Around the Island

Dodgeball is back at school gym — Benefit for preschool invites all comers

You’ve seen the movie, you’ve played the game, and perhaps you’ve even nursed the wounds. Now it’s time to get back out onto the court and work through all those unresolved playground issues.

Yes, we’re talking about dodgeball, a game which, just like Red Rover, has separated the sensitive from the psychotic for generations, turning many a well-adjusted elementary-age student into a damaged adult.

If the word “dodgeball” conjures up youthful playground nightmares of an unathletic kid who was always the first one out, well, your life is about to change.

That’s right. It’s time for redemption — and it’s all for a good cause.

On Saturday, May 18, the Shelter Island Early Childhood Learning Center will host a fundraising dodgeball tournament in the Shelter Island School gymnasium. Adult participation is encouraged and it may, in fact, do a lot of us quite a bit of good in terms of closure.

The idea for the tournament came about a couple of years ago when JP Torrealba, the parent of a former learning center student, suggested on his Facebook page that a bunch of Island friends get together to play dodgeball.

The feedback was astounding, and soon, Mr. Torrealba agreed that turning it into a dodgeball tournament fundraiser could be a great and super fun way to raise some much needed money for the preschool.

You might be surprised to learn that dodgeball has actually become quite the craze in recent years, and it is now an officially sanctioned sport played with real rules.

Gone are the dodgeball days of yore when victims were herded into the middle of a blacktop circle surrounded by classmates who lobbed the ball as hard as possible at the smallest and slowest among them.

These days, teams face off on opposite sides of the court with a line of balls positioned on the center line. At the starting signal of “go,” members of both teams sprint to the center in an effort to grab a ball and seek out an opponent.

There’s a five-second grace period (imagine that) after the initial rush, and actual play commences when the word “Dodge” is shouted.

From that point on, the objective of dodgeball is to eliminate all opposing players by hitting them with a ball on the fly below the shoulders without crossing the center line. If an opponent catches the ball, the person who threw it is eliminated.

Sounds civilized, right?

Well, it is. The tournament is Saturday, May 18 at Shelter Island School Gymnasium. Dodgeball participants pay $10 to enter and are strongly encouraged to arrive by noon in order to register and be placed on a team.

Bracket-style tournament play begins at 1 p.m. While the dodgeball tournament will be the main attraction, fortunately for those eliminated early on, this event isn’t only about ducking those balls. There will be raffles, a 50/50 raffle and an afterparty at SALT.

For more information, contact Kelly Surerus at (631)749-5050, or check out the group’s Facebook page for more information: