school.
From 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. people will be playing dodgeball in a free-for-all style game called Cougarball. Unlike the traditional team game, it’s everyone for themselves.
After a player is hit they have to go to the sidelines. They can reenter the game after the person who hit them is hit, but participants do not have to stay for the entire day.
“I know, for a good part of our main team, we’re going to try to go as long as we can,” Lawrence said.
Jen Rempel said people could go and grab lunch for a couple hours and come back and play again.
“I’m pretty excited because I love dodgeball and a whole day of dodgeball just sounds fantastic,” she said.
Being a first-time event Lawrence is unsure how many people they can attract to playing. He is hoping to have 40 at the beginning, in the afternoon and when sudden death is called at 6 p.m. Participants will then play until there is one person remaining.
The club began about eight years ago and hosts a Sunday night league at UPEI. Lawrence remembers not really enjoying dodgeball in his childhood, but fell in love with the sport when some friends coaxed him out to the UPEI league.
“I loved Cougarball, where it was everybody for themselves. I love every aspect of it. I love dodging and I love catching,” he said.
“The dodgeball bug just caught on me and it’s been there ever since.”
Rempel was hesitant initially, but eventually decided to go to a game after seeing the event continually pop-up on her Facebook account.
She is glad she did.
“It’s just so much fun,” she said. “It’s competitive, it’s fun, it’s a good activity to do and you meet some great people.”
Cougarball is quite different than the team game.
“You have to trust the person you’re standing beside because they’re no longer your teammate, they’re your opponent,” Rempel said.
“Sometimes you can team up with somebody and kind of call a truce until the very end.”
So are people plotting alliances?
“No, I don’t think so. It’s usually spur of the moment,” Rempel said.